Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Review: The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley

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The Color of Snow
Brenda Stanley
Series: Standalone
Publication date: June 1st 2012
by Tribute Books

 

Can a troubled young girl reenter society after living in isolation?

When a beautiful 16-year-old girl named Sophie is found sequestered in a cage-like room in a rundown house in the desolate hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho, the entire community is shocked to learn she is the legendary Callidora–a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib almost seventeen years ago and canonized in missing posters with portraits of what the fabled girl might resemble. Authorities soon learn that the cage was there to protect people from Sophie, because her biological father believes she is cursed.

Sophie is discovered after the man she knows as Papa, shoots and injures Damien, a young man who is trying to rescue her. Now, unsocialized and thrust into the world, and into a family she has never met, Sophie must decide whether she should accept her Papa’s claims that she is cursed and he was only trying to protect others, or trust the new people in her life who have their own agendas. Guided by a wise cousin, Sophie realizes that her most heartbreaking challenge is to decide if her love for Damien will destroy him like her Papa claims, or free her from past demons that haunt her mind.

*A copy was provided by Tribute Books for review purposes*
“[…]no matter how much I prayed, what I did, or how I changed, I would never be treated like everyone else. I would always be the girl who was raised in a cage.”
-Quoted from the uncorrected proof

While I’m not sure what I truly expected, The Color of Snow far exceeded what I was hoping for. A tale of love, loss, and self discovery, we get the highs and lows of Sophie’s story: Kidnapped as a baby, she’s now 17 and entering a world far more complicated than she could ever have imagined.

Not only do we get alternating point-of-views from Sophie and her kidnapper (who she knows as Papa), we learn the story systematically going to and fro, her past and present. This builds curiosity, creating anticipation for the eventual disclosure of her complicated life. It lets us understand the sequences of events and their circumstances that eventually brought on her distraught situation, as well as her beliefs. Scattered throughout, we also get a few pieces of the story told from subsidiary characters that, except for Carpo whose manuscript story felt out of place, manage to really fuse the chain of events together. Out of the two main POVs, however, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Papa’s is the past, the unraveling of the story that is impossible to not capture your full attention and leave you thirsting for more. Then Sophie’s present; her reentering society after living secluded her whole life is incredibly enticing with emotional ups and downs that leave you saddened, but hopeful, with humorous moments to lighten the air. Though not having an effect on the story, I did find the time period of the book felt off. A setting of the 1990’s to almost present-day, rather feels decades old. I’m placing most of the blame on the story’s location of a small Mormon town where its residents live an old-fashioned lifestyle. In any case, it’s just a matter of adjusting your mind’s eye.

Curses, religious differences, mental illness, old-fashioned beliefs and ways of life, abduction, abuse; layer after layer, we’re thrown into this tale that has so much going on, though not overwhelmingly so, that it becomes truly extensive and fascinating. Consequently, it’s hard to predict how it’s all going to tie together, as well as what is real, and what’s not. Is Sophie really cursed, or is her grandmother simply crazy? One part of the novel that I was a bit iffy about, was the talk of religion as it often breaks the deal for me. Dealing with tough subjects, set in a very old fashioned small town, God and Faith surrounds this plot quite a bit. Fortunately, the way Brenda goes about incorporating it is actually welcoming. The perspectives we get are from people who are skeptics, making it very open arms. It fits so seamlessly in the plot that my initial concerns were left unfounded.

Overall, I found myself wholly consumed by this novel. It’s heartbreaking, yet strangely beautiful. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys books that deal with strong subject matters and unraveling secrets. 

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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32 Responses to “Review: The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley”

  1. Nick

    I’m glad that you liked this book, Giselle. I read it too and really enjoyed it. I thought the author tackled the intense themes really well. Like you, I liked the past and present POV. It made the book a whole lot exciting.
    Lovely review as usual, Giselle! 🙂

  2. Aylee

    Wow, a very disturbing premise. I think I would have a hard time reading this, though I’m glad to hear you found it compelling and the religious stuff was handled nicely and wasn’t too heavy-handed. Kudos to the author for sure on that!

  3. Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay

    I recently read a lot about the Mormon way of life. It really feels like they are living in their own world & own timeline…

    I am intrigued by your review – will have to get me a copy of this!

