“A woman who leads a quiet life, keeping other people at a cool distance, one day utters an idle wish to be struck by lightning – and her wish is granted. Instead of killing her, this cataclysmic event marks a strange and powerful new beginning as the woman soon finds herself drawn into a passionate relationship with another survivor of a lightning strike, a mysterious neighbor who harbors dark secrets. Their affair becomes the center of a riveting story of loss, love, and redemption, a novel that reveals Alice Hoffman at the very height of her powers.”
-Synopsis from back cover
The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman is a fascinating story with both supernatural and magical realism elements. I had no idea what to expect going into it, and I couldn’t put it down the entire time I was reading.
Without revealing too much about the story, I will share a little of what happens. The main character is orphaned at a young age. She is a unique child that is very closed off from others and loves Grimm’s fairy tales, specifically the darkest ones.
I wouldn’t say she is the most likable character until later in the story when she is older and living with her brother in Florida which is when the story really picks up. While in Florida, as the synopsis mentions, she is struck by lighting. Her life is forever changed both physically and spiritually.
“It was the oddest thing. It was as though I were a cloud instead of a human being. I could feel the charged atoms in the air…While I was getting into bed there was a lightning strike nearly five miles away. The strike split a pine tree in two and started a fire that burned several houses down to ash. It was summer lightning, the kind that appears without thunder, without a sign. But I didn’t need anyone to tell me about it. It was the one thing I could feel deep inside.”from The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
She meets other people who have been struck by lightning and discovers an entire community of misfits just like her who have been impacted by something entirely out of their control which has forever changed their lives.
“What’s the difference between lightning and magic? is a joke common among meteorologists. Magic makes sense. Lightning does not, even to the experts.”from The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
I don’t want to reveal too much more about the story because I think the fact that I knew so little going into it is what made it so enjoyable. I was so moved by the main character’s evolution and those of the people she meets and develops relationships with. I also thought the relationship with her brother was very sweet, especially towards the end.
I know that I will never look at lightning the same way after reading this book. I can’t wait to read more of Alice Hoffman’s books this year.