Where and When Is The Snow Girl Set? Explained

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Netflix recently delivered a new amazing Spanish thriller series called The Snow Girl (La Chica de Nieve), based on a novel of the same name. It’s a highly emotional kidnapping story that’ll have you at the edge of your seat. The show and the book are very similar, but one big difference is the time and place where the story happens. So, when and where is The Snow Girl set?

The Snow Girl TV series is set in the Spanish city of Malaga in 2010. It starts with the kidnapping of a little girl during the Three Wise Men parade. The book, however, is set in 1998 in New York City, with the kidnapping taking place during a big Thanksgiving parade and celebration.

Seeing that the writer, Javier Castillo, is Spanish and that the show is a Spanish Netflix original, it’s easy to see why the showrunners decided to make the change of the location. Also, the time change makes the story feel more contemporary. Let’s explore how those two changes affected the story in general but still managed to keep it true to the source material.

What is The Snow Girl about?

While there are obviously some differences between the show and the novel, they follow the same story and narrative. So, what is The Snow Girl about?

The Snow Girl starts with the kidnapping of Amaya Martin, a three-year-old girl who goes missing after her parents lose sight of her for a second during a big parade. The story then focuses on the struggle of the parents trying to find their daughter, fearing the worst had happened and that they might never see Amaya again.

The police start the investigation while a young journalist – whose past is riddled with similar trauma – conducts her own investigation in hopes of finding the girl and giving closure to the family.


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The emotional trauma tears the Martin family apart, with both parents dealing with it in their own way, which causes a rift between them. Meanwhile, the media doesn’t really have empathy for those affected by the tragic event – rather, they want headlines. It highlights the sensationalism that is a cornerstone of today’s journalism.

As the story unfolds, we learn that the child was taken by some nasty people who filmed little Amaya being assaulted and then put it on a CP website. It’s a really harrowing story with countless twists that will have you guessing what’s going on from start to finish.

Both the novel and the series follow that same narrative, but there are some obvious differences that make the stories unique. Namely, the time and place of the depicted events are completely different. Let’s explore just how different they are.

Where & when is The Snow Girl book set?

la chica de nieve book

The writer of La Chica de Nieve novel is Javier Castillo, a bestselling Spanish writer who became popular online after self-publishing his first novel. Soon, publishing deals came, and The Snow Girl, aka La Chica de Nieve, was the author’s fourth novel.

Although Castillo is from Spain, his story took place in New York in 1998. The little girl’s name isn’t Amaya Martin, like in the show, but rather Kiera Templeton, with Aaron and Grace Templeton being her parents. 

Unlike his other books, Castillo highlights the mental and emotional state of those affected by the kidnapping instead of focusing solely on the events. The author explained why he chose to do so by sharing his inspiration behind the book.

When Castillo and his wife were walking on a crowded street with their little daughter one day, Javier let go of her hand and lost sight of her for only a few moments. It struck him down to his core with fear. His mind raced in all the harrowing directions you could imagine, worrying he might never see his baby daughter again.


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Luckily, the girl wasn’t kidnapped and was found quickly, but the experience left such a huge trauma on Castillo that it prompted him to write the story of The Snow Girl. The focus on the parents’ mental struggles to cope with the disappearance of their daughter came from Javier’s personal experience.

Also, in Javier’s book, the journalist that was conducting her own investigation, Miren Triggs, was still a student, and she found out that the life and disappearance of Kiera Templeton have a lot of similarities to her own life and past trauma.

That’s something that’s very similar to what we saw in the show, but in the Netflix original, she wasn’t a student anymore. Here’s the story of The Snow Girl, told from the perspective of the TV series that was based on the book.

Where & when is The Snow Girl TV series set?

La Chica de Nieve series

Unlike the book, the story of The Snow Girl in the TV series is set in 2010 in Malaga, a Spanish coastal city known for its beautiful beaches and historical landmarks. The kidnapping also took place during a parade, but instead of it being a Thanksgiving parade, the show made it a Three Wise Men celebration.

The reason why they changed the narrative in the show was never stated explicitly, but we can easily draw our own conclusions. Firstly, it was more practical to set the story in Malaga, as the series was produced in Spain.

Secondly, the time change from 1998 to 2010 was likely made to make the story feel more contemporary and to include the Internet-based storyline more easily. It worked like a charm, if you ask me, and the journalistic sensationalism angle also worked incredibly well.


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Another difference we mentioned between the book and the show was the fact that the young journalist doing the investigation of the kidnapping wasn’t a student anymore like she was in the books.

Rather, Miren is a trainee journalist who works for a company that wants to make the story just that – a story to pick up as much sensation and scandal as possible. Meanwhile, Miren and her journalist colleague, Eduardo, want to actually get to the bottom of the kidnapping instead of focusing on making it a big story for the press.

Overall, I believe you can’t go wrong with either the book, or the series, as both are quite emotional, disturbing, and incredibly well-crafted. Although The Snow Girl probably won’t get the big numbers on Netflix as some other shows, it’s very much worth a watch.

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