Not My Kind Of Magic
review by Maryom
Jack and Martha are a childless middle-aged couple who've headed off to the Alaskan wilderness in the hope of making a life for themselves far away from the pressures and concerns of their families. Their existence there is very hand to mouth and the future looking bleak and unsustainable but in a rare moment of levity, Martha creates the figure of a small girl out of snow. When a strange half-wild girl starts to visit them, Martha believes she is the snow child come to life.
I'd read lots of rave reviews for The Snow Child here and there on the web so borrowed it from the library but, sadly, it didn't grab me in the way it has others. Sometimes I've found it hard to put into words exactly why I've enjoyed a book so much, but this time I'm finding it difficult to say what didn't appeal.
The story was inspired by an old Russian folk tale - Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden - which was retold by Arthur Ransome as Little Daughter of the Snow, in a collection called Old Peter's Russian Tales. This latter book is owned by Martha and is partly responsible for her belief that her snowgirl has come to life too. Husband Jack takes the more down to earth stance that the child is the daughter of a recently deceased trapper. It was this contradiction at the heart of the novel that I couldn't come to terms with. I'd have happily gone with either option but somehow, having both, felt left in a muddle.
The Snow Child is a nice enough story - just not one to make my 'favourites' list.
Maryom's review - 3 stars
Publisher - Headline
Genre - Adult Fiction, Folk Tales
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Other reviews; House With No Name