If it wasn’t food, I didn’t buy it.
That was my rule for my solo cross-country road trip and I could not afford exceptions.
I did, however, succumb to the allure of a new book. After wandering around Boulder that morning and Colorado’s capital all afternoon, I was almost relieved when it started to rain since it gave me a reason to seek refuge in the second hand bookstore I’d heard so much about, the Tattered Cover.
The original building holds a seemingly endless number of books within the walls of it’s five floors. I worked my way up to the third where the travel section was and sat down with the first bookthat caught my eye, The Palace of the Snow Queen.
Within 10 seconds, I was hooked; within 10 minutes, I also had to own.
Appealing to lovers of travel, history, and culture, Barbara Sjoholm explores all that Scandinavia has to offer—light, darkness, cold, ice, snow, and people. Within three winters, she visits the Ice Hotel (Jukkasjarvi, Sweden), Kiruna (Sweden), Santa’s Post Office (Finland), and many Sami homes in and around the cities of focus.
She exposes the reader to the beauty of Lapland in addition to the tensions among culture, politics, language, environment, tourism and economics. It is a truly fascinating yet not once overwhelming with information or detail.
Sjoholm writes in a vivid and lively way that makes the fictional Palace of the Snow Queen as real as the frigid and snowy landscapes of northern Norway and Finland. She teaches, analyzes, and explores the region with such finesse that I’d be lying if I told you that in the midst of my current Central American experience, I somewhat long for the chill of Scandinavia.
She creates a real yet magical landscape that is both intriguing and satisfying. What better time than now—the snowiest of winters in the States—than to curl up with a hot cup of tea and discover the honest beauty in The Palace of the Snow Queen.
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