The story is adapted from a Russian fairy tale about a snow maiden. From the website, here is a synopsis of the book:
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for a couple who have never been able to conceive. Jack and Mabel 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 catch sight of an elusive, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
This is Eowyn Ivey's first book, debuting in February 2012. The writing is outstanding. I loved the freshness of it, no cliches, almost as if the story itself came out of the snowy wilderness, having never read or seen another book. There is nothing about it that makes me think "I have seen this before." However, the emotions were familiar and the characters full of life. The author used an interesting technique when writing Faina's words, one which completely added to her mysterious nature.
I had to read this next section aloud to my daughter, lying next to me, just to hear the words. I will close with this for you, and encourage you to find this book.
It was like an extraordinary dream: Faina's quiet sighs and the occasional pop and crack of river ice and tree branches snapping in the cold; the stars everywhere in the broad, deep night, broken only by the jagged horizon of the mountain range. Illumination behind the peaks shot up into shards of light, blue-green like a dying fire, rippled and twisted, then spun circles into ribbons of purple that stretched up and over Mabel's head until she heard an electric crackle like the sparks from a wool blanket in a dry cabin at night. She looked directly up into the northern lights and wondered if those cold-burning specters might not draw her breath, her very soul, out of her chest and into the stars.
When I finished this book, I felt as though I had just wakened from a long, cold, beautiful dream. My soul had been fed by this piece of perfection.
Find out more at www.eowynivey.com.