The Ice Queen: A Novel

The Ice Queen: A Novel

by Alice Hoffman


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594709398
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 06/09/2015
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 152,937
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the bestselling author of nearly twenty acclaimed novels beloved by teens and adults, including Aquamarine and Practical Magic, both made into major motion pictures, as well as The Foretelling, Green Angel, The Ice Queen, and Here on Earth (an Oprah Book Club selection). She has also written the highly praised story collections Local Girls and Blackbird House. The author lives outside of Boston and maintains a website at


Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

March 16, 1952

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


B.A., Adelphi University, 1973; M.A., Stanford University, 1974

Read an Excerpt

The Ice Queen

a novel
By Alice Hoffman

Little, Brown & Company

ISBN: 0-316-15438-5

Chapter One

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. They bruise and bake and come back to haunt you. I've made far too many wishes in my lifetime, the first when I was eight years old. Not the sort of wish for ice cream or a party dress or long, blond hair; no. The other sort, the kind that rattles your bones, then sits in the back of your throat, a greedy red toad that chokes you until you say it aloud.

The kind that can change your life in an instant, before you have time to wish you can take it back.

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but don't all stories begin this way? The stranger who comes to town and wreaks havoc. The man who stumbles off a cliff on his wedding day. The woman who goes to look out the window when a bullet, or a piece of glass, or a blue-white icicle pierces her breast. I was the child who stomped her feet and made a single wish and in so doing ended the whole world - my world, at any rate. The only thing that mattered. Of course 1 was self-centered, but don't most eight year-old girls think they're the queen of the universe? Don't they command the stars and seas? Don't they control the weather? When I closed my eyes to sleep at night, I imagined the rest of the world stopped as well. What I wanted, I thought I should get. What I wished for, I deserved.

I made my wish in January, the season of ice, when our house was cold and the oil bill went unpaid. It happened on the sixteenth, my mother's birthday. We had no father, my brother and I. Our father had run off; leaving Ned and me our dark eyes and nothing more. We depended on our mother. I especially didn't expect her to have a life of her own. I pouted when anything took her away, the bills that needed paying, the jobs that came and went, the dishes that needed washing, the piles of laundry. Endless, endless. Never ever done. That night my mother was going out with her two best friends to celebrate her birthday. I didn't like it one bit. It sounded like fun. She was off to the Bluebird Diner, a run-down place famous for its roast beef sandwiches and French fries with gravy. It was only a few hours on her own. It was just a tiny celebration.

I didn't care.

Maybe my father had been self-centered; maybe I'd inherited that from him along with the color of my eyes. I wanted my mother to stay home and braid my hair, which I wore long, to my waist. Loose, my hair knotted when I slept, and I worried; my brother had told me that bats lived in our roof. I was afraid they would fly into my room at night and make a nest in my head. I didn't want to stay home with my brother, who paid no attention to me and was interested more in science than in human beings. We argued over everything, including the last cookie in the jar, which we often grabbed at the same time. Let go! You first! Whatever we held often broke in our grasp. Ned had no time for a little sister's whims; he had to be bribed into reading to me. I'll do your chores. I'll give you my lunch money. Just read.

My mother didn't listen to my complaints. She was preoccupied. She was in a rush. She put on her raincoat and a blue scarf. Her hair was pale. She'd cut it herself, straining to see the back of her head in the mirror. She couldn't afford a real haircut at a salon; still she was pretty. We didn't talk about being poor; we never discussed what we didn't have. We ate macaroni three times a week and wore heavy sweaters to bed; we made do. Did I realize that night was my mother's thirtieth birthday, that she was young and beautiful and happy for once? To me, she was my mother. Nothing less or more. Nothing that didn't include me.

When she went to leave, I ran after her. I was barefoot on the porch and my feet stung. The rain had frozen and was hitting against the corrugated green fiberglass roof. It sounded like a gun. Ice had slipped onto the floorboards and turned the wood to glass. I begged my mother not to go. Queen of the universe. The girl who thought of no one but herself. Now I know the most desperate arguments are always over foolish things. The moment that changes the path of a life is the one that's invisible, that dissolves like sugar in water. But tell that to an eight-year-old girl. Tell it to anyone; see who believes you.

