Snow Child

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The Snow Child:  Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
Published in 2012, 416 pages.
Description from

Eowyn Ivey:   Eowyn (pronounced A-o-win) LeMay Ivey was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. Her mother named her after a character from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
The Snow Child is Eowyn’s debut novel.

Quote from the book:

“In my old age, I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among the trees.”


Topics the book will bring up for discussion include:

  • The role women play in frontier society.
  • The social ramifications of not having children in a society in which it is a given.

More discussion questions can be found at:


“The cranberries were tiny red rubies against the white snow, and Mabel’s eyes searched them out…She planned to make a savory relish with the cranberries, Esther’s onions, and spices” (page 142). Try this relish recipe served over cream cheese, posted by Annie on Buttery Books.

Watch the book trailer for The Snow Child.


Have you or your book group read The Snow Child?  Would you recommend it to other groups?  Share your thoughts by commenting on this post.