The Snow Queen
Flamingo, $29.95 pb, 245 pp
When I was about ten, I used to devour the books of an English children’s author named Noel Streatfield. The most famous was called Ballet Shoes, which took young antipodeans onto the stage and into the wings of another world, the London theatre scene. Galina Koslova, a Russian-born émigrée to South Australia and the heroine of The Snow Queen, gives Ballet Shoes to a step-granddaughter, correctly designating it a classic. I wondered whether Mardi McConnochie’s novel was designed to fill the gap left on adult bookshelves by long-abandoned copies of Ballet Shoes, even if our reading requirements have matured.