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The Snow Queen Mass Market Paperback – April 20, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Gerda is a sheltered daughter of Victorian-era Denmark's middle class; Ritva is the savage daughter of a Lapp shaman and a Swedish bandit chief. Christian and pagan, city girl and wildwood outlaw, their paths should never have crossed. But Lady Aurore, a mysterious noblewoman, bears away Gerda's beloved, Kai, and Gerda steals away from home to rescue him, though she knows she has little hope of success. Even that slim hope is dashed, it seems, when she is captured by the robber-maiden Ritva. Yet they will find themselves traveling together beyond the Cave of the North Wind, to the end of the earth--and the Snow Queen's perilous palace.

In The Snow Queen, Eileen Kernaghan has respectfully combined elements of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale with Saami shamanic lore and the Finnish epic, The Kalevala, to create a powerful, enchanting, and gracefully written novel with intelligent, well-drawn characters and with unexpected plot turns that will surprise you right up to the end. --Cynthia Ward

About the Author

"Wild Talent: a novel of the supernatural" is Kernaghan's eighth book in the historical fantasy genre. "The /Snow Queen" ((Thistledown, 2001)) won the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Award, the Aurora, for best speculative novel in English, and "The Alchemist's Daughter" ((Thistledown 2004)) was shortlisted for the Sheila Egoff Prize for Children's Literature. EILEEN KERNAGHAN lives in New Westminster, British Columbia.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Thistledown Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894345142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894345149
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My nine historical fantasy novels reflect my fascination with other times and places, from the prehistoric Indus Valley to Victorian England. Wild Talent: a Novel of the Supernatural, set in London and Paris 1888-1889, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Madame Blavatsky, William Butler Yeats, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Alexandra David Neel all make guest appearances.

My young adult fantasy The Snow Queen is a reworking of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale. It gives the story a feminist twist, and incorporates northern shamanism and some elements of the Finnish myth cycle, the Kalevala.The Snow Queen won an Aurora Award for the best English language Canadian novel, and was shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association's Children's Book of the Year award. It was followed in 2004 by The Alchemist's Daughter, a historical YA fantasy set in Elizabethan England. My adult fantasy Winter on the Plain of Ghosts: a novel of Mohenjo-daro, set in the prehistoric Indus Valley, is an homage to the fabulous cities of antiquity that have fascinated me since childhood.

Sophie, in Shadow, set in India under the Raj, 1914 to 1916, is a companion book to Wild Talent, following many of the same characters a quarter century later.

I've published fiction and poetry in a variety of magazines and anthologies, both mainstream and speculative, in the U.S. and Canada. I've been a member of a five-woman poetry group called Quintet, and in 1998 we published our first collection, Quintet: Themes and Variations. Some of those poems also appear in my speculative poetry collection Tales From the Holograph Woods (Wattle & Daub Books 2009). I conduct two long-established writing workshops in the Vancouver BC area, and for twelve years I ran a used bookstore with my husband Pat. We have three grown children and four grandchildren, and live in New Westminster B.C. (next door to Vancouver)


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on March 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
My copy of _The Snow Queen_ was in my mailbox when I came home from work on one of the coldest nights of the winter. (Here in Missouri, the fact that it was technically March and not January didn't necessarily mean anything.) I curled up in my favorite chair with a blanket, and read the book in a matter of a few hours.
_The Snow Queen_ is a short novel, a single-sitting book, and more enchanting than many longer works. Nothing in this book is superfluous; Kernaghan tells the story she has come to tell--a reworking of Andersen's fairy tale of the same name--and that's it.
The enchantment begins with the cover, graced with a lovely illustration drawn from a 1913 book of fairy tales. Then, in the first paragraph, I was taken back to my childhood storybooks as Gerda and Kay sat among the flowerboxes, conversing across the narrow space between their townhouses. The setting is homey, but all is not well--Kai has grown snobbish and callous, insulting Gerda's poetry as "childish". He has set aside poetry and dreams for the coldly logical world of mathematics. And now a stranger, the mysterious Baroness Aurore, has come to town. Kai is quite taken with her, and she takes him on a long journey. He does not return.
Gerda, worried, sets off to find him--but the journey proves much longer and more difficult than expected. Along the way she is robbed, and taken in by the robber-girl, Ritva, who has a story of her own. Ritva is a shaman-in-training who isn't so sure she wants those talents, and longs to run away from her family. When Gerda resumes her adventure, Ritva goes with her--both as an excuse to run away, and because of the girls' budding friendship.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Glyn-Jones on June 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hans Christian Andersen wrote deliciously imaginative stories for young people. Eileen Kernaghan has taken one of his most famous, The Snow Queen, and wrapped it in ancient Scandinavian myth and folklore. The result is a captivating book which, though aimed for the young teens, can be enjoyed by adults and younger people too. Kernaghan takes the two leading characters Gerda and Kai, and supplies her own twists to their adventures. In addition she gives the name Ritva to Andersen's Robber Girl, and turns her into a most acceptable minor villain. With Ritva's help, along with Ba, the Robber Girl's spavined reindeer, Gerda survives dangers both real and magical. She travels to the Snow Queen's castle in the far, frozen north, where her heart-friend Kai is ensnared. Gerda, Nitva and Ba rescue Kai and escape to Denmark. But Kernaghan is too wise to end with soft, happy ever afters. Kai and Gerda both are changed by their experiences. The domestic bliss Gerda has always envisioned will satisfy her no longer. She has grown in age and wisdom through her travels and the people she has met. New horizons, and new friendships beckon. Gerda has become much more a twenty-first century girl than Andersen's sweet sample of Victoriana. When the hot summer sun beats down, this journey through a young girl's development, laced as it is with the iciness of the Snow Queen's far north, is a sure bet to hold your interest and keep you chilled just enough to avoid heat prostration. And don't be afraid to read it aloud to the younger ones. Kernaghan never writes down to any aged reader. Instead, she lets her characters pull them along in their travels and dangers, just enough to keep their own chill quotients at a high level.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "kandladin" on January 11, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gerda, a naive though endearing teenage girl living in nineteenth century Denmark, could never be called the adventurous type. And yet, when her dear friend Kai is stolen by a mysterious woman known as the Snow Queen, she knows that there is nothing she can do besides follow him to the ends of the earth to rescue him! And this she does, until she is captured by the warrior robber-maid Ritva...
This truly was an entertaining story; with two interesting and unusual heroines, who are sure to win the heart of anyone who reads this book. The plot was fast paced enough so I didn't get bored, but not so unbearably tense (at least not til the end) that I couldn't relax while I was reading it. I adore fantasy stories, and yet I'm also completely sick of the repetative rendition of the young boy hero rescuing the girl from evil. This refreshing, unusual tale is a real gem, completely turning things around, which I greatly enjoyed. Good for anyone twelve or older.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Kalevala, Saami shamanism, Arctic exploration and Victorian lady travellers all play a part in this imaginative reworking of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. Kernaghan's version of The Snow Queen won an Aurora (Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy) Award in 2001. The story begins in the real world of mid-Victorian Scandinavia, and moves across the polar ice to the Snow Queen's fantastic country "beyond the Cave of the North Wind where earth and day end". Carefully researched, and with a surprising twist at the end, the novel will appeal to both young adults and older readers.
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