I love fairy tales, and this one is no exception. I also appreciate that the wild, snowy Alaskan landscape is as much a character as the 50-year-old husband and wife who are the protagonists. Inspired by a Russian fairy tale, Ivey has done a lovely job of balancing the magical world with the very real difficulties and savagery of life in the high north. The images Ivey chooses work perfectly and the characters are all well-drawn, even the somewhat unearthly presence of the 'snow child' herself.
Like the best of fairy tales, this one is equal parts light and dark, and the transformations are complicated and at times disturbing. Thank goodness for that.
My only issue with the book, and what stopped me from giving it five stars, is that it's a tad too long. Well, more than a tad. There is a good deal of detail that might have been removed in favor of pacing. Still, I recommend it for anyone who has a soft spot for magical tales. I don't think you'll be disappointed.