Jack and Mabel have come to the Alaskan wilderness to start over after a miscarriage ends their hopes of having a child. It's the early 1920's, and Alaska is such a wilderness only the most brave and optimistic people tackle the land. And those who want to flee heartbreak. That's Jack and Mabel. They are not youngsters with a dream in their minds and a gleam in their eyes; they are running away from all they know to start in the middle of nowhere in a land that does not suffer fools gladly.
One snowy winter evening, Jack and Mabel pull themselves out of their rapidly spinning thoughts of failure, starvation, and ever present grief--and run outside to build a snowman in the swirling snow. They quickly dress the snowman--now a snow child--with red mittens, and a red scarf. It's a moment of serene beauty, quiet, and peacefulness in this novel that reminded me of being much younger, skating out on the lake behind our house at night--quiet, quiet, quiet. Shhhh. That is what this novel is about--quiet. Nature. The indifference of weather, the icy blast of wind, the unbelievable beauty of a single snowflake caught in the palm of the hand. It's about grieving, healing, retaining hope, and learning to love again--or for the first time.
The next morning, the snow child is ruined. The mittens and scarf are gone. And soon, Jack spies a young girl in the woods, wearing those very mittens and scarf. She looks like she was created out of nature itself--was she? Her name is Faina, and she is the center of this story--she is the fixed point from which this story progresses.
I really did love the writing in this novel. It truly is magical, and hopeful, and gives such an ode to Nature that it makes you want to run outside and play in the snow--or just take a silent walk during a snowstorm, enjoying the hush hush and the sound of falling snow. It is a great reminder of how connected we are to Nature--from which everything comes and returns.
Available in paperback, hardcover, and e-book.
Rating: 4/5 for writing style, well drawn characters, and a lovely story.