Snow Island

Written by Katherine Towler
Review by Andrea Connell

Alice Daggett is sixteen years old in the summer before WWII. Unlike most young women her age, she lives on an isolated and provincial island off the New England coast, where the main occupations of the few eccentric year-round residents are quahogging (catching clams) and waiting for the wealthy “summer people” to arrive.

Alice carries a heavy burden on her shoulders. She still mourns her father who died six years earlier in a tragic accident. Preoccupied with her own grief, her infuriatingly weak mother depends on Alice to take care of the family business, a small grocery store. Left on her own, Alice is forced to grow up too quickly and makes some costly mistakes along the way.

George Tibbits is a veteran of the First World War, a reticent, reclusive, and mournful soul. He returns to the island like clockwork every spring. The inhabitants of Snow Island are immensely curious about this mysterious loner. As WWII casts its shadow over this secluded island, things change for both Alice and George. Their lives become intertwined in unexpected ways, quietly touching each other when most needed and least expected.

Snow Island is a gentle coming-of-age tale and a compassionate story of coping and healing. The narrative moves gracefully and slowly, matching the placid pace of provincial island life.