Read Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas Online


Whiter Than Snow opens in 1920, on a spring afternoon in Swandyke, a small town near Colorado’s Tenmile Range. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, enveloping everything in its path including nine young children who are walking home from school. But only four chilWhiter Than Snow opens in 1920, on a spring afternoon in Swandyke, a small town near Colorado’s Tenmile Range. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, enveloping everything in its path including nine young children who are walking home from school. But only four children survive. Whiter Than Snow takes you into the lives of each of these families: There’s Lucy and Dolly Patch—two sisters, long estranged by a shocking betrayal. Joe Cobb, Swandyke’s only black resident, whose love for his daughter Jane forces him to flee Alabama. There’s Grace Foote, who hides secrets and scandal that belies her genteel façade. And Minder Evans, a civil war veteran who considers his cowardice his greatest sin. Finally, there’s Essie Snowball, born Esther Schnable to conservative Jewish parents, but who now works as a prostitute and hides her child’s parentage from all the world. Ultimately, each story serves as an allegory to the greater theme of the novel by echoing that fate, chance, and perhaps even divine providence, are all woven into the fabric of everyday life. And it’s through each character’s defining moment in his or her past that the reader understands how each child has become its parent’s purpose for living. In the end, it’s a novel of forgiveness, redemption, survival, faith and family....

Title : Whiter Than Snow
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312600150
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Whiter Than Snow Reviews

  • Judy
    2019-03-23 09:27

    Sandra Dallas is a marvelous storyteller. I love her books because she also brings her characters to life, making them people you care about and relate to. My love of historical fiction also draws me to her books. "Whiter than Snow" is set in the historical town of Swandyke, located at a high elevation just west of the Continental Divide. The book begins with a massive avalanche in this mining town where the land has been cleared by hydraulic mining. So we know from the beginning that this disaster occurs just as school has dismissed, and likely some children are caught in the snow. But then Dallas tells the stories of various people who are from different backgrounds and locations, but all end up in Swandyke at this momentous time. The disaster brings the towns people together and proves to break down some social barriers. Though we know there is loss of life, it still is a story of forgiveness and acceptance that makes improvement in some people's lives.

  • Toni
    2019-03-23 12:28

    Sandra Dallas' books are pure enjoyment for me. Granted, they are not great literature, but I love her story telling. Her characters come alive for me and for a time, place me in the same room with them.

  • Sara
    2019-03-13 08:20

    This was a really sad book, but I actually enjoyed it. While you read this book and learn all about the children in this town and their lives, you have no idea which children are going to be killed in the avalanche. I didn't think I could even read this, but I got intrigued by this story and actually finished it and was able to give it 4 stars.

  • ☕Laura
    2019-03-07 14:28

    Ratings (1 to 5)Writing: 3Plot: 4Characters: 3Emotional impact: 4Overall rating: 3.5

  • Lynn G.
    2019-03-20 09:32

    A fairly good, light read that took a little while to get going and decide on its direction. It wasn't until about three-quarters of the way through the book that the major action happened, then the ending was rather neat and tidy. This was a perfect book to break up the more demanding one that I am reading at the same time.

  • Jackie
    2019-03-11 08:11

    I would like to give this more than 2 stars, but just can't quite get there. I read this book in a 24 hour time span - it was engrossing and a quick easy read. And I don't quite know what I expected, since I just picked up the book based on the fact that it was a new one from Sandra Dallas - I think I've read pretty much everything she's written. But somehow this didn't meet those expectations, whatever they were.I'm not big on short story collections, and this sort of felt like that to me. Even though I figured once I got into it a bit that she was going to tie everything together, it still felt a bit choppy to me. And each person's "back story" had so many characters that I had to mentally keep them sorted in order to keep track of them all.By the time I got to where Mrs. Dallas was wrapping things up, it almost felt rushed. (You know, like in one of those movies that are going along at a nice pace and suddenly it is as if they thought, "My gosh, we're into this thing 115 minutes, we better finish quick so we're at the usual 2 hour time span.")I didn't quite sense the "redemption" thing that others have described. Just a bunch of people with tragic backgrounds, in a tragic situation with tragic consequences that deal with it the best they could. That's not an unusual story, and I didn't find the telling of it particularly extraordinary. However, I am glad that I spent the time and read it. Just didn't think it measured up to some of the author's previous works.A favorite passage:"I never was arrested, and I never was a juror. I never rode in an automobile, and I have one tooth left. You think I'll go to heaven?"

