Book Review for “The Color of Ice” by Barbara Linn Probst.
Summary: “Cathryn McAllister, a freelance photographer, travels to Iceland for a photo shoot