Author: Sandra Dallas
ISBN:  978-0-312-60015-0

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This wonderful work of historical fiction not only offers the requisite details of a harrowing event, but the author also fills the pages with heart, and individual quests for peace, friendship, and life.

The reader first joins the lazy day that is happening up in the Colorado Mountains near the Tenmile Range.  It is 1920, and the small hamlet of Swandyke is moving along at a relaxed pace, basking in the sunshine that’s beaming off the bright white snow on Jubilee Mountain, towering above the people of the small mining community.  School is just letting out and the children enter the small street with happy faces, as the moms hang their laundry and gossip over the fences with their neighbors.  High up in the mountain are the fathers, working away deep inside the mine, not even noticing the bright blue sky of the blessed day.  Then…tragedy happens.  Whether the event is spawned by a drunken deer hunter with a bad aim, or an explosion deep inside the Fourth of July Mine, the townspeople will never know.  All they can see is the blanket of white racing down the mountain directly at their happy children – sweeping up the trees from the forest and turning the heavy limbs into battering rams.

There are so many people to know in this small town.  We begin with Dolly and Lucy Patch.  Dolly is the “pretty” one who garners the stares of all the men in Swandyke.  She is the ultimate small town girl who wants nothing more than to live out her future up in the mountains of her home, marry wealthy, and bring more beautiful babies into the world.  Her sister, Lucy, is the “smart” one.  She even makes a deal with her father that if he lets her get out of town and go to college in Denver, than after graduation she will return home and help support the family.  Lucy heads to the big city and meets a young man named Ted.  Ted is studying mine engineering and soon they are ready to go back to Swandyke together and start their own future.  Unfortunately, Lucy has a year left of school, and when her father shows up in Denver to let her know that Ted has married her sister, Lucy has to find a new avenue, a new love, and try to rid herself of the disdain and anger that she holds in her heart for her sister, and one time best friend.

Minder Evans is an old war hero who spends most of his time in the Swandyke cemetery, cleaning the graves of the men who lost their lives in the War with the South.  He takes care of his grandson, Emmett, and lives everyday with the memories of his best friend, Billy Boy, and the years they had to suffer in the infamous POW camp at Andersonville.

Joe Cobb is also a local.  When he was very young his class was brought to a barn and faced with the lynching of their teacher – an African-American with more brains than all the Caucasian people living in the small southern town.  Joe met with racism and bigotry all his young life until one night when he lost his lovely wife Orange in childbirth, and ran away with his daughter by his side.  He came to Swandyke a broken man, and the townspeople accepted him as the loving father and hard worker that he was.  We also have Grace Foote, who is the superintendent’s wife in Swandyke.  Grace has an obsession with superstitions, told to her by her family’s laundress who truly believed in otherworldly things.  Grace is the perfect hostess, but keeps to herself most of the time, searching for the “things that go bump in the night.”  In addition to the cast of characters is Essie Snowball, a “fallen woman” who watches her child from a window – wanting nothing more than for her to have a life that Essie has only dreamed of.

This novel explores all sides of human dignity, wealth, color, education, and broken dreams.  It also teaches all of us that in the worst of catastrophes – when nature makes a choice that has nothing to do with class or status – that people of all backgrounds will come together.  The writing is superb; the story meaningful; and, the ‘point’ will stay in readers’ souls for a long, long time.  Perhaps we could even learn that it shouldn’t take a horrific event for humans from all backgrounds to be kind to each other.  Well Done! 

 Click Here To Purchase Whiter Than Snow