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The Ice Queen: A Novelby Alice Hoffman
Synopses & Reviews
From the bestselling author of Practical Magic — a miraculous, enthralling tale of a woman who is struck by lightning, and finds her frozen heart is suddenly burning.
Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into a new beginning.
She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead, then simply got up and walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets — what turned one to ice and the other to fire.
A magical story of passion, loss, and renewal, The Ice Queen is Alice Hoffman at her electrifying best.
"'Be careful what you wish for. I know that for a fact. Wishes...burn your tongue the moment they're spoken and you can never take them back.' Thus begins Hoffman's (Practical Magic; Here on Earth) stellar 18th novel about healing and transformation. As an eight-year-old, the unnamed narrator makes a terrible wish that comes true; remorseful for the next 30 years, she shuts down emotionally to become a self-proclaimed ice queen. Unlike her brother, Ned, who relies on logic, math and science to make sense of the world, the loner librarian fears the chaotic randomness of existence and is obsessed by death. Then lightning strikes, literally. In a flash, she's jolted out of her rut, noticing for the first time all that she's been taking for granted — even the color red, which after the strike she can no longer see: 'How could I have been so stupid to ignore everything I'd had in my life? The color red alone was worth kingdoms.' The novel turns sultry when the slowly melting ice queen seeks out reclusive Lazarus Jones, a fellow lightning survivor who came back to life after 40 minutes of death: 'I wanted a man like that, one it was impossible to kill, who wouldn't flinch if you wished him dead.' Blanketed in prose that has never been dreamier and gloriously vivid imagery, this life-affirming fable is ripe with Hoffman's trademark symbolism and magic, but with a steelier edge: 'Every fairy tale had a bloody lining. Every one had teeth and claws.' Both longtime fans and newcomers will relish it. Agent, Elaine Markson. 10-city author tour. (Apr. 4)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"As Hoffman's spellbinding and wonderfully insightful tale unfurls, she pays charming tribute to librarians, revels in metaphors of hot and cold, and poetically explores the meaning of trust, the chemistry of healing, and the reach of love." Booklist
"The veteran, bestselling author takes risks — most of which pay off — in her dark tale of a woman literally struck by lightning....Far from perfect, but Hoffman's more adventurous fans will appreciate this interesting effort." Kirkus Reviews
"[H]ypnotic....Less-skilled hands would have left readers awash in sticky metaphors of heat and ice. Have no such fear with the formidable Hoffman. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"[Hoffman's] best novel since Practical Magic....Within The Ice Queen...she defines the difference between lightning and magic: 'Magic makes sense. Lightning does not.' At the same time, she explores the consequences of both with luminous clarity. It is a stunning feat." Chicago Sun-Times
"A poetic and moving tale...The Ice Queen is one of Hoffman's finest novels....It is proof that the work of talented New England fabulists like Washington Irving continues, unabated, into the 21st century." Denver Post
"[S]omewhere between disposable airport paperback and intriguing pop lit....Hoffman is a gifted writer, able to conjure weirdly beautiful images that haunt the consciousness; the trouble is, they often stay in the ethereal realm..." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[A]lmost entirely devoid of narrative or psychological complexity....The Ice Queen is about as poignant as a Tupperware demonstration. Even if the narrator doesn't feel manipulated by Hoffman's maneuverings, it's likely many readers will." Boston Globe
"The Ice Queen reads as distilled essence of [Hoffman's] vision, an important side trip in her exploration of the human condition on its way to ever after." USA Today
"Hoffman comes close to writing these characters more as fairy tale symbols than as living, breathing people....Despite its flaws, The Ice Queen is an admirable addition to the unique genre of adult fairy tales." Rocky Mountain News
"Clear your calendar before picking up The Ice Queen. You will get nothing else done during the day or two it will take you to finish this fluid, lovely novel....[Hoffman] writes with a bright lyricism, all the while revealing extraordinarily dark content." Houston Chronicle
"Alice Hoffman's new Gothic romance is supposed to be a modern fairy tale but, brother, the results are grim. The story heads off into the dark woods of magical realism with a basketful of guilt and despair, but it quickly falls down a well of contrivances." Washington Post
"Hoffman leads with her weaknesses in her new novel...but her strengths ultimately battle them to a TKO....Hoffman is still dauntlessly following her muse's bread crumb trail into the heart's dark forest." Los Angeles Times
"[T]he whole book seems contrived....This is really a feel-good book masquerading as a dark and bitter story, Andersen dressed up as Grimm." BookReporter.com
From the bestselling author of Practical Magic comes a miraculous, enthralling tale of a woman who is struck by lightning, and finds her frozen heart is suddenly burning. A magical story of passion, loss, and renewal, this work is Hoffman at her best.
About the Author
Alice Hoffman is the bestselling author of 17 acclaimed novels, including Practical Magic, Here on Earth, The River King, Blue Diary, Illumination Night, Turtle Moon, Seventh Heaven, and At Risk. She lives outside Boston.
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