Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John is a beautifully written story of
forgiveness and redemption that had a profound impact on me as a child. The story it holds, and powerful Christian message carried with it, has stuck with me through the years, and it was a joy to share this book with my own children.
The story circles through several Christmases in the lives of two children, a boy and a girl. At first, you see the story through the eyes of the little girl and the boy is portrayed as the "villain"...but then the story shifts and we see things through his eyes. It continues to switch back and forth between their perspectives throughout the rest of the story.
And in the background of the unfolding drama is the beautiful Swiss alps, exquisitely captured so that you can feel the crisp air, hear the crunch of the snow, see the wildflowers dotting the hillside, and feel the height of the steep ravines and the chill of a swirling blizzard.
Something that I didn't remember until I was reading it with my own homeschooling child, was that the little girl is homeschooled for a while towards the beginning of the story, so that she can take care of her little brother. Even though this only brief part of the story, lasting the span of a single chapter, it was nice to have that little moment of connection when reading it to my son.
And, with its beginning and end set at Christmas time, and it's advent length of 25 chapters, it's the perfect book to read over the holidays.
Unfortunately, if you want to read St. John's beautiful original prose, you will have to get an older version of the book. The newest version is an adaption, and while the re-write stays faithful to the original story and I don't think it's badly done, I do prefer the Patricia St. Johns original writing better, so if you can find an older copy I suggest that. But the story wonderful no matter which version you get.
Here is a comparison of some lines from both version so you can see for yourself, and make your own decision which you prefer...
ORIGINAL: They had come to a parting of ways. The crumbly white snow-path lined with sled tracks divided. A few hundred yards along the right fork stood a group of houses with light shining in their windows and dark barns behind them. Annette was nearly home.
NEW ADAPTION: They had come to where the crumbly white path divided. A few hundred yards along the right fork stood a group of chalets with lights shining in their windows and dark barns standing behind them. Annette was nearly home.
ORIGINAL: Now, as she stood along among the snow and stars, it seemed a pity to go in just yet and break the spell. She waited as she reached the steps leading up to the balcony and looked around.
NEW ADAPTION: The magic stayed with her, and now, as she stood alone among the snow and stars, it seemed a pity to go in just yet and break the spell. She hesitated as she reached the steps leading up to the balcony and looked around.
ORIGINAL VERSION COVERS
Here are the covers I've been able to confirm are the original version and get a picture of (thanks to some helpful book-lovers at Reshelving Alexandria). There are others that I either don't have a picture of or don't know whether it's the original version...