While it is never prudent to judge a book by its cover, it is often the cover and the name of a book which attracts attention. Such is the case here.
The snow scene is enticing, and the title intriguing, so it is lucky for this first time novelist, that this is so.
What about the title? How could this be relevant? It is all to do with fairy tales, told by mother to child, and carried into everyday life. The setting is Kent in England, the time is the 1940s, and the alternate chapters to unfold the story are told by the mother, Annabel, and the son, Daniel. Daniel says, :I had a seed inside me. ……. It must have been my mother who planted my seed in me. She was made of ice; and I was made of snow. She was the Snow Queen, even then. I was her boy made of snow.” At this time of war, German POWs were working on the farms in Kent. Annabel, whose husband is in France in the army, buys the wood she needs from the farmer nearby, who has a prisoner of war working as a woodcutter. The attraction between the two soon becomes evident and when Daniel becomes aware of it, he hopes to separate them by any means possible. Things go badly awry, as Hans tries to escape to Europe, where he plans to make a new life for himself, and for Annabel.
But there are secrets lurking in those woods, even as they did in all those fanciful tales, which had captured Daniel’s imagination since babyhood.
While I enjoyed this book, I had reservations about Daniel’s powers of understanding at the age of nine. In my own extended family, I have nine-yearolds who could not possibly have accomplished what Daniel does in this fiction.
So it makes for a somewhat uneven narrative.
If you can ignore tis fact, and pretend that Daniel is at least 12, you will find this debut novel satisfying, and want more from this journalist turned novelist, Chloe Mayer.
THE BOY MADE OF SNOW by CHLOE MAYER PUBLISHED by WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON for a recommended $29.99