Monday, December 27, 2010

My Review of The Snowflake

Here's a description of the book from B & H Publishing:
"Christmas 1897. Ellen Pierce and her brother are determined to reach the Alaska gold rush. But when ice stalls their steamship, all seems lost, until Buck Lewis makes a decision: he'll lead all who dare to follow on foot toward Dawson City.

Buck is determined to leave behind a heartbreaking past. No amount of ice or weather will stop him. But he never counted on a woman joining a dangerous wilderness trek--or on falling in love with her.

As their journey unfolds and Christmas approaches, Ellen and Buck discover that the greatest gift of all can't be wrapped in paper and tied with a bow. It comes from, and is received in, the heart.

Come share in a soul-deep romance that gives a joyful reminder of a redeeming God who makes us each unique, yet loves us all the same."

My Rating: Spring/Summer

My Review:

Full of adventure, romance, and some rather deep topics, The Snowflake is a novella with a beautiful cover and an intriguing story! Right from the start, I was drawn in through the epigraph:

"They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?" (From Jeanette Winterson, The Passion, 1987)

Talk about powerful! I appreciate the themes throughout this book of love (God's love, and romantic love), uniqueness, and being non-judgmental. And I've loved stories with this sort of setting for years: the Yukon, mining towns, gold rush, etc. For a short story, The Snowflake sets forth quite the journey!

However, the other side of that token is that this book could probably be continued/extended. I think The Snowflake would make a great full-length novel, especially because the two main characters (Buck and Ellen) could use some more time to get to know each other.

Also, a big issue at the beginning of the story is Ellen's brother's state of mind, and the way that this "issue" is resolved is a bit disturbing and leaves the reader wondering about Ellen's heart attitude (although she did have her share of suffering). There's just so much going on in the first part of the book, and I'm not sure it was completely explored in a way that fully satisfies.

All in all, though, The Snowflake shows the wonder of forgiveness and love, and it's a story that is hard to put down!

*With thanks to Linda from Mocha with Linda for my copy of the book, which I won during a giveaway on her blog.*

13 comments:

Amanda said...

Nice review, Amber! Seems like a sweet read for winter :) But, I have to ask, was this book "edgy" like Jamie's others? The few of hers I have read have had a little more content that I would have expected (especially The Duchess and the Dragon) and was wondering if this was like them? I will say though, content aside, that she is a very talented writer and has a poetically descriptive writing style- from what I remember anyway :)

Blessings,
Amanda Stanley

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Thank you! I think this one could be considered a little "edgy," although I don't think it's as much so as some of her other books...

*Potential spoiler*

Because a lot of the first part has to do with traveling in freezing conditions, there is a lot of contact between the Buck and Ellen. They do sleep in the same bedroll at one point, but only to keep each other warm. (No inappropriate material, except for him holding her close.)

Also, Ellen ends up inadvertently staying at a brothel (which she leaves), but then she works as a dance hall girl--dancing with the miners only.

*End of potential spoiler*

Sorry if that was giving too much away! I just wanted to warn you about some of the potentially objectionable content. Because of the setting, some of what is discussed makes sense (like keeping each other warm, needing a way to survive, etc.). Nothing is really discussed in detail, though.

So I guess I would say, "Proceed with caution." I enjoyed the book overall, and I like the setting, but after all that I just thought back on, I think it's safe to call it an "edgy" book. Hope that helps! And I apologize for the long response!

~Amber

P.S. I have to add that I saw your discussion with Casey about Deeane Gist's books (on Goodreads), and I really liked it! I think you stated your thoughts and warnings very well, and I hope I can emulate you and exercise the same discernment. :)

Amber S. said...

Oops! Not "the Buck"--just "Buck!" (It's a name, not the animal.) ;)

~Amber

Amanda said...

