Ice Out: A Novel
by Susan Speranza
She Writes Press

"Though her eyes were closed, images rose like unwanted specters, creating a kaleidoscope of the past which crowded her, taunted her."

Francesca Bellini's life has an upward curve in which everything is made magical by her love of music and her virtuoso flute. When she meets her future husband, architecture student Ben Bodin, she becomes aware of his deep pain and the darkness in his life surrounding the death of his twin sister, Lucy. Ben is as passionate about making a life with Francesca as he is about his love of the land his parents have gifted the couple in Vermont. She is initially reluctant to leave her fulfilling life on Long Island, but on their first trip to the mountains, "as they glide through the trees, the moon guiding their way, she senses she has found something beautiful, something rare."

Ben's love of his world opens up to her. It is perfection, as is their union, which soon yields a beloved daughter, Addie. Even Francesca's hardworking restaurateur parents take breaks to visit and bond with the Bodin family. Francesca knows she has found true happiness. But within the blink of an eye, that perfect life vanishes just as the fleeting moment years before snuffed out Lucy's vibrant existence.

Speranza has crafted a haunting tale. The author combines the depth of a novel-length work with the poetic punch of a literary short story as she moves seamlessly between realist and magical realist tropes as well as the devices of flashback and flash forward as the protagonist's mind darts hither and yon after a snowmobile accident that leaves her helpless in freezing water. The prose mesmerizes in a deliciously long, slow ascent as Francesca struggles with her imagery of past, present, and future to perceive what has happened to her family and why her husband cannot rescue her.

A 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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