Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they 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 glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
February 1, 2012  |  404 pages
(Read from Mar 17, 2016 to Apr 12, 2016)
Grade: A–    (switch to numeric scale)
L/E Ratio: 50% Literature, 50% Entertainment
Writing Quality:
Low High
Low High

Low High
Movie Potential:
Low High

Low High
Sequel Potential:
Low High
Although this is not the fastest paced book, the pace seemed to fit the setting and content. It was a creative story that had just enough magic to make it seem possible. Ivey painted a picture of Alaska from 100 years ago that makes me want to travel there someday! Her knowledge of the area is clear and it augments the novel.   (+2 votes)