In K. M. Peyton’s novel, “Snowfall,” readers find themselves thrown back to Victorian England. In a small village, Peyton introduces the main character of the story. Charlotte is a sixteen-year-old girl who dreams of being anywhere but the vicarage that she feels trapped in with her grandfather. With no parents or dowry, her grandfather has arranged for her to marry the man who will replace him as the village vicar, Hubert Carstairs. Charlotte feels that this arranged marriage with Mr. Carstairs is bringing an end to her life. It is a little over-dramatic, but the author successfully conveys Charlotte’s sixteen-year-old emotions. In order to avoid her arranged marriage, Charlotte arranges with her brother Ben, an Oxford student, to go away on one incredible vacation. Her brother, while hesitant at first, helps convince their grandfather to let her go with on a trip to the Alps that Ben was already planning with several of his Oxford friends. From there the reader jumps aboard an adventure in the Swiss Alps. Upon arriving in Switzerland, Charlotte is introduced to a range of new characters. Ben’s friends include Milo, the dashing aristocrat who feels more at home on a mountainside than at a fancy party; Mar, a man hiding from the law for a crime he did not commit; Roland, a gardener and several other fascinating characters.
During her time in Switzerland, Charlotte embraces a variety of new experiences that she never would have encountered in Victorian England. She falls in love and has her heart broken. She helps her maid who has fallen pregnant and climbs all over the Swiss mountains. The way that Peyton describes all of the scenery makes the reader feel as though they are actually in Switzerland with the characters. The characters are also very well done with hidden depths and almost constant character development.
As Charlotte’s time in Switzerland comes to an end, she braces herself for her inevitable return to England and her marriage to Mr. Carstairs. Peyton makes it incredibly easy to sympathize with Charlotte and her return to that fate is almost palpable. The others on the trip all sympathize with Charlotte. None of them are eager to return to the lives they left behind. Milo, one of the incredible people she had met on her adventures in Switzerland, was the one to offer a solution. After purchasing a small manor house, Milo admits that he has no one to run it and he hates the idea of living there alone. This leads to an offer to his companions. He offers each of his friends a position in his household that suits their preferred interests. Charlotte finds herself taken on as a housekeeper and friend, the perfect escape from her dreary life with Mr. Carstairs.
From there the story continues on to their lives and experiences living together in Milo’s home. There are new characters and interactions paired with tons of new drama. The reader gets to read all about the conclusion of Mar’s criminal accusations and see Milo’s interactions with his aristocratic family and his lover. It is fascinating watching their new lives develop and the plot remains interesting throughout the entire novel. Up to the very end, the reader will be fascinated until the last pages where Peyton throws in a new twist that will leave the reader reeling.
“Snowfall” by K. M. Peyton is an intriguing story all about life and how to change fate. The novel tells the alluring tale of a woman who would do anything to escape her dreary life and, in the end, found a life that she never even could have imagined. This is a great book for anyone who loves to cheer for the underdog or seeks an exciting adventure filled with romance and excitement. This book has aspects that would appeal to almost any audience. So to fill these snowy days, why not pull “Snowfall” off of a shelf and give it a go?
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