One winter day, twelve-year-old Nicky Dillon and her father Robert go for an afternoon stroll on their rural New Hampshire homestead. They stumble across a newborn baby wailing in the snow.
Robert Dillon suspends his disbelief and shock long enough to get the baby out of the freezing air. As her father drives to the hospital young Nicky tries her best to process these recent events.
Light on Snow examines the Dillons’ lives before and after discovering the abandoned baby. Father and daughter were part of a complete family just two years ago. Mother/wife and baby daughter perished in a holiday car accident. Robert Dillon left his New York life behind, driving himself and Nicky far away from their painful past.
Naturally, the short time with the baby stirs memories in young Nicky. Though she tells this story as an adult eighteen years later, her adolescent feelings and grief are fresh. Shreve combines the characters’ varying emotions with ease.
Light on Snow is simultaneously simple and complex. Readers will enjoy exploring the choices the cast makes that decide their fate: the decision to take an afternoon walk at that exact time, the decision to buy a certain house in rural New Hampshire, the decision to do some last minute Christmas shopping. All these choices led to a baby’s saved life. All these choices lead to Light on Snow being one of Anita Shreve’s best works yet.