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Snow in July    by Heather Barbieri order for
Snow in July
by Heather Barbieri
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Snow in July is a moving portrayal of the love between sisters, as well as the boundaries of that love. Erin and Meghan were shattered by the unexpected death of their father when they were only twelve and fifteen. Erin turned inward, while Meghan followed a destructive path. By the age of sixteen, she had become a drug addict, and spent the next five years in and out of rehab.

The story, narrated by eighteen year old Erin, picks up when Meghan is twenty-one. Meghan has returned home once again, but this time with her two young children in tow. Meghan is trying to get her life back together ... or is she? Barbieri skillfully imagines Erin's internal conflicts as she vacillates between familial obligation and memories of better days, while frustrated by her sister's constant betrayals. Erin also deals with questions of her own future and a new love relationship, while playing the role of surrogate mother to her nieces.

Events take place in the town of Butte, Montana, which is an ancillary character in the book. The author vividly describes a stark yet beautiful place. In fact, the novel follows the same pattern - colorful writing about a dark subject. With true-to-life characters, a gripping story line, wonderful use of language, and a not so tidy conclusion, Snow in July is a must-read.

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