A Daughter of the Snows (1902) is Jack London’s first novel. Set in the Yukon, it tells the story of Frona Welse, “a Stanford graduate and physical Valkyrie” who takes to the trail after upsetting her wealthy father’s community by her forthright manner and befriending the town’s prostitute. She is also torn between love for two suitors: Gregory St Vincent, a local man who turns out to be cowardly and treacherous; and Vance Corliss, a Yale-trained mining engineer.
The novel is noteworthy for its strong and self-reliant heroine, one of many who would people his fiction. Her name echoes that of his mother, Flora Wellman, though her inspiration has also been said to include London’s friend Anna Strunsky.
It is also notable for a racist sensibility which is also detectable in some of his other work. Welse says at one point: “We are a race of doers and fighters, of globe-encirclers and zone-conquerors… All that the other races are not, the Anglo-Saxon, or Teuton if you please, is.” Such sentiments were common currency in Jack London’s time and he places them in the mouths of characters, not the narrator.