  • Staci
    2019-02-26 06:17

    I have yet to read a Dallas book that I wasn't totally absorbed into from the very first sentence. She has a way of putting the reader right there in the moment of tragedy. I felt the coldness of the snow. The desperation of the parents. The joy when a loved one was recovered. The anguish when a small child who would not draw another breath was laid to rest. The author does an amazing job of taking you into the lives of each family affected and traces the choices they made that brought them all to Swandyke, Colorado. There are so many different themes explored in this story: redemption, betrayal, forgiveness, racism, and love. It makes you think twice about fate and how nothing is really left to chance and that everything....everything has a reason and purpose. Highly Recommended

  • Trudy
    2019-03-20 12:37

    GREAT storytelling! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. One of my favorites ever!

  • Sharon Huether
    2019-02-27 13:09

    A group of people from Swandyke, Colorado all come together one fateful afternoon when an avalance buries nine children on their home form school.In the midst of death, sisters are reunited, men find redemption and forgiveness.Half of the children are found safe.

  • Rachel Short
    2019-02-23 10:13

    Sandra Dallas never disappoints. She's a great storyteller and is always very well connected to the places in which she writes. I can always count on her for a satisfying read.

  • Wendy Hines
    2019-03-14 12:38

    In 1920, in a small mining town, Swandyke, Colorado, a terrible tragedy happened. An avalanche, taking everything in its path, including nine children on their way home from school, hurtles down a slope. Their are the Patch sisters, Lucy and Dolly, who between them have five children buried under all the snow. Lucy and Dolly have not spoken in many years, not since Dolly betrayed Lucy in the most horrible way. Wanting to get out of the town, Lucy goes to College, with the stipulation that she will return to Swandyke after she graduates to work. Her income going to her family to help support them. She agrees so that Dolly may have a better life. But just when Lucy finds true happiness, Dolly pulls the rug out from under her. Joe Cobb is the only black man in Swandyke. Years ago, when his wife Orange was in labor with their second child, things were not going very well and Joe ran to the white doctor for help to save his wife. The doctor made Joe stand at the screen door while he finished his supper, drank his coffee and smoked his after-dinner cigar. Then he followed Joe to his wife, but it was too late. Orange had died in that time. Angry and bereaved, Joe hit the doctor. Knowing it for a hanging offense, Joe grabbed his young daughter Jane and ran. He ended up in the small town of Swandyke and has had a few enjoyable years, until his daughter is one of those buried in the snow. Minder Evans is an elderly Civil War Veteran who spends his days cleaning and tidying up the cemetery. Minder hasn't had any peace in his life since his cowardice cost the life of his partner in the service. The true light in his life is his grandson Emmett, who he is raising. But when he finds out that Emmett is also buried in the avalanche, Minder believes God is punishing him for his cowardice years ago. Essie Snowball is a prostitute in the small town of Swandyke. Not wanting to bring shame upon her daughter, she has her stay with a friend, and watches her from afar except dinner on Sundays. She never planned to fall into the life, as she always dreamed of being a dressmaker, but a shady romance turned south, it was the best way for her to make fast cash. Now, with her daughter under the snow, it might have been for naught. Grace Foote is the Mining Managers wife. Grace grew up with money and went to finishing school. She fell in love, but he wouldn't marry her since her family just lost their wealth. She seduces Jim, and finding herself pregnant, they marry. But Grace has never fit in with the townsfolk, and has always put on airs. Now with her son buried in the avalanche, Grace will need to put her fancy ways behind her. As the men dig for the children, the townsfolk all come together. Black, white, prostitute, or elderly, when there is a tragedy, all personal beliefs are set aside. As the women huddle together frantic for their children, they set aside old differences and realize that it didn't really matter in the big pictures, did it? And perhaps they will find peace, and forgiveness, and maybe hope. WHITE THAN SNOW hooked me from the first page. I was entranced in the lives of the characters and devastated with the tragedy of the children. Some lived, some didn't, but you will find yourself praying they all do and your heart breaking when they don't. The lives of the townsfolk intertwine in a rich woven tapestry, and Ms Dallas unravels the pieces gently but firmly. I highly recommend Whiter Than Snow - one of the best books I've read this year!

