The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
The Snow Child is a retelling of the Russian folk tale Snegurochka, or The Snow Maiden. At the opening of the novel, homesteaders Mabel and Jack are working hard to establish a farm in the Alaskan wilderness. One night, as the first snow of the season falls on their farm, Jack and Mabel indulge in an unexpected fit of childhood joy and begin to build a snowman, which soon turns into a small snow child. The next morning, it is gone, but a set of footprints trail into the woods. Soon, the couple begins to catch glimpses in the forest of a little girl wearing the scarf Mabel had tied around the snow child's frozen neck. At first unwilling to believe what seems an impossibility, Jack and Mabel soon welcome the child into their lives, treating her as the daughter they have always wanted.
"A red fox darted among the fallen trees. [...] It stopped and turned its head. For a moment its eyes locked with Jack's, and there, in its narrowing golden irises, he saw the savagery of the place. Like he was staring wilderness itself straight in the eye."
The Snow Child is Eowyn Ivey's first novel. She lives in Alaska with her family, where she works as a bookseller at the independent bookstore Fireside Books. Named by her parents for a character from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, her first name is pronounced A-o-win.
Length: 378 pages
Set in: Alaska, United States