Author Jane Yolen
Publisher Philomel Books
Publication Date November 10, 2011
With her black hair, red lips, and lily-white skin, Summer is as beautiful as her father's garden. And her life in the mountains of West Virginia seems like a fairy tale; her parents sing and dance with her, Cousin Nancy dotes on her, and she is about to get a new baby brother. But when the baby dies soon after he's born, taking Summer's mama with him, Summer's fairy-tale life turns grim. Things get even worse when her father marries a woman who brings poisons and magical mirrors into Summer's world. Stepmama puts up a pretty face, but Summer suspects she's up to no good - and is afraid she's powerless to stop her.
This Snow White tale filled with magic and intrigue during the early twentieth century in Appalachia will be hard to forget.
Snow in Summer, (which is actually the poor girl’s name) begins with the burial site of her mother and stillborn brother. Her father is distraught, and any happiness Snow may have had is over with her widowed father going into a five year depression. Every evening, Daddy goes to his wife’s grave site and one evening comes back with an enchanting wife with a bewitched husband.
Snow’s step-mama is a little off but unconcerning. That is until Snow in Summer gets “The Curse” and after becoming a woman Step-mama takes her to a tent church, Snow in Summer feels threaten, and runs for her life. Cue dwarfs. One of which is normal size and off at college. Do I hear wedding bells? Everyone lives happily ever after.
I wasn’t sure what to think about Snow in Summer. Despite it taking place in the 30s it had more of a 2000s generation and not like a Snow White retelling at all. In fact, the Snow White storyline doesn’t come into play until the last 30 pages, almost like an after thought. (Oh yeah, this is a Snow White retelling, better throw that in). Actually, I think it would have been better without it (and this Snow White fan pains to say it) but a general Young Adult novel instead. I enjoyed Snow’s normal life (if you could call it that) and keep the dwarfs out of it. Maybe more of an elaboration of the cult tent church and have that be the action sequence? I don’t know, but the book felt very stilled like trying to smash a puzzle piece in the wrong spot.