  • Hillary Woody
    2019-03-13 11:26

    It’s hard to describe just how unfortunately not good this book is. “Unfortunately” because you would expect more from a New York Times best-selling author. And given the genuine praise Sandra Dallas’s other novels received for her ability to write historical fiction and her “terrific” (according to Publisher’s Weekly) characters, you would expect Whiter Than Snow to stand out in the same ways. On the contrary, these are the elements which failed this time around.The story begins with a devastating avalanche in the small mountain town of Swandyke, CO. After spending the first chapter going into some detail about the avalanche, Dallas spends the next five chapters giving back story on each of the parents of the children trapped in the avalanche. “Back story” may or may not be a fair term given that there is little more to the story than these chapters. However these “back stories” describe how each of the characters ended up in Swandyke and how they came to have the conflicts that they have. More entertaining stories keep the back story to a minimum and focus instead on how the character resolves their conflict. And while Dallas’s method could work, it doesn’t, as she spends as much time telling the reader as showing him or her what happened before. The remaining two chapters tell what happen after the earthquake hit.Dallas’s characters come across as clichéd and boring. There are three women, two of which are ahead of their time (as the novel is set in the early 1900’s) and desperately want to go to college against the wishes of their parents. The rest of the stories seem stereotypical as well. Imagine a black man, a civil war veteran, and a hooker at the turn of the last century and you will have pretty much nailed the remaining three characters’ back stories.Not everything about Whiter Than Snow is bad. It has a good message about forgiveness and the idea that life will go on. Still, the novel could have been more impactful had Dallas really let us get to know the characters through dialogue and scene and spent more time in the “after” the avalanche than the “before.”

  • Nicola Mansfield
    2019-03-07 11:30

    Reason for Reading: I've always wanted to read a Sandra Dallas book and the plot of this one was particularly intriguing.This is a beautiful story. It's what I call a light read. I picked the book up one evening and when it was time to turn out the light saw I had read three-quarters of the book. The story is simple and quite straight-forward but Dallas has written it in such a manner that the reader becomes emotionally involved in the characters by the time the already mentioned tragedy unfolds. She brings to her characters redemption, love, forgiveness and perhaps a look into God's mysterious way.The story opens with an avalanche on top of a mountain in a tiny mining village and nine children coming home from school are caught in the slide. We are told four survived. Then each of the following chapters focuses on a child's or siblings' parents or in some cases parent. These historical vignettes can go as far back as the grandparents but most concentrate on the parent(s) and the one great or many small sins they have hidden in their lives. Each ends with the birth of the children or sometime in their early life. So we never really get to know the children, only through how they are thought of by others. Then comes a point when the story picks up with the avalanche and we watch the town come together to deal with the rescue and tragedy that is their fate.The reader is in a position now to know how each family will react if it is their child(ren) that die and the reader is also vested in who could best handle the situation and perhaps who most needs redemption through the experience of death. Each person with a buried child has a reason to think they are being punished for their past sins and each also has reason to be forgiven. How it works out for the families in the end is very satisfying both for those who lost their children and those whose children lived. A beautiful story and a page-turner. I will certainly be adding Sandra Dallas to my list of authors to read.

  • Anne
    2019-03-09 07:30

    Sandra Dallas is a solid story-teller whose books often recreate early 20th century Midwestern and Western history. In "Whiter than Snow", the story of an avalanche in a dirt-poor gold-mining town in Colorado that kills or injures 9 schoolchildren, the author traces the life of each parent leading up to the moment when the snow rumbles down the mountain into the path as their child walks home from school that day. Like Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", fate brings together formerly unconnected people when disaster strikes and as in that book the lives of the people are traced backward from that event. Unlike "the Bridge of San Luis Ray" where a priest witnesses a bridge falling and tries to figure out the connection among the victims and God's intent, Dallas' book does not consider the meaning of fate or God's intent. Most of the residents of the bleak town of Swandyke, Colorado have long since lost faith in God or at least stopped trying to find the meaning in the mining accidents, weather disasters, illness, poverty and wars that they have experienced. They just soldier on and find comfort in the community of the mutually bereaved and afflicted. Sounds like a grim story, but the books is suspenseful, well-plotted and ultimately hopeful, as are all of this author's books.

