Loosely based on Grimm’s Snow White, Snow Spell (a novel in prose poems) recounts the tale of a poverty-stricken young teen living in Paris and completely unaware of her magical powers. Only when she starts seeing gorgeous ghosts floating on her family’s cracked apartment walls, does Neve suspect she may not be quite normal. But will her talents as a witch prove strong enough to protect her from her stepmother’s desire to see her dead and buried or will a cute but evil warlock be the cause of her downfall?
Ms. Murphy has taken the fairy tale of Snow White and created a beautiful modern-day story.
We first see Neve (snow, in Italian) as a beggar girl on the streets of Paris, who tells those who give her money that "My father is a peacock with sad purple and green eyes decorating his luminous feathers.
And Maman? A beautiful black swan who bathes in rainwater."
Neve dreams of being one of the beautiful creatures she sees on the streets, not knowing that one, her "beautiful stranger," means her harm from which her parents, Jacinta and Vasco, have hoped to protect her by keeping the story of her past from her.
Because the story is written in prose poetry, it's a quick read. The language is lyrical and enables the reader to clearly see the action, without further descriptions by the author.
The story is told through three POVs: Neve (the Snow White figure), Rosa (the evil stepmother), and Jacinta (Neve's foster mother who takes Neve away at Rosa's request). The POV of each woman was clear and the reader could identify in some way with each of them. It was interesting to see Rosa's thoughts as she justified her plans for Neve. Anyone who has felt awkward or unlovely as a teen will identify with Neve and her desire for a better life, and every mother will feel the pain and love that Jacinta has for her daughter.
Even if you aren't a fan of poetry, I would recommend giving this re-telling a look. My favorite part was near the end, but I don't want to give away spoilers, so read it yourself to discover the extent of Neve's powers.
FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.