This is the most beautiful book I’ve read in a long time. The story—a blend of deeply-felt historical fiction and ethereal fairy tale elements—is told in prose that is simple, delicate, and dazzlingly beautiful. Set on the Alaskan frontier during the 1920s and intertwined with facets of Russian folklore, this book is pervaded with a haunting sense of “northerness.”
Don’t assume that the fairy tale aspects of this book cause the story to be superficial or trite—a simplistic “happily ever after.” It’s a story that resonates deeply with the joys and sorrows of human experience: depression, infertility, the creation of new dreams out of shattered ones, the lack of control of a parent over a child. I was left with a renewed sense of the beauty and sorrow of parenthood—how tempting it is to try to fulfill our own emotional needs through our children, rather than helping them to develop their own unique personhood and ultimately to spread their wings and fly away.