By Eowyn Ivey
This is a beautiful story, reminiscent of a fairy tale. Set in the 1920s, an older Alaskan couple is childless. Jack and Mabel are trying to make a life in the harsh environment. Hard work and isolation is their daily way of life; love and loyalty keeps them going.
During a snowfall, Jack and Mabel playfully create a “snow child”. The next morning, a tiny set of footprints are found in the snow. The snow child is gone.
Thereafter, Jack and Mabel, at different times, each sees a little girl in the woods. A fox seems to always be nearby the girl. They don’t speak of these unusual and unexplained sightings. They fear that speaking of the girl may make her disappear.
When the girl comes to the cabin, she calls herself Faina. Jack and Mabel are entranced by her seemingly surreal existence. They struggle to understand how she can survive in such harsh conditions, the tiny little thing that she is. They also don’t know how she fits into their own lives.
This magical story is beautiful and enchanting. I was captivated. The depiction of homesteading the Alaskan frontier is realistic. The story of Jack, Mabel and Faina is a heartfelt one of love, resilience, hope, and possibilities.
Eowyn Ivey has written a novel that is sure to be a classic. It will remain with you, to be read again and shared with others.