When my mother said that Betsy and Amanda were waiting for her and that she was already late, I made my wish. Right away, I could feel it burning. I could taste the bitterness of it; still I went ahead. I wished I would never see her again. I told her straight to her face. I wished she would disappear right there, right then.

My mother laughed and kissed me good-bye. Her kiss was clear and cold. Her complexion was pale, like snow. She whispered something to me, but I didn't listen. I wanted what I wanted. I didn't think beyond my own needs.

My mother had to start the car several times before the engine caught. There was smoke in the air. The roof of the patio vibrated along with the sputtering engine of the car. I could feel the sourness inside me. And here was the odd thing about making that wish, the one that made her disappear: it hurt.

"Come inside, idiot," my brother called to me. "The only thing you'll accomplish out there is freezing your ass off."

Ned was logical; he was four years older, an expert on constellations, red ants, bats, invertebrates. He had often told me that feelings were a waste of time. I didn't like to listen to Ned, even when he was right, so on that night I didn't answer. He shouted out a promise to read to me, even if it had to be fairy tales, stories he held in contempt. Irrational, impossible, illogical things. Even that wasn't enough for me to end my vigil. I couldn't stop looking at the empty street. Soon enough my brother gave up on me. Didn't everyone? My feet had turned blue and they ached, but I stood out there on the porch for quite a while. Until my tongue stopped burning. I looked out the window, and even Ned came to see, but there was nothing out there. Only the snow.

My mother had her accident on the service road leading to the Interstate. The police report blamed icy road conditions and bald tires that should have been replaced. But we were poor, did I tell you that? We couldn't afford new tires. My mother was half an hour late for her birthday dinner, then an hour; then her friend Betsy called the police. The next morning when our grandmother came to tell us the news, I braided my own hair for the first time, then cut it off with a pair of gardening shears. I left it behind for the bats. I didn't care. I'd started to wonder if my brother had been right all along. Don't feel anything. Don't even try.

After the funeral, Ned and I moved into our grandmother's house. We had to leave some of our things behind: my brother his colony of ants, and I left all my toys. I was too old for them now. My grandmother called what I'd done to my hair a pixie cut, but could she give a name to what I'd done to my mother? I knew, but I wasn't saying. My grandmother was too kind a person to know who was living under her roof. I'd destroyed my mother with words, so words became my enemy. I quickly learned to keep my mouth shut.

At night I told myself a story, wordless, inside my head, one I liked far better than those in my books. The girl in my story was treated cruelly, by fate, by her family, even by the weather. Her feet bled from the stony paths; her hair was plucked from her head by blackbirds. She went from house to house, looking for refuge. Not a single neighbor answered his door, and so one day the girl gave up speaking. She lived on the side of a mountain where every day was snowy. She stood outside without a roof, without shelter; before long she was made of ice-her flesh, her bones, her blood. She looked like a diamond; it was possible to spy her from miles away. She was so beautiful now that everyone wanted her: people came to talk to her, but she wouldn't answer. Birds lit on her shoulder; she didn't bother to chase them away. She didn't have to. If they took a single peck, their beaks would break in two. Nothing could hurt her anymore. After a while, she became invisible, queen of the ice. Silence was her language, and her heart had turned a perfect pale silver color. It was so hard nothing could shatter it. Not even stones.

"Physiologically impossible," my brother said the one time I dared to tell him the story. "In such low temperatures, her heart would actually freeze and then burst. She'd wind up melting herself with her own blood."

I didn't discuss such things with him again.

I knew what my role was in the world. I was the quiet girl at school, the best friend, the one who came in second place. I didn't want to draw attention to myself. I didn't want to win anything. There were words I couldn't bring myself to say; words like ruin and love and lost made me sick to my stomach. In the end, I gave them up altogether. But I was a good grandchild, quick to finish tasks, my grandmother's favorite. The more tasks, the less time to think. I swept, I did laundry, I stayed up late finishing my homework. By the time I was in high school, I was everyone's confidante; I knew how to listen. I was there for my friends, a tower of strength, ever helpful, especially when it came to their boyfriends, several of whom slept with me in senior year, grateful for my advice with their love lives, happy to go to bed with a girl who asked for nothing in return.

