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The Ice Queen


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Alice Hoffman at her electrifying best, in a dark, compelling and magical novel about grief, addictive passion and second chances!

About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the bestselling author of many successful novels and screenplays, including Here on Earth (Oprah Book Club Choice in 1998), Illumination Nights, Turtle Moon, Practical Magic (made into a major film starring Sandra Bullock, Aidan Quinn and Nicole Kidman), Local Girls, The River King (also filming now), Blue Diary, The Probable Future and Blackbird House. She lives in Massachusetts.


When she is struck by lightning, the ice queen (a small-town librarian, ahem) finds her life transformed. With a national tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-At the age of eight, the narrator learns the power of a spoken wish. Angry at her mother, she wishes never to see her again. When the woman dies in a car accident, the child resolves to be quiet and imagines her own fairy tale: a girl turns to ice and her heart becomes hard and unbreakable. As an adult, she becomes a reference librarian and an expert in death and ways of dying. Indifferent and unfeeling, she is unable to have meaningful relationships. She allows her brother to move her to Florida, where another wish is fulfilled: she is struck by lightning. Her hair falls out, she limps, she loses the ability to see the color red, and her heart freezes. Enrolled in a study of lightning victims, she learns about a local recluse who was dead for 40 minutes, then walked away. The nameless woman seeks him out; she wants to know what her mother experienced at the moment of death. They begin a passionate love affair. As opposites (she is ice, he is fire), the only way they can touch is in water. Hoffman incorporates elements of fairy tales ("The Snow Queen," "Beauty and the Beast"), chaos theory, and magic realism. Although the story borders on the trite and the dual imagery (fire/ice, heat/cold, red/colorless) is sometimes overdone, the narration is powerful and the ending is satisfying if a bit predictable. Hoffman's fans will find much that is familiar and appealing.-Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"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) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Alice Hoffman is erotic and romantic, funny and clever and humane" The Times "Alice Hoffman is a daring and able writer; she plots conjunctions of mundane and magical events with such ease that the reader never doubts her word" New Yorker "Like her contemporaries, Carol Shields and Alice Munro, Hoffman has an acute eye for detail - Hoffman writes with heartbreaking clarity" The Times "[Hoffman] does it beautifully, composing a lyrical tale that does not waster a single word, a shamelessly heart-breaking story that will leave barely a dry eye in the house" -- Lesley McDowell Independent on Sunday "Enchanting" Sunday Times

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