  • Diane Lynn
    2019-02-28 12:37

    4.5 stars

  • Debbie Maskus
    2019-03-22 10:35

    I have read two other of Sandra Dallas's books, and I enjoyed this as much as Tallgrass. I found Prayers For Sale to be a little slow. Whiter Than Snow is set in a mining town, as is Prayers For Sale. An avalanche falls in April 1920, in a small mining town in Colorado and buries nine young school children. The story begins with the avalanche and then quickly turns to describe the life of each parent or caregiver of the nine children. In the various stories are two sisters who have not spoken to one another in years, a Jewish prostitute saving money to open a dress making shop, an old Civil War veteran fighting with guilt, the mine manager and his wife, and the only Negro in the town-a single black man with a 6 year old daughter. As usual in Dallas's stories are the multitude of human emotions and existence; and the secrets that people hide. The story ends with the community coming together to dig for the children in hopes of finding survivors; as the reader waits to learn the fate of each of the nine children.

  • Ramona
    2019-03-24 09:32

    Another beautifully written story by Sandra Dallas. Dallas weaves a tale set in the 1920's in Swandyke, Colorado, a small mining town where an avalanche sweeps away nine young children as they walk home from school. Only four survive. The story goes back to share the stories of the lives of the parents of these children, of their differences in family, culture, social status and religion. Dallas puts you in the midst of the hardships, heartbreaks, family trials, the challenges faced in a small mining town and the emotional damages from the wages of war. After the avalanche, this bittersweet story tells of how people join together to help one another during a tragedy forgetting their differences and changing how they view and treat one another. Whiter Than Snow is a story of love, loss, forgiveness, family, redemption and God's grace.This book reminded me of how neighbor and stranger alike always came together when we experienced hurricanes on the Gulf Coast of MS with everyone only looking to help one another rebuild lives.

  • Virginia Myers
    2019-02-25 10:35

    Someone else said this book was “soul satisfying”. I agree, it is just that. It makes me feel good to know that people who have been somehow bruised by life can come together and either ignore that bruise or determine to forget it when tragedy strikes a community.The book tells the story of how several people who now live in a small Colorado mining community pull together to console each other or to assist in recovery efforts when a group of children are swept away by a dreadful avalanche. The 1st Chapter sets the stage for the community’s actions, the next 5 Chapters tell the story of the “bruised” people, and the last two Chapters wrap up the outcome for the people involved. I felt the middle 5 Chapters did allow the readers to live within the skins of the people involved – and that is a plus. I believe however that this book does not achieve the same strength that Prayers for Sale did but I think that, if someone is desparate to fill some empty hours, they should pick up this book. It will give those empty hours some purpose.

  • Keilani Ludlow
    2019-03-05 07:35

    This is one of her sadder stories, but will little spots of joy. It is a series of smaller stories, as you learn the background of various characters, wrapped in the larger story. One day an avalanche takes several of the town children as they return home from school. As the anxious parents wait to discover if their children will survive or not, you learn the story of each parent, and most are not very happy. Some of the children are saved and some are not. There are some very touching moments, those that show the real strength and goodness in people and how we can rise above a tragic situation to become better than we are or have been, and there are very sad moments. Those that lose their children are able to come together in a manner that would have never occurred before the tragedy and form bonds of friendship that will strengthen them in their hardest times.

  • Marti
    2019-02-24 11:20

    Whiter Than Snow is a Sandra Dallas book that has been out for a couple of years. She takes the reader to Colorado into a mining town where an avalanche happens while the children are walking home from school. Each family's past is revealed bringing you to the climax when you wait - with the mothers to hear what they don't want to hear. The emotional richness of this book makes your heart sing and sink with each reveal.Sandra Dallas writes books that worm their way under your skin and into your heart. Her characters are well thought and drawn out. Each character is portrayed with the good and the bad characteristics that people have. She is able to take a situation with the characters and mold the story around them, so that you feel what the characters feel and you understand why they feel that way. I really, really enjoy her books.