My brother went to Harvard, then to Cornell for his graduate degree; he became a meteorologist, a perfect choice for someone who wanted to impose logic onto an imperfect world. He was offered a position at Orlon College, in Florida, and before long he was a full professor, married to a mathematician, Nina, whom he idolized for her rational thought and beautiful complexion. As for me, I looked for a career where silence would be an asset. I went to the state university a few towns over, then to City College for a master's in library science. My brother found it especially amusing that my work was considered a science, but I took it quite seriously. I was assigned to the reference desk, still giving advice, as I had in high school; still the one to turn to for information. I was well liked at the library, the reliable employee who collected money for wedding presents and organized baby showers. When a co-worker moved to Hawaii I was persuaded to adopt her cat, Giselle, even though I was allergic.

But there was another, hidden side to me. My realest self. The one who remembered how the ice fell down, drop by bitter drop. The one who dreamed of cold, silver hearts. A devotee of death. I had become something of an expert on the many ways to die, and like any expert I had my favorites: bee stings, poisoned punch, electric shock. There were whole categories I couldn't get enough of: death by misadventure or by design, death pacts, death to avoid the future, death to circumvent the past. I doubted whether anyone else in the library was aware that rigor mortis set in within four hours. If they knew that when heated, arsenic had a garlic like odor. The police captain in town, Jack Lyons, who'd been in my brother's class in high school, often called for information regarding poison, suicide, infectious diseases. He trusted me, too.

Once I began researching death, I couldn't stop. It was my calling; I suppose it was a passion. I ordered medical texts, entomology books, the Merck manual of pharmaceuticals so as to be well versed in toxic side effects when Jack Lyons called. My favorite reference book was A Hundred Ways to Die, a guide for the terminally ill, those who might be in dire need of methods and procedures for their own demise. Still, I always asked Jack if he hadn't someone more qualified than I to do his research, but he said, "I know I'll just get the facts from you. No interpretations."

In that regard, he was wrong. I was quiet, but I had my opinions: when asked to recommend which fairy tales were best for an eight-year-old, for instance, Anderson's or Grimm's, I always chose Grimm's. Bones tied in silken cloth laid to rest under a juniper tree, boys who were foolish and brave enough to play cards with Death, wicked sisters whose own wickedness led them to hang themselves or jump headfirst into wells. On several occasions there had been complaints to the head librarian when irate mothers or teachers had inadvertently scared the daylights out of a child on my recommendation. All the same, I stood my ground. Andersen's world was filled with virtuous, respectable characters. I preferred tales in which selfish girls who lost their way needed to hack through brambles in order to reach home, and thoughtless, heedless brothers were turned into donkeys and swans, fleas itching like mad under their skin, blood shining from beneath their feathers. I didn't believe that people got what they deserved. I didn't believe in a rational, benevolent world that could be ordered to suit us, an existence presumed to fit snugly into an invented logic. I had no faith in pie charts or diagrams of humanity wherein the wicked were divided from the good and the forever after was in direct opposition to the here and now.

When I walked home from the library on windy nights, with the leaves swirling, and all of New Jersey dark and quiet, I wouldn't have been surprised to find a man with one wing sitting on the front steps of Town Hall, or to come upon a starving wolf on the corner of Fifth Street and Main. I knew the power of a single wish, after all. Invisible and inevitable in its effect, like a butterfly that beats its wings in one corner of the globe and with that single action changes the weather halfway across the world. Chaos theory, my brother had informed me, was based on the mathematical theorem that suggests that the tiniest change affects everything, no matter how distant, including the weather. My brother could call it whatever he wanted to; it was just fate to me.


