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Review: The Snow Collectors by Tina May Hall

The Snow Collectors

Tina May Hall

Haunted by the loss of her parents and twin sister at sea, Henna cloisters herself in a Northeastern village where the snow never stops. When she discovers the body of a young woman at the edge of the forest, she’s plunged into the mystery of a centuries-old letter regarding one of the most famous stories of Arctic exploration—the Franklin expedition, which disappeared into the ice in 1845.

My Rating:

Tina May Hall sets up an eerie murder mystery in her debut novel, The Snow Collectors. Henna, a writer, specializing in hydrology, writes for an encyclopedia. After having lost her parents and twin sister, she has moved to the terrifyingly cold northern reaches of New England.

Her simple routine is interrupted by the discovery of a young woman’s body on her property, and so unravels a bizarre, old-time story of intrigue and secrets. In the woman’s hand is clutched a small fragment of a letter. Through investigation, Henna uncovers that Lady Jane, the wife of Captain John Franklin, wrote it.

The fate of Captain Franklin may be well known, if not overly fictionalized, to fans of the AMC show, ‘The Terror.’ In Hall’s telling, her heroine Henna uncovers the harrowing tale of the fated crew, with the rumored acts of cannibalism painted through short, precise chapters evoking the voices of Lady Jane and the infamous Captain. It is after Henna has several puzzle pieces that she shows the fragments of the letter she has found scattered across her property, to the local police chief, Fletcher.

Charming and handsome, Fletcher shows an interest in the case, but perhaps more so in Henna. Desire ignites between them, but Fletcher’s interest hints that he may know more about the woman who froze to death on Henna’s property than he lets on, and more about the letter as well. Hall weaves the elements of mystery in dreamlike details, painting police procedural and scientific inquiry with the same fantasy as the peculiar unknown in the vast Arctic.

The story sings with emotional depth and the unsettling, altered environment, a realistic glimpse at our world now tainted by the effects of global warming, delivers a science-fiction quality to what might otherwise have been a relatively straightforward mystery.

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Book Review The Snow Collectors by Tina May Hall
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