  • Steph Hundt
    2019-03-15 12:10

    I just finished this book today sitting out in the sun in a patio chair. It's a testament to how engrossing this author's books are that I was not distracted in the least by the neighbor mowing his lawn or the kids riding bikes on our street. This novel is another set in a Colorado mining town. Each main character is given a chapter to explain the events that brought them to the small town they now live in. The last chapters are devoted to what happens in the town one day while many of the schoolchildren are walking home that brings the town and shattered relationships together again.Bravo Sandra! You did it again! I just love your books and wait excitedly each year for a new one to capture my interest!

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    2019-03-09 07:24

    Sandra Dallas is one of those writers who appeals to both readers who read to escape and readers who read thoughtfully. Whiter Than Snow is the story of the families of a group of children caught in an avalanche. The reader knows from the very beginning that most of the children will die, but one of the hooks of the story is trying to figure out just which children will live. Like the other Sandra Dallas books I've read in the past, there is a nice sense of redemption by the final pages, with the characters all experiencing a new sense of connection and feelings of empathy that can arise out of a tragedy.

  • Alison
    2019-03-05 13:30

    I have enjoyed all of the Sandra Dallas books that I have read and this one was no exception. It was a really beautiful and touching story. Dallas is a historian and her book is full of the social and cultural history of mining towns as well as Colorado history. Part of what makes her story so compelling is the work that goes into her research. I live in Colorado and am very familiar with the history of the state, but I imagine a reader without knowledge of Colorado would find some of the references to the state confusing. Other than that this is a great read that I highly recommend.

  • Kathryn
    2019-02-28 10:25

    I adore Sandra Dallas books. Prayers for Sale is my all time favorite. This one was deep down good, but it just didn't pull me in so deeply that I couldn't put it down. It truly helped me realize that the people I meet have a story and often I am never aware of that story. Every character in this book had a story of how they came to Swandyke. In the end we tragedy struck all those people that had judged one another for what ever reason came together as a community. Because of that tragedy many came through their judgements and became friends. This book really deserves a 3.75....

  • Brenda
    2019-03-09 13:37

    Even though this book has a very heartwrenching teary outcome in the little mining town of Swandyke, CO(which I had to look up to find out if it existed-its now a ghost town in Summit County)where nine kids leaving school were caught in an avalanche with only four surviving. But well worth the read as you voyage into her the lives of well developed characters of the early 1900's; you delve into the Civil War fields, New York, Alabama shortly after slavery and the hard life on an Iowa farmstead before the characters end up in Swandyke.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-20 14:30

    Intregingly crafted, emotionally fullfilling and pleasing to read. Sandra Dallas gives us a peek into the lives of people living in a small mining town in the early 1900's in Colorado's Rocky Mountains plus transports us into our own lives through the events in the book.Personally, I was taken by the unwitting similarity between character Grace and a real life novelest Mary Hallock Foote. I even asked Sandra if she based the character on Foote. Sandra graciously replied assuring me that she modeled the character after no one in particular. Uncanny coincedence, I thought.

  • Donna
    2019-03-22 10:25

    Well, this book certainly had something for everyone. It is set in a small mining town out west. The Fourth of July Mine certainly has some interesting employees. Throw in a hooker, a negro, a pair of sisters who fell in love with the same man, a polygamist, a civil war veteran, a school full of kids and an avalanche. By the end of the book, all of the loose ends are tied up and I promise that it does indeed make sense. Once again, Sandra Dallas has created another interesting novel.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-11 14:13

    I really liked Whiter Than Snow! At the beginning of the story, an avalanche hit a small Colorado village in 1920, killing five children. The book then goes through the lives of several characters, setting up all of the back story for each one and for the children involved.But you don't know which kids live or die until the very end. The book is sad - with the death of the children, that's to be expected - but heartwarming at the same time. 4/5 stars.

  • Linda
    2019-02-24 06:34

    I have read others by this author and enjoyed them all. This one was a story of several different people, which were interesting stories, but they only came together during the dramatic ending of the story. I like stories with several characters, reading all about their lives, but then connect with each other during the whole story and not just at the end.

  • Wendy
    2019-03-08 09:10

    I curled up with this book on a chilly and rainy day in Colorado. Thank-you for telling me not to read it in winter, Sheri! I cried and cried! It is good to lose yourself in a book for a day every once in a while. This is a good one for that purpose. It is an easy and fast read, and such a moving story of human weaknesses and compassion.