Excerpted from The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman Excerpted by permission.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Ice Queen 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
JakeTaylor More than 1 year ago
From the get-go I was hooked. Hoffman has the knack for creating a narrative that is compelling. The main character, who remains nameless through the whole book, is a woman obsessed with death. As a young girl, she gets mad at her mom as she is driving away. In a moment of fury, she wishes her mom dead. It is the dead of winter and the next day, the young girl wakes up to find that her mom was killed in a car accident. Her wish had come true. Later in the story, the girl moves to Florida with her brother. Florida is the lightning capital of the world. The woman is fascinated by lightning. So fascinated she wonders what it would be like to be struck by it. So she wishes, out loud, that she would be struck by lightning. It happens. Hoffman describes the effects of lightning strikes on people. The narrator, for instance, can no longer see red after she is struck. She is also constantly cold and she begins to refer to herself as an ice queen because she can no longer feel. Then she meets Lazarus. A man who was struck by lightning, died, and then came back to life. She is fascinated by him because he could be someone that would not be affected by her death wishes. An odd romance ensues between the narrator and Lazarus. There is more but I will not spoil it for you. Go find it and read it. It is really a story about the redemptive power of love. I loved how Hoffman made the surreal and the real entwine. It felt like a magical book but there really was no magic in it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Jodi Picoult or other authors like her.
bookczuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel really guilty, I normally love Alice Hoffman's writing, but this book just didn't engage me. Not that the writing wasn't good, or that the ideas were ambiguous or that the imagery was missing -- it just didn't capture me. When over halfway into the I didn't like or care about any of the characters, I started skim-reading. I caught many of the fairytale references and could have a willing suspension of disbelief on some things that happen in the story. Even so, I found it a bit too melancholy for my tastes.
EffingEden on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh. My. God.This book. It was never ending! The style of the writing was dull. Yes, some of it did have a poetic twist about it, but really? It was depressing. That's pretty much all that can be said for it - the author can force the reader into depression. When I read the main character's emotions, I actually felt like I was on a down spiral. Yes, that's a good skill. But Alice Hoffman doesn't stop! It is all misery. Not just understandable misery, either. Misery about the stupidest, childish things. I couldn't stand another page of it.I am disappointed. It started like Wicked: The Life And Times Of The Wicked Witch Of The West but it didn't take off, and I felt no connection to the nameless protagonist. I got midway, where Lazarus Jones is talking about his past to the nameless she. I ended up reading one sentence per paragraph and I was still depressed and bored of the lack of emotions.*** (some time later)So, I did finish it.It was as anticlimactic as a story without a upward curve of anticipation can be. It wasn't worth the time, even when I only read one sentence in three.I'm glad it's over.
Storeetllr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finished an audiobook reading of The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman. All I can say is wow. This is the first book since Find Me that made me cry, yet I never felt that the author was manipulating my emotions (which is, perhaps, why I was able to cry, since it was so subtle and crept up on me that I wasn't prepared). The entire book was dark, and for at least half of it I disliked the female protagonist, but the last half of the book details her redemption and was so powerful and intense that I was literally breathless and, as I said, I actually found myself sobbing at times. It is a story of a woman who, because of a terrible tragedy in her childhood that she believes she caused, tries to make sense of Death and, after she is struck by lightening and survives, ends up making sense of Life. It's a book I am sure I'm going to reread again, it is that good.