Thank you, Amber, for sharing the "edgy" of this book in greater detail with me. And, I don't mind spoilers, so no worries ;) I guess there is a fine line between being edgy just for the sake of being edgy and actually having a spiritual, redemptive purpose behind it. Like in Tamera Alexander's Fountain Creek Chronicle's you will find some definite "edgy" scenes (especially in Revealed), but they have a purpose and it's not to entertain the flesh but to encourage the spirit. This book doesn't sound too bad, if anything the scene where they're keeping each other warm sort of reminds me of the scene in Tamera's "From A Distance" when the hero and heroine are in the cave. But, again I thank you for the detailed warning, my friend :)

And, it is a blessing to hear you liked my discussion with Casey over on Goodreads :) I was hoping I didn't offend anyone, or Christian Fiction as a whole. I kinda felt like I was rambling, so to hear you thought I stated my thoughts and warnings well means a lot to me. I'm honored by your words here but confess I fail more often than I am victorious. It's so hard to discern between the wheat and the chaff, and sometimes you're enjoying a story so much you almost don't care. But I've been convicted of some things as of late and am trying to seek the Lord's will more on the matter.

Anyway, thanks again :)

Blessings,
Amanda Stanley

Kav said...

Hmmm...I got two things out of this post. 1) The book sounds intriguing. Great review, as always. I love how you explore all apsects of a book. 2) I've never delved into Good Reads but now you and Amanda have intrigued me so I guess I better check it out.

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

I'm glad the spoilers weren't too much. :) I definitely agree that there is a difference between just plain "edgy" material, and "edgy" material with a redemptive purpose. I'm hoping that any "edgy" material in my WIP is the kind that adds to the story as a whole and carries the message along.

And yes, I agree that the scene I mentioned about keeping each other warm is like the scene in From a Distance (I love that book!). I can't wait to read Tamera's Fountain Creek Chronicles series. :)

I definitely liked your conversation with Casey--very thought-provoking! I confess that I have a hard time with that, as well--it's so easy to be reading a Christian fiction book and not care if there's "edginess" that isn't really necessary. I could use some more discernment, too!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, as well, Amanda! :) I always love hearing from you!

~Amber

P.S. You should be getting a little note in the mail sometime soon. :)

Amber S. said...

Kav,

I'm glad you were able to get a couple of things out of this post! :)

Thank you for your kind words about my review! :) I'm so glad you like how I write my reviews--I hope that I structure them alright.

As for Goodreads, I do hope you check it out! It's a neat site where you can keep track of what books you've read, are reading, or are going to read. You can also make comments on others' reading material, rate books and write reviews, enter giveaways, etc. It's a great place for us booklovers to hang out! ;) If you join, I'd love to be your "friend" there!

~Amber

Amanda said...

My friend, I will tell you now from what I've read so far, I have encountered nothing "edgy" in your WIP! Kissing and loving, romantic moments are BEAUTIFUL, especially when done through the pen of someone who wants to honor God- and that is most definitely YOU! So, no worries ;) It's when you step beyond that point (or leap beyond it in some cases), that is when edgy comes into play and can easily start to become uncomfortable if there is no redemptive/spiritual-lesson-learned reason for it.

May the Lord give us all a greater measure of His discernment- especially if we are recommending a book to another person :)

@Kav- I think you would really like Goodreads! And I'd love to be your 'friend" on there too :D

Blessings,
Amanda Stanley

P.S.- I'll be watching for the Mailman!! :D

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Thank you so much for your comforting and encouraging words! I confess that there are some "edgier" things to come, but I want them to have a redemptive purpose, as you say. :)

Talk to you soon!

~Amber

Amanda said...

Well, I trust you and your convictions, my friend, and I'm sure what you write will have a redemptive, edifying purpose. I know the Lord will direct you and it will touch all who are blessed enough to read it :)

Blessed,
Amanda Stanley

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Thank you! :) Your words mean so much to me! Be looking for my New Year's Eve post about resolutions. I'm hoping (if it's OK with you) that it means you'll have more reading material this next year. ;)

~Amber

Amanda said...

:D It is most definitely OK with me!! ;)

Blessings!

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Thank you! :D

Blessings to you, as well!

~Amber