19 December 2015

Two Wintery Tales


By complete coincidence, this year I've read two books set in Alaska. I just last night finished Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child and earlier in the year I read The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton; I would highly recommend them. Both are beautifully written and I thought both authors wonderfully described the harsh weather conditions of an Alaskan winter. It was so easy for me as the reader to imagine the wilderness of the tundra where both stories take place, I'm sure I actually shivered a couple of times!

The two stories are quite different in style. The Quality of Silence is an atmospheric thriller and quite fast paced. It has a real sense of urgency to it which I expected from the description. In contrast, The Snow Child has the much gentler pace of a fairytale and is quite whimsical in its tone. I loved the sense of magic in Eowyn Ivey's story about a childless couple who are visited by a mysterious little girl in the winter. The sense of mystery is also present in Rosamund Lupton's novel but is much more threatening - our main characters, Yasmin and Ruby, are being followed by someone unknown to them as they travel across Alaska searching for Ruby's father, presumed dead following an accident in the remote village where he worked.

Of the two, I thought The Quality of Silence had the better ending. As you would expect from a thriller, the tension gradually builds until the ending and it's always satisfying when all loose ends are tied up. With The Snow Child there is less of a definite ending and the story comes to a close more gradually. A few things are left unanswered, which might be disappointing to some, but not necessarily a bad thing. If you asked me to name my favourite reads this year, both of these wintery tales would be high up on the list!
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