Snow in Summer
by Jane Yolen Published by Philomel
on November 10th 2011 Pages:
With her black hair, red lips, and lily-white skin, Summer is as beautiful as her father's garden. And her life in the mountains of West Virginia seems like a fairy tale; her parents sing and dance with her, Cousin Nancy dotes on her, and she is about to get a new baby brother. But when the baby dies soon after he's born, taking Summer's mama with him, Summer's fairy-tale life turns grim. Things get even worse when her father marries a woman who brings poisons and magical mirrors into Summer's world. Stepmama puts up a pretty face, but Summer suspects she's up to no good - and is afraid she's powerless to stop her.
This Snow White tale filled with magic and intrigue during the early twentieth century in Appalachia will be hard to forget.
Short & Sweet: It's been a while since I saw a fairy tale retelling in America that is not modern. This one takes place in the early 1900s and Yolen does an amazing job of pulling you into the setting and story. Instead of Summer's father dying, he is under a spell after he marries Stepmama. The view point alternates, showing not only Summer and Stepmama's views, but also Cousin Nancy's at times. The reader gets to delve into the reasons why Stepmama does what she does and it really is quite a creepy tale at times that made me worry for Summer's life.
Final Verdict: A great retelling with an interesting setting. Definitely pulls out the creepiness of the tale and a background to the evil Stepmother I hadn't encountered before. As always, Yolen's writing is superb and brings the reader into the story with ease and kept me entranced while reading.