Linda Howard
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Buy *Ice* by Linda Howard online

Linda Howard
224 pages
November 2010
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Click here to read reviewer Niki Masse Schoenfeldt's take on Ice.

I live in England, which generally doesn't get too cold. We don't have snow all that often, and it's rarely below freezing. However, I read this book in the middle of an exceptionally cold spell during which we have had snow on the ground for two or three weeks and the temperature has reached minus 12 degrees Celsius. We are unused to this kind of weather; it's quite exciting and new, so I thought reading books set in icy temperatures would feel more authentic.

However, this does require the storytelling to be convincing. Linda Howard's Ice is only partly so. She describes cold weather and what it does to people well enough (for example, the danger of going out in an ice storm without a proper hat), but I wasn't always convinced about how scary and dangerous such conditions are. The story is a little unconvincing in places, too, such as the baddie's ability to overcome almost certainly fatal situations more than once. An excuse that they are on meth and consequently may have unusual recuperative powers might be true, but I wasn't entirely sure.

The other problem: this novel is too short. At 200 pages with large type, it felt more like a short story. I have nothing against short stories, but this one suffers from the classic problem for a romance set within a span of 24 hours or so - how can we be sure that it's not just love-because-of-difficult-circumstances? Indeed, at the end our heroine, the oddly-named Lolly Helton, feels that she doesn't fit into the life of the hero, Gabriel McQueen; we as readers may be of the same opinion. How are we to know this is really a "happy ever after"?

The heroine is apparently a plucky woman, but I found her rather passive in having to deal with unexpected and shocking circumstances. The rather formulaic Army hero is always ready to rescue fair maiden and puts duty above all else. Nothing new or surprising sets this book apart other than the description of an ice storm and its danger - not something I've experienced here in England, although with this chilly spell I'm beginning to get an inkling. Ice is a quick book to read in front of a warm fire, but the memory of it will fade along with the snow.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2010

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