The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and as I've been looking for a book set in Alaska for my 50 State Challenge I picked the book up from the library.
From the cover:
Homesteaders Jack and Mabel have carved out a quiet life of hard work and routine for themselves in the wilderness that is 1920s Alaska, both still deeply longing for the child it's ow impossible for them to have. Yet their love for each other is strong, and in a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they play together, building a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone - but a trail of tiny footsteps remain.
First of all, the descriptions were wonderful and set the reader in the rugged, yet beautiful Alaska wilderness where life was difficult for the couple. Eowyn Ivey has used the Snow Maiden, a Russian Folk Tale for the story and as we all know, except in the Disney version, fairy tales usually do not end well! Nevertheless, as the author lives in Alaska, she does a wonderful job at giving the reader a glimpse into the hard life for homesteaders with little or no comfort and a desire to live off the land. All through the book we are thrown into believing the child is real and then a hint that she isn't real at all. At the end it's really up to the reader to decide as there isn't a tidy ending where we are told exactly what happened.
You can read a more detailed review of the story here
Discussion questions here