Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Snow in Summer

Snow in Summer: The Tale of an American Snow WhiteSnow in Summer: The Tale of an American Snow White by Jane Yolen

It's the well-known tale of Snow White set in America's Appalachia. Yolen takes readers on an adventure in West Virginia where folks make a living by hunting and gardening. She shares the story of the Lem Morton family who reside in deep mourning. The daughter, Snow in Summer, wants to be free and return to the time where Papa interacted with who love him. All too soon, a beguiling woman enters the scene and becomes Stepmama. Papa falls under Stepmama's spell and Summer turns to Snow. Summer's life of work becomes a life of servitude. She needs to run before someone dies.

I love a retold fairytale. I selected this book because of that fact and didn't bother to read the description. I was taken aback to read the author's note about her sources about snake-handling sects. Just like in Yolen's Snow White, I am not a fan of snakes. I couldn't see where the story would lead with a setting around the Depression era in Appalachia including a section on snake faith. It was quite a journey following Snow in Summer. Yolen's title of "the Hans Christian Andersen of America" is appreciated. She weaves in the love of fairy tales (along with the beloved Anne of Green Gables) within her book. The time period and location are unique and will be enjoyed by readers. The set-up of the story takes about 3/4 of the book while the classic storyline will be recognized toward the final 1/4 of the novel.

Time Period: Early 20th Century
Location: West Virginia, USA

Reviewed from a library copy.

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