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Whiter than Snow by Sandra Dallas

>> Friday, July 9, 2010

Whiter than Snow by Sandra Dallas

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 292
Challenges: None
Source: Copy provided by publicist/publisher

The Short Version:
Interesting historical fiction about the families in a Colorado mining town who are affected by a devastating avalanche in 1920.

Why I Read It:
I’d read a couple of Sandra Dallas’s earlier books several years ago and remembered them to be enjoyable reads, so when I was offered a copy of her latest book I decided to give it a try.

The Book:
On an April afternoon in 1920 an avalanche races down the mountainside in the remote mountain mining town of Swandyke. Nine children walking home from school are buried in the snow and only some of them survive.

The middle and main portion of the book takes a step back from both the avalanche story and the present time to tell the history of the families of the children involved. Each chapter is the story of a different parent or guardian who will soon be wondering if their child is alive. Lucy and Dolly are sisters who grew up in Swandyke, but haven’t spoken in years. Joe Cobb came to Swandyke with his daughter because life as a black man there is better than in the South. Grace Foote grew up privileged and married in haste to run from scandal. Minder Evans carries his memories of the Civil War and tries to raise his grandson as best as he can. Esther Schnable is a local prostitute who keeps the fact that her daughter is being raised by a friend in Swandyke a secret from everyone.

The tragedy brings about change, forgiveness, loss, hope, and love for everyone in town.

My Thoughts:
Since by the end of the first chapter I knew how many of the endangered children survived it was clear that several of the people I read about in the middle of the book would be faced with devastating news in the final chapters.

As I read each chapter I found myself thinking please let this person’s child or children survive. The stories of how they all came to be in Swandyke and have their lives and their children’s lives intertwined are interesting and both sad and hopeful along the way.

It’s a fairly short book, so none of the multiple plots are extensively developed, but it reads more like related short stories with the avalanche and its aftermath bringing them together and finally connecting them.

It’s a bit predictable at times with each of the main characters managing to face their past and either forgive, reveal, let go or find peace as I expected from this author.

Although not the type of book I read a lot of, it was a nice change of pace and an interesting story

Rating 3.5/5


Beth F 7/09/2010 10:34 AM  

I've had this on my list since I first heard of it. The whole premise intrigues me.

alisonwonderland 7/09/2010 4:52 PM  

I've never read any of Sandra Dallas's books, but I keep hearing good things about them. I've got this one on my to-read list, so maybe it'll be the first of hers I read.

SmallWorld at Home 7/10/2010 4:50 AM  

I've loved most of Dallas's other books, so I am looking forward to reading this one!

Bookfool 7/10/2010 1:08 PM  

This one's on my wish list. I just happen to have read a Sandra Dallas book, this week: Prayers for Sale. I enjoyed it. My all-time favorite, though, is still The Persian Pickle Club.

SuziQoregon 7/11/2010 8:05 PM  

BethF: it was a little out of my normal choices, but I thought it was good.

AlisonWonderland: this is the third I've read. I enjoyed The Diary of Mattie Spenser and although I didn't like Persian Pickle Club as much, it was still an enjoyable read.

SmallWorldatHome: If you've enjoyed her other books, I think you'll like this one a lot.

Bookfool: Did you like Prayers for Sale? I thought Persian Pickle Club was good, but I think I liked Mattie Spenser better.

Teddy Rose 7/14/2010 10:02 PM  

Thanks for the review. I have this book on my TBR.

SuziQoregon 7/17/2010 3:37 PM  

TeddyRose: I hope you enjoy it! I'll watching for your review!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

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