The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Jack and Mabel, middle-aged and childless, decide to homestead in Alaska in the 1920s. Mabel feels very isolated, especially since Jack doesn’t want her help on the farm, and bakes pies to sell in town. Jack worries about making it through their second wretchedly cold winter, and they grow apart. One day, as a distraction, they make a snow child, and wrap her in a scarf. By morning, snow child and scarf are gone, but the couple starts glimpsing a little girl in the woods. Skittish and free-spirited, Faina gradually warms to Jack and Mabel and brings them little gifts. Finally befriended by their neighbors, Mabel tells Esther about Faina, but she is skeptical. Jack knows a secret about Faina, but has promised not to tell. Mabel remembers a fairy tale she read about a snow child, and worries about what will happen when spring comes. The wintry landscape is vividly described, along with clearing land, hunting moose, trapping, and meals with their neighbors or Faina. The story takes unexpected twists and turns, and is quite memorable.