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Literary Friday: The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Friday, September 27, 2013

This week I read The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman.  It is a modern fairy tale reminiscent of the Grimm Brothers rather than the Hans Christian Andersen variety.  It is so dark in the beginning that I almost put it down, but I'm glad I persevered and finished the book because it does have a somewhat happy ending.

"Be careful what you wish for.  I know that for a fact.  Wishes are brutal, unforgiving things.  They burn your tongue the moment they're spoken and you can never take them back."
The Ice Queen, page 1

A small town New Jersey librarian made a tragic wish when she was a girl. That wish, paired with her love of fairy tales, has molded her into an introvert obsessed with death.  She even aids a local detective with cases through her encyclopedic knowledge of ways to die.  Her older brother Ned persuades her to move to Orlon, Florida, when their grandmother dies.  Ned is a meteorology professor at Orlon University, and Orlon is the perfect place to study the science as it's the lightning capital of the world.  Soon after moving in she's struck by lightning in her home.   Ned persuades his sister to join a lightning victims study at the university to keep a closer watch on her because she's becoming increasingly withdrawn.

The Ice Queen has suffered many ill-effects due to the lightning strike.  She is constantly cold, she hears loud clicking noises, and she can no longer see the color red.  She is depressed and completely disinterested in everything until she hears the legend of Lazarus Jones, a lightning strike survivor who lives a reclusive life on an orange  grove.  He is a very intriguing character, and Hoffman does an excellent job with characterizations in the book.  The Ice Queen tells the reader early on that her fire and ice affair with Lazarus doesn't last, but there is much more to the story than this one relationship. The story is also about a brother and sister, a wife an husband, and loving friends. 

I love Alice Hoffman's style.  She is such a concise writer, and she is the master of atmosphere.  I could feel the weight and oppression of the heat and humidity of a Central Florida summer.  Witty and smart, this book also attempts to "compare fairy tales with the chaos theory."  I highly recommend this book if you enjoy magical realism, fairy tales, dark secrets, and (a little) passionate sex. 

Please come back tonight for a special Friday Confessional and a Giveaway!

Until next time...

Happy Reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. I love this author but the book sounds very different from her others. She always has a touch of magic in her books though. A good review my friend and I'm linked! Hugs!

  2. Hello , I just discovered your lovely blog. I also love reading and I have enjoyed reading your reviews.. I just read My first Amish Macbeth book. I had no idea they have DVDs about this series.. I must read some more of this series.. Judy

  3. as fall and winter approaches...I look forward to reading more!

  4. I don't think I've read ANY Alice Hoffman, but it sounds like she packs a lot in her books. Hrmm....

  5. Main character is a librarian, that got my attention since that is my career. The plot sounds intriguing.

  6. I'm reading The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman right now. I got hooked after reading Practical Magic. This one sounds like a fun read I am going to have to add it to my never-ending list of must reads. Great Review!


  7. Alice Hoffman's name sounds familiar and I'm wondering if I read anything of hers in the past. This sounds interesting, if not a little dark. You really write great reviews!


  8. This is the first time I heard Alice Hoffman. The book sounds interesting especially when you said that it's a fusion of fairy tale and chaos theory. It's never easy to synchronize these elements in one great story. Great review Ricki!

  9. Ooo, this does sound very dark. I love Alice Hoffman, so I'd definitely give it a try!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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