    Thank you Giselle – for introducing me to yet another author. I have been following your blog for quite sometime – albeit silently, & have discovered a lot of new authors and books through your reviews & posts! 🙂

  4. The Teen Book Guru

    Oh my goodness this book seems so creepily fascinating. it actually kinda reminds me of Stolen by Lucy Christopher… totally intriguing and hard-hitting. It’s so interesting how in some real life cases too captives can form a personal bond and connection with their kidnappers… can you imagine?? *shudders* Thanks for the great review, Giselle! I’ve been seeing this book around a lot and I can’t wait to give it a go. 🙂

  5. Christina

    Whoa. I did not know this was going to be about a kidnapper. Ahhh! This book just got a lot more interesting-sounding. Also, I am super creeped out by the fact that the kidnapper is called Papa. Eesh.

  6. Amy

    I actually have not heard of this book. It sounds really great though. It sounds like an emotional read that I would enjoy.

  7. Sam

    I regret passing up the chance to read this now as the reviews so far have been pretty great! I’m glad it turned out to be a surprisingly good read for you, Giselle. It does sounds like a unique and emotional tale; I will have to get my hands on it soon. Lovely review! 🙂

  8. Rachel

    I don’t know if I could read this Giselle because the idea scares the crap out of me. Being a mother, this is your worst nightmare come true. Wonderful review. 🙂

  9. Rachel @ Unforgettable Books

    Fantastic review Giselle! I’m glad you really enjoyed this book. I really liked the way you explained the way the past and present point of views were written. I like how its unclear if the curse is real or not.
    :0

  10. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    I need to read this book. As I told you I had read the Jaycee Lee Douggard memoir and though, that one went a different path, I think this one would definitely intrigue me. I’m happy that in the setting religion didn’t take over the story like it did for me in The Hallowed Ones. Great review darlin’!

  11. Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

    Ooooh, I’ve been super interested in this one, and I’m so glad that it went so well with you! <3 I guess the religious element wouldn't be for everyone (probably would be a break for me as well) but the premise and Sophie herself all sound awesome! Great review, Giselle! <3

  12. Alexa

    The summary of this story is extremely compelling. I’m intrigued to try and understand Sophie’s story, as well as her “Papa” and his take on things, so I definitely am going to be checking this out.

  13. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    Wow, I haven’t heard of this book before, but after the blurb: I had to add it to my GR account. Your review also tells me that I most likely will love this book. Unraveling secrets and strong subject matters are something for me 🙂 Thanks for sharing this! ^^

  14. Carina

    Oh, I totally forgot about that one. I remember being really intrigued by its summary when I first found out about THE COLOR OF SNOW, so I’m glad to be reminded of it by your review.
    I’m also happy that you enjoyed it despite its slightly disturbing premise and the religious topics. Thanks for sharing, my dear!

  15. Renae

    Ooooh! I hadn’t heard of this book before but it sounds really good. Definitely my type of novel. Thanks for the review!

  16. Henrietta @ Leisure Reads

    This sounds really good but sad. I have no idea that this one shares alternating POVs. It’s hard for me to imagine a life living in a cage, and being labeled as a cursed one in a small town? That’s devastating. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. This is an amazing review!

  17. Danny

    Wonderful! The only aspect I am concerned about is the religious one.. I am not a big fan of too much religion in a book! Stil, it sounds like a strong read!

  18. Aneeqah

    I’m glad that you liked this one so much Giselle! Before reading your review, I thought that this one looked kind of iffy, but now I think I’ll actually be willing to give this one a try. I like the idea of it, living in a cage for 17 years of your life can definitely be scarring. But I really love the fact that some of the book is told from Papa’s POV. I think it’d be neat to get into the mind of someone who thought his daughter was cursed. However, I think the religion talk might turn me off a little, even though it didn’t for you. Nonetheless, I think I’ll be adding this one to my TBR! Fabulous review Giselle! <3

  19. Eileen

    Great review as always! It sounds like a really moving book, and if I just looked at it, I would be really reluctant but it sounds really inspiring and full of emotions 🙂

  20. Jac

    I don’t normally get into kidnapped books, I can’t explain why but it’s never been my thing.

    That said? This one intrigues me. And I like that it’s told from both views, that really has me curious!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  21. Meg K.

    I’ve been hearing tons of great reviews about this, so I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it, too! The story sounds so intriguing, and I find it kind of amazing how you say that so much is going on, yet you don’t feel too overwhelmed. I have to give this a try soon!

    Lovely review as usual, Giselle. 🙂

  22. Lalaine

    I havent heard of this book before but it sounds like a good book.and that is why i loved your blog everytime i go here, i get to find new books to pine for! Great review Giselle! x

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