A City in Winter / Veil of Snows

by Mark Helprin, illustrated by Chris Van Allsburgveilwinter

I know this may be extremely boring of me, but I really like Chris Van Allsburg’s work – especially The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a book I must own. Soon. Anyway, I somehow ended up with these two books by Mark Helprin on my list, presumably because I saw Chris Van Allsburg listed as an author on both of them.

A City in Winter is about a young girl who has grown up in exile, or hidden away, whatever, but must travel to the great city to defeat the usurper and reclaim her place as queen. It’s told from her point of view and has a lot of tongue-in-cheek dialogue, particularly about politics and bureacracy. The second book, Veil of Snows, is narrated by a man who was a solider in the queen’s guard once she was grown; now he is an old man, recounting how the usurper returned and overthrew the queen. Both books are well-written, combining humor and tragedy in a unique way. I’m not sure that I would have young children read these, but they’re definitely good reads for me.

I’ll probably remember Veil of Snows when I eat biscotti and hot chocolate in the mornings from now on.

And that’s a good thing.

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