I hadnít known initially when I picked up this book that it was an Ďinspirationalí story - the American term for Christian literature, I gather. When I realized, I wasnít too confident Iíd like the story - my British mentality likes certain things to be kept relatively private, and faith is one of them. Iíve read a couple of Ďinspirationalí novels before, and theyíve been toe-curlingly in-your-face about Christianity with characters behaving most weirdly - they would have made me run a mile in real life.
The Snowflake isnít like that, fortunately.
A thread of faith runs through the story, but it doesnít go overboard and people donít behave bizarrely.
Instead, itís a backdrop to their lives as they try to survive in a hostile and frightening part of the world.
In 1897 during the Alaskan Gold Rush, our heroine, Ellen Pierce, is travelling with her brother, a violent and controlling man, to stake out their claim.
When the steamship they are on gets stuck in the ice, a small group of passengers decides to try to walk to Dawson City rather than spend the winter on the boat. Led by Buck Lewis, the sort of chap one clearly wants in a crisis like this, they set out on the two-week march. Not all goes well on the
journey, and when the bedraggled group finally arrive at Dawson, there are still problems to be overcome.
I particularly liked the unusual plot direction when Ellen arrives at Dawson
and her rather singular new friend. I expected rather more disapprobation about the behavior and life choices of some of the characters in the book, but the author seems to have a
deep understanding of human nature, of loneliness and more. Although a romance, that side of the story
is actually secondary to the message about people, their worth, and the need to drive away loneliness. I enjoyed reading about life in Alaska and the variety of people one might meet.