The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

photo credit here
“Jack wasn’t one to believe in fairy-tale maidens made of snow. Yet Faina was extraordinary. Vast mountain ranges and unending wilderness, sky and ice. You couldn’t hold her too close or know her mind. Perhaps it was so with all children. Certainly he and Mabel hadn’t formed into the molds their parents had set for them.
It was something more, though. Nothing tethered Faina to them. She could vanish, never return, and who was to say she had ever been loved by them?”
It’s a raw book, obviously Ivey’s first. Yet it cuts me to the heart, as it would any mother who’s loved a child with all her being. Perhaps, in fact, too much.
The minute I start holding expectations, forming a mold for someone I love, is the minute that person starts to suffocate. And, the only place to go from there is far, far away.
by Eowyn Ivey

25 thoughts on “The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

  1. I loved this novel and I understand the deep love a mother has for a child or in my case my three boys. I have perhaps loved them at times to deeply and watched them distance themselves a little. The important thing is that they do love me even if at a distantce…


  2. How lucky you are to have three sons! I'm sure they love you, even if from a distance, which is better I think than from a place of dependence. My son still lives at home, at 21, neither a man nor a child but a foot on each side. As he grows up I've had to learn to let him decide for himself. He didn't choose college which breaks my heart, but I xan't put him in my mold.


  3. This novel takes the traditional Russian tale farther to when the Snow Maiden grows up and marries; still, she is not to be contained by traditional constraints. It would be such an interesting book to discuss in a book club.


  4. Isn't it a weird thing how we're “supposed” to care for their every need when they're small and then totally let them go when they're big? A bizarre concept to me… 🙂


  5. I've seen this book around, but wasn't so sure about it. After reading your post, I have to get my hands on it! The way you talk about it just makes me want to read it ASAP! Great review, Bellezza – you cut right to the chase 😉


  6. Your review makes me think of that poster that was so popular years ago… “If you love something, set it free…” This sounds like a meaningful read. Love the book cover too.


  7. I think I like the comments about a mother's love, here, as much as the quote itself. 🙂 I'm not entirely certain this book is for me, but you've made me want to at least flip through it. Maybe my library will eventually get a copy (fingers crossed).


  8. It is a fabulously re-imagined telling of the Russian tale of The Snow Maiden with a note which will probably strike every parent's (and spouse's) heart. It will stay with me a long time because of what it stirs in me about both my son and my first husband.


  9. I loved this book so much. I don't have children so I perhaps couldn't connect perfectly with the theme of parenthood, but I could understand and appreciate the way Ivey went about explaining what she wanted to explain. From your post, I wonder if this could be a good book for non-readers who have children?


  10. This may sound ridiculous to you, but it was my dear kitty who taught me these lessons most directly. Once I learned it with her, it was easier to apply in human relationships.

    I do have a story about a certain mother and daughter to share, but it's too long for your comments. I'll find another way. 😉


  11. It does not sound ridiculous at all; kitties are so endearing and so elusive. This book struck me on so many levels: with my son, and even more so with my first (now deceased) husband. There are so many aspects of a relationship which can remain unanswered, and I liked how this novel explored that theme. It's so much more than just a 'rewrite' of the famous Russian fairy tale…and it matters not if the snow maiden was real as much as what do we do when we're abandoned. In my opinion.

    Wow, my comment is longer than my post. I guess you opened up a lot of issues rolling around in my head.

    I'd love to hear the story of a certain mother and daughter. I'd love to tell you the story of a certain wife and husband. Perhaps in email? XO


  12. I just discovered that it is going to be published in Romanian soon… so that's one more step towards reading it, but I'll have to compare prices and go with the lower one 🙂


  13. Your post is intriguing and has laid the bait – I would like to find this story now. I'm not a parent, so I wonder if I'd pick up the same themes many of you have. As an Aunty, Sister, Daughter, and passionate advocate for children – I am intrigued now to read this. I have always found the Russion mythology poignant and cutting to the core of human motivations. Thanks


  14. I think as an aunt, sister, daughter and advocate for children this book would find a place in your heart. Or, at least in your mind. It's a very thought provoking novel, even more so, I've found, since publishing this post. It's so interesting to see what others have to say, and to further dwell on the concepts in my own heart. The concepts, as you said so perfectly, of human motivation.

    (And, don't you just love the Russian authors?!!)


  15. I should be happy that my 28-year-old is so independent and strong, but there are times when I wished she needed me just a little bit more. Madeleine said, “The important thing is that they do love me even if at a distantce…” I need to remember this. Even when the phones calls come but once a month. Thank goodness for texting and email.

    I have the audio version of this book on hold at my library. A coworker said it was excellent (on audio).

    Not sure if Linda/Shoreacres wants to share her mother/daughter story, but I'd love to read it, too.


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