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Whiter Than Snow    by Sandra Dallas Amazon.com order for
Whiter Than Snow
by Sandra Dallas
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

On a beautiful April day in 1920, in the mining town of Swandyke, Colorado, Grace Foote, wife of the mine manager, was standing at her window watching children head home from school. She heard a rumble, her windows rattled, and she watched an avalanche race down the mountain, heading straight for the unknowing children. She counted the little heads, and watched in horror as they were swept under the ice, snow and debris from Jubilee Mountain.

Miners and townsfolk run to the scene with shovels and picks to try and locate the children. Four are found quickly and alive, while five are still missing. As the dig begins we look into the lives of the people waiting for their children. Grace Foote learns her seven year old son Schuyler is one of the first found alive. The other woman are happy for her, but have always found Grace to be cold and distant. Grace has suffered heartbreak, and cannot make friends easily.

Lucy and Dolly Patch are sisters who grew up in Swandyke, but for years haven't spoken, after Dolly eloped with Lucy's fiancÚ. Now tragedy has brought the two sisters back together. Joe Cobb is the only black man working at the mine. He is digging to find his daughter Jane. They both fled Alabama, after Joe witnessed a school teacher being lynched. He keeps to himself and is wary of the white men.

Minder Evans is seventy-five years old and fought in the Civil War. After watching his best friend die, he has carried guilt with him ever since. His wife and daughter both died from pneumonia, and now his young grandson Emmett is missing.

Essie Snowball, is from New York City. She followed her husband west to become a dancer. She soon realized he was shiftless and morally corrupt when he encouraged her to entertain other men. She works as a prostitute, trying to save money for a better life for her daughter Sophie. Essie stands with the other woman praying Sophie is alive.

Whiter Than Snow is about people brought together through a tragic act of nature. It does not discriminate class, color, or gender. Everyone has sins, and seeks redemption. This is a heartwarming story about forgiveness and the kindness of strangers.

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