marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Snow In Summer

Snow In Summer by Jane Yolen

This is a strongly voiced tale.   Three different third-person narratives woven together, though mostly that of the stepdaughter, Snow in Summer.  Called Summer by most people, but Snow by her stepmother.

You will recognize the tale, though it happens in early twentieth century West Virginia.  It opens with the account of her mother's funeral, when she was seven, and the next four years, with her father sunk in grief and his widowed cousin Nancy looking after Summer, with plenty of backfill about her family, and then her father remarries a strange woman whom he met one day while visiting his wife's grave.

And then we have the stepmother herself, an actual witch.  With a magical mirror.  Bent on putting Summer to even better use than house-work.

And it winds on, through intricately observed details of West Virginia life, through a huntsman, through six -- or is that seven -- brothers who mine, a bear, a grave that nothing grows on, plans for railroad, and a surprise for a prince.
Tags: fiction reviews: children's fantasy, fiction reviews: contemporary fantasy, fiction reviews: fairy tale based

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