Dotson: ‘Whiter than Snow’ a captivating dramatic tale

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Caroline Dotson

Sandra Dallas’s newest novel, “Whiter than Snow,” is just as epic as her other novels. Dallas stays true to telling stories of small towns and families coming together during times of tragedy.

In “Whiter than Snow,” nine children are buried during a devastating avalanche in the fictional mining town of Swandyce, Colo., in 1920. The lives of the families involved individually unfold through each chapter, and during the avalanche rescue efforts, the people’s differences are put aside and a community is formed.

The quiet mine manager’s wife, Grace, opens up her house — after her son is found alive — as a hospital or morgue to the children and their families as the avalanche cuts the town’s population in half.

Two sisters, Dolly and Lucy, separated for years due to the cowardice of a man, are now able to reunite, but not until one sister loses two of her three children in the avalanche.

A man, Minder, who was a soldier for the Confederate side of the Civil War, befriends a black man, Joe, and a prostitute, Essie, after none of their children are found alive in the avalanche.

The sad circumstances of this story may come off like “Whiter than Snow” is a depressing tale.

However, Dallas does a great job of introducing each individual life story before the tragedy of the avalanche. This allows the reader to become attached to each individual child and root for them as the miners put forth amazing efforts to find the children in the snow.

For more than 15 years, Dallas has been writing novels using mysterious events to tell the main story, enticing the reader.

I love how Dallas uses smaller stories to get to the meat of the story, and how she takes time developing the characters so readers are emotionally connected to them by the final chapter.

As long as Dallas continues to write fabulous novels in her unique way, I will look forward to reading and writing about them.

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