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The Ice Queen [Hardcover]

Alice Hoffman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Hardcover 11.83  
Hardcover, 4 April 2005 --  
Paperback 6.39  
Audio, CD, Audiobook 10.81  

Book Description

4 April 2005
An electrifying novel about a woman struck by lightning, which brings together, as only Hoffman can, the fabulous and the real, chaos theory and the irrational everyday moment, in a compelling, haunting and sexy novel, with a sharp edge. As in a fairy tale (and the echo in the title is not accidental), the story starts with a little girl who makes a wish one snowy night and ruins her life. Her mother is killed on an icy road. Be careful what you wish for. Later, as a smalltown librarian who knows more than is good for her about ways of death, she lives a quiet life without excitement. One day, standing by her kitchen window, she is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into beginning - if only she knew what she was supposed to do with this second chance. She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead for forty minutes, but 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. The Ice Queen is a haunting story of passion, loss, and the secrets that come to define us, if we're not careful.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company (4 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316058599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316058599
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,999,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Alice Hoffman at her electrifying best, in a dark, compelling and magical novel about grief, addictive passion and second chances. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'fairy tale' for our times 22 Sep 2006
This is the first Alice Hoffman novel I have read, having chosen it at random at the Airport. It gripped me from the first page. It describes a journey from childhood thoughtlessness to extreme loneliness and isolation as an adult. It creates a character we can believe (and sometimes empathise with). To survive, she denies all feelings towards both her fellow man and animals. But in the end she is 'rescued' through helping another - and through learning that love "changed your whole world. Even when you didn't want it to." This book is great. Read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, realistic, compelling 22 Jun 2007
This story starts with an unlikely premise : a woman whose heart has been turned into ice. She can't feel anything ; empathy is a closed book.She's been like this since the night in her childhood when her mother died ; she functions, in a manner of speaking, holds down a job, is an acceptable citizen. Yet something is missing. Along comes unlikely premise number two : this woman gets struck by lightning and becomes humanized, starts to feel again, even to the extent of falling in love with, who else ? another survivor of a lightning-strike.

In hands less skilled and magical than Hoffman's, all this could soon become preposterous. But with Hoffman, it doesn't. Fairy tale intertwines with realism ; terror and anguish get all mixed up with beauty. I really cared about these people, couldn't put the book down.

I've yet to read a disappointing Alice Hoffman. May I recommend some of her novels ostensibly for "younger readers", namely "Aquamarine," "Indigo" and "Green Angel" ? I'm off now to order some more Hoffman titles, to make my summer a special thing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars poor style 21 May 2011
I feel I must've read a different book from most of the reviewers here. Got about 30 pages in and gave up. Being a fervent fan of fairy tales and modern reinterpretations by the likes of Angela Carter, I was hoping for a subtler affair than this leaden, endlessly signposted 'metaphorical' tale. The style sits awkwardly between magical realism and naturalism, but the main issue is the lack of dramatisation. The author frequently states the obvious, narrating the character's state of mind until all tension and interest drains away. Phrases such as 'I couldn't articulate the pain; it was the pain of nothingness', 'I was trapped behind glass, cold, empty, dead inside' 'I'd been ruined long ago. I didn't deserve to be happy' are heaped up in quick succession, leaving nothing to the reader's imagination. Has this writer never heard of 'show don't tell'?? V disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is the first book by Alice Hoffman that I have read. Perhaps I was drawn to it because I have always enjoyed fairy-tales, and this seemed to be one for adults; maybe I was drawn to it because, after a failed love affair, I wanted to try and discover something about that elusive element in my life. Having now finished the book, I remain touched by it.

