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Friday, June 18, 2010

Whiter Than Snow

Dallas, Sandra.  Whiter Than Snow.

I hesitated before accepting this ARC because of the subject matter.  An avalanche in a small 1920's Colorado mining town kills 5 of 9  children on their way home from school.

Nevertheless, something in the description made me decide to accept the novel.  I'm glad I did.

The novel explores the backgrounds of all of the families that will be effected by the tragedy and is written in a sensitive, but never maudlin style.  The reader sees the events that shaped the survivors of the children:  the small and large betrayals, the secrets, the strengths and weaknesses, the hopes and fears and courage. 

When the tragedy occurs, the individuals who love the children respond in ways that are consistent with the people they have become.  The novel is about transformation, redemption, acceptance, forgiveness, love, and loss.  The characters are well developed and feel real. 

You don't know until the conclusion which families will lose their children, and I found myself in that awful predicament of trying to choose which would live.

Dallas does not try to manipulate the reader's feelings in a mawkish or sentimental way.   She manages to keep the reader involved with the lives of the surviving parents and grandparents and to keep a studied, respectful, and discreet distance in the few pages that deal with the avalanche itself.

Fiction.  Historical Fiction.  2010.  292 pages.


  1. I've got a copy of this one and am looking forward to reading it. Sandra Dallas is one of my favorite authors.

  2. I've only read one of her novels and it was before I started this blog-- The Persian Pickle Club, although I don't remember much about it now.

    Hope you will like this one, Kay. It had a kind of simplicity that I liked, and the characters were well-drawn.

  3. I remember I read a few of her books several years ago and they came just at the right time for me. I was dealing with a lot of stress and I found them to be pleasant, comfort-type reads. I haven't read anything by her in a long time but would definitely like to again.

  4. I think she did a masterful job in dealing with a difficult topic. No sense of having your feelings manipulated, yet able to get understand the characters with empathy.