The Snow Queen
Elements from the Finnish epic Kalevala and Saami shamanism combine with Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale in this charming novel by Canadian writer Kernaghan. In 19th century Copenhagen, Kai, a kind and clever young man much taken with scientific thought and progress, is friends with Gerda, a proper young girl with romantic tendencies. When the Baroness Aurore, a distant cousin of Kai’s and a learned natural philosopher, asks him to come away with her to be her assistant, it is a sign of the growing distance between him and Gerda. When he neither writes to his family nor returns when expected, Gerda sets out on a journey to find him. She is captured by a woodlands robber whose daughter Ritva takes her in out of curiosity. Ritva is fighting against taking up the mantle of her shaman mother’s power and eventually guides and accompanies Gerda in her search for Kai, who they find out is now being kept in the palace of the Northern Enchantress. As the two girls continue their quest, they come to a greater understanding of where their own power and choices lie. The cold and wintry landscape of their travels to the Enchantress’s palace through Sweden and the Arctic are beautifully described. Recommended for all ages.