The story is about a young girl, the narrator, who makes a wish one winter night when she is angry at her mother. That wish, she feels, is the reason why her mother suffers a tragic accident and dies. She is the Ice Queen - she has a splinter of ice in her heart; death becomes an interest, bordering on obsession. Then, one day, this Ice Queen is standing by her window when she is struck by lightening. She is not killed but suffers side effects - her left side is paralysed and she loses the ability to see the colour red. But it is this experience which brings her into contact with another survivor, Lazarus Jones, a man who is her opposite; instead of ice he seems to be amde if fire. They meet and start a passionate love affair - an affair which has to be conducted carefully, else he burn her. But as their relationship develops, she discovers that just as she has her secrets, so too does Lazarus. The question behind the story is, do these secrets define them, or are people more than just the secrets they possess?

I think because of the very nature of this book, it is not surprising that it is not full of laughs out loud - there are moments which are deeply painful to read. However, there are moments in the book which reach out and touch your heart. The reason why I think it has stayed with me, and probably shall for a while, is that Hoffman's writing is very powerful.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 26 Oct 2006
I agree totally with the first review. Funnily enough I too picked this up whilst travelling and I read it, cover to cover, incredibly quickly.

It's a magical book. Wonderful. Heartwarming. Readable.

It was my first Alice Hoffman, but I may well be searching her out again.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For fantasy lovers and all the rest ;) 2 Jun 2006
A wonderful mixture of fantasy and reality, where possible meets impossible. A heart-warming story about love and passion with a surprising ending. Probably the best of mrs. Hoffman so far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a find... 27 Mar 2007
I LOVED this book. It grabbed my attention so fully that I got stuck reading it in the bath for 2 hours! Seriously I just had to find out what happened at the end, and was sobbing mess by the time I'd finished. It made me cry both with saddness, empathy and joy..... Sigh!

This was my first dip in to Alice Hoffmans world, and I instantly became hooked, what an author! Her ability to create characters that you genuinely care about is rare, and the magical atmosphere she creates that builds as you read on grips you more and more! If you enjoy bieng totally immersed in a book then I wholly recommend this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable Adult Fairy tale
A quirky adult fairy tale telling the story of two characters with opposite problems who are both struck by lightning. Read more
Published 14 months ago by B. Robinson
3.0 out of 5 stars A little confused
I really can't make up my mind with this book. I thought the writing was really good. So much do I couldn't put it down sometimes. But the thread of the story disappointed me.
Published 16 months ago by Scouser7
2.0 out of 5 stars Strange Ethereal Story full of wimsical musings.
I read the reviews for this book and couldn't wait to read it. I had just finished a really good series and was at a loss what to read next so anticipated The Ice Queen would fill... Read more
Published on 7 Aug 2011 by ScarlettWebb
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully lyrical, dark and fantastical read
It was the cover that drew me to this book, and I'm so glad it did. From the very first page I was hooked in my Hoffman's eloquent style and story-telling ability. Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2010 by DAK
4.0 out of 5 stars A fairy tale
I am a big fan of Alice Hoffman's books. I have read almost every one of them.
I really liked "The Ice Queen", but it is not my favourite by her. Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2009 by Ingrid
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope in HeartBreak
With "The Ice Queen" I felt I got my money's worth because of three main aspects: stunning imagery, not a wasted word & an original story. Read more
Published on 1 Aug 2009 by Sara
5.0 out of 5 stars "Be careful what you wish for" ...
... so starts this unputdownable book. A quirky modern fairy tale taking its inspiration from the Brothers Grimm. Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2008 by Annabel Gaskell
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical and haunting modern fairytale
This is a captivating modern fairytale about one woman's journey through tragedy and pain, towards truth, freedom and happiness. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2008 by Miss E. Potten
5.0 out of 5 stars MAGIC AND MYSTICISM
Remember childhood superstitions? "Step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back." So, as youngsters we did all we could do to avoid those sidewalk cracks. Read more
Published on 8 July 2007 by Gail Cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars Adult fairy Tale
An electrifying novel about a woman struck by lightning, who meets a man who died and was resurrected. Read more
Published on 26 Feb 2007 by kehs
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