TheCrowdedLeaf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Ice Queen is more than a story, it¿s almost an internal extensive self-dialogue. The narrator (unnamed and it took me the whole novel to realize that) at a young age wishes her mother dead and her wish comes true. Because of this she wanders through the rest of her life half asleep, always cold, and alone. When she is struck by lightning her brother moves her to Florida where the real meat of the story starts. She makes a friend, finds a lover, and salvages a relationship with her brother. In essence, it¿s a coming of age story about a lonely woman who finds life on the other side of death. Hoffman¿s voice of this character cannot be compared, it¿s complete and true and feels 100 percent real. The novel is tense and suspenseful at times, making you feel like the other shoe is about to drop. And it¿s lonely and sad at others. We feel the Florida humidty and taste the oranges. of the two Hoffman novels I¿ve read, the other being The Third Angel, it¿s not my favorite. But it is something writers should check out as a fabulous example of how to write a solid, consistent voice of a character. And it¿s also full of lovely little ¿this is how life is¿ lines that belong in a book of quotes.
Liciasings on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alice Hoffman is a captivating author. This is a compassionate, enchanting story. Gentle, dark, sad; Touched with redemption, love, hope; full of fairy tales and tragedy, lightning strikes, struggles, healing. I like the way you think the character's thoughts and feel what she feels as she processes and grows and learns. Beautiful language and deep thoughts on life and death. Good read.
srghc8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes for this book. A friend recommended it, and I went out and bought it. I wish I hadn't wasted my time or money. It was a short book, but seemed drug out and long winded. The main character's life is changed after she is struck by lightening... sounds interesting, but it really wasn't. I found the main character to be very unlikable and some of the scenarios to be too far-fetched. The entire book was a disappointment for me.
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked how this book started out but it seemed to fall apart in the middle with all the sex ,yes I know its supposed be a metaphor for her coming alive again. Her whole relationship with Lazarus was ok but I didn¿t care about either of them and for it to work for me I have to care about the characters. You can only listen to her talk about the ice in her veins for so long before you scream Shut Up and Get Over it! Yes, your evil, your wishes come true blah blah.The ending gave our narrator (she is never named) a little reprieve but it was too little too late. Not one I¿ll be recommending.I¿m still not sure if I am a fan of Alice Hoffman I love magical realism but this one fell short for me I will try more by this author but I am hoping to find that one that makes everyone love Alice Hoffman¿s books so much.
CatheOlson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I realized about halfway through that I'd read this before but I enjoyed it the second time as well. This is about a women unable to get close to anyone--until she gets struck by lightning and has a relationship with another lightning strike survivor. Hoffman is as always a great writer and storyteller.
averitasm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Had to review this one, I loved the movie Practical Magic, and so I got this book about 3 yrs ago to read, very intense, I did like it and it should say something that after all this time I remember most of what it was about , lightning strike survivors and supernatural powers, love and finding out about yourself, I would recommend this it was a good book
readingaria on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I must admit that some parts of this book had me confused. Not as to what was going on but how the characters got from the beginning to the end. I am sure I am not explaining it well so let's try again.The Ice Queen is about a woman who made a terrible wish as a child,loses her mother and now is very cold emotionally. Then after another wish, she gets struck by lightening, though she survives. She then meets other survivors, including one man whose skin is unnaturally hot after being struck. Lazarus Jones, a man who practically burns, and the narrator, a woman of ice, soon begin an affair.The narrator, who remains unnames, does make changes in her life and she changes through out the book but something of it confused me. I felt like Hoffman was trying to say something beneath the text but I couldn't get a grasp of what it was. It was a bit frustrating in that aspect but I did enjoy the story in other regards. Hoffman does seem to be an interesting author and while I don't understand some of her writing, I am sure I will be looking up some more of her books before long.
BinnieBee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! It was very different and very, very good!
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This isn¿t the type of book I would normally enjoy. The narrator/main character is rather depressing, and I spent a good part of the book wanting to slap her and yell "get a grip, would ya?". However, her initial state just makes her transformation more compelling. And if you ask me, the key to it isn¿t Lazarus Jones ¿ it¿s her sister-in-law. Lazarus, despite his interesting story, is just another repeat in the pattern of her life.

