An Echo Through the Snow by Andrea Thalasinos
As I sit to write this review of the book I finished 4 days ago, I can’t remember how it ended. This is not a good sign. I remember struggling through the first half of the book, thinking the character acted, thought, and related in a much older manner than the 18 years she was prescribed. She had a brief career in cosmetology, a brief pregnancy, a brief grief from the miscarriage, a brief drama with the boyfriend/ex-boyfriend. And then her story really started about half way through the book. The real story is a girl being given undeserving time and resources by a couple who loved dogsled racing. Their love for the sport, animals, speed and competition becomes her love. The stability this provides for her allows her to overcome her brief life traumas, heal relationships and dare to love again.
The Echo part of the book was far more intriguing and was portrayed by the telling of another woman’s story 70 years prior. The interplay of the two stories was quite interesting. I much preferred reading the storyline involving the Chukchi people of Siberia to the ones set in Wisconsin, modern day. Partly, because the “rural” Wisconsin town of less than 2000 people had all sorts of amenities that real small towns don’t have. The author missed the mark on the reality of small town, rural life. However, she did a superb weave in tying the two stories together. Much thought was given to the details and it made me smile as I figured out where the patterns were taking me.
While it seems cliché to deem it a “decent first attempt” at a novel, that’s about all the praise I can give it. It seemed there were several good storylines, but they lacked the development that drew me to want to keep reading. As a film, it might be a success. The short snippets of story in the first half of the book could be portrayed quickly as background using sight and sound as entertainment allowing a person to tolerate the lack of depth.
For the reader who loves dogsledding, the landscape and climate of the Northern US, or is interested in learning about the love of the sport, this book might be a refreshing drama. For me, I kept trying to like the book but ended up disappointed.