I was eagerly looking forward to Sandra Dallas's newest release, Whiter Than Snow. Like Prayers for Sale, Whiter Than Snow takes place in a small mining community in Colorado. At the beginning of the book, there is an avalanche, and we know that several children are trapped in it on their way home from school.
The novel then tells the background stories of various key players in the town, focusing especially on all the families of the trapped children. I'm embarrassed to say that it took me a few chapters to realize this. I read the first vignette and then wondered, midway through the next section, what had happened to those couples in the first chapter. (Sometimes it does pay to read the back of the book.) I enjoyed each character snapshot immensely once I figured out what was going on.
Ultimately, Dallas brings us back to the tragedy. She reveals in the first chapter that two of the children die, and we find out which ones—and how their families cope—at the end. The story was beautifully told, particularly in this last section when the townspeople cross all social lines and let go of past grievances to help each other. Sounds trite, I know—a story that's been told thousands of times in different ways. But still, it's a story that resonates and gives the reader that sense of the goodness in humanity. And we all need stories like that.
This isn't my favorite Dallas book by far; Tallgrass still holds that spot. But it's a quick, enjoyable read with some really good spots.
Other Reviews of Whiter Than Snow
Life in the Thumb
Lesa's Book Critiques