In my opinion, this book is worth the read if only for the touching end with her brother. It was well worth the frustrating first half.
Sile on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Incoherent, dull, depressing and the nameless protagonist is unsympathetic to the point where you just don't want to hear her thoughts anymore.Although the last chapter did pick up, it was too little too late.
leperdbunny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Title: The Ice QueenAuthor: Alice HoffmanGenre: Magical Realism, Romance# of pages: 211Start date:End date:Borrowed/bought: boughtMy rating of the book, F- [worst] to A [best]: BDescription of the book: The story opens as a little girl wishes her mother dead on a snowy, ice night in New Jersey. Full of illusions to fairy tales, our heroine grows up to be a librarian who moves to Florida to be closer to her brother Ned after their Grandmother dies. Tragedy strikes again and she finds herself a lightning strike victim. She finally starts living when she seeks out Lazarus Jones, another fellow lightning strike victim.Review: I have only read one Alice Hoffman book Practical Magic. I do enjoy magical realism, and this book sated me. I had no idea it was going to feature lightning strike victims- I read about this in a Charlaine Harris series and I still find it fascinating- these tidbits about survivors was probably my favorite part of the book. Hoffman layered her characters guilt and sadness with fairy tales. Reading some Anderson or Grimm brothers will be a nice follow up to this. Overall,a nice way to spend an afternoon and with a cup of tea.
Eliz12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I like Alice Hoffman's writing, and sometimes not. This definitely falls into the latter.I didn't like the characters, didn't like the story, didn't believe all the secrets, got very tired of all the endless questioning: "Was this love?" "Could she ever really love?" "What is love, really?" - that kind of stuff. Hoffman certainly can write, but this book does not evince that.
EllenH on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thank you Meredith for suggesting this book! This a one very well written story. The narrator tells of her growth (awakening?) from a self imposed exile from feelings and people to the ice queen after being struck by lightening to a slow extarordinary reaquaintance with life and love. I'd never read Alice Hoffman before, but glad to have found yet another great storyteller.
neverlistless on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This Hoffman was a little different than the others I've read - it was much sadder, but still just as good. It starts with a young girl, angry at her mother, wishing that she never sees her again. Well, she gets her wish. It follows her into adulthood, where she becomes a person who is totally trustworthy, but never shares her own emotions or own feelings. One day, after losing her grandmother, the woman who raised her, she is struck by lightening. She seeks out a man who is reportedly came back from death after his strike - and they become involved in a passionate relationship. This book deals with a lot of loss and really touched me - I sobbed through the last 20-30 pages. This is a good one who feels up to a good cry and who wants to read about renewal and about how we all deal with tragedy.
indygo88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though I have several of Alice Hoffman's novels waiting on my shelf, this was actually the first I've read. Had I quit the book about halfway through, I probably would've rated it lower. Fortunately, the second half was more engaging & the storyline branched out in several ways that I wasn't necessarily expecting. I found the main character (unnamed in this novel) really quite unlikeable with her continual condescension and self-pity, and though she experiences somewhat of a transformation by the end of the story, she still left me unsettled. Still, the novel was redeeming in the fact that it did explore various themes, some rather hard to believe (although I think Hoffman is known for the "magical" aspects in her stories), but still quite deep & meaningful.
knittingfreak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've had this book forever and just finally got around to reading it. The book begins, "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. They bruise and bake and come back to haunt you. I've made far too many wishes in my lifetime, the first when I was eight years old."The story is told in this first-person voice throughout the book, and we never learn the narrator's name. In fact, when I got ready to post this, I had to go back and make sure that I hadn't just missed her name. I know this was a conscious decision by the author. It fits very well with the loneliness and guilt that the narrator carries. She doesn't feel that she deserves to be known because of that wish that she believes changed the course of her life.She spends her life avoiding meaningful relationships with people. The only person she believes has ever truly loved her despite her flaws is her grandmother who cares for her and her brother after her mother dies. However, when her grandmother dies many years later, the young woman is thrown into a tail spin all over again. Though they've never really been all that close, her brother convinces her to move to Florida where he and his wife are college professors. She continues to drift through her life until the unthinkable happens. She makes another wish that comes true. She is hit by lightning, which begins another strange chapter in her life. Through a lightning survivor study group at the college, she learns about Lazarus Jones, a man who is said to have died for forty minutes after his lightning strike. Having always been fascinated by death, she seeks him out hoping to learn something from him.This a short, powerful book. Like most of Hoffman's books, the reader has to be able to suspend disbelief. However, she makes it quite easy to do so. Though her premise is strange, I didn't really question anything about it. The book is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time and one I highly recommend.
Virtual_Jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hoffman is one of my favourite authors and this tale of fire and ice doesn't disappoint. The heroine is struck by lightening and her heart is frozen; she meets a man also lightening-struck who can burn things with his bare hands, and they embark upon a passionate but tragic affair.
keely_chace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick, engrossing novel with recurring fairy tale and weather-related motifs and elements of magical realism. The protagonist is a depressed librarian deeply affected by childhood tragedy, who eventually learns to feel, love and live.
bastet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For such a good writer, this was an oddly unlikeable novel. I loved the magical parts, but the narrator spent most of the time feeling sorry for herself. Not one of her best novels.
ktptcruisin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting story, but lacked "something" that Alice Hoffman's novels usually have. A quick book and easy read but not my favorite Hoffman book.
pumpernickleme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I get it. He's fire, you're ice, you're upset about your mom. I GET IT!!!I couldn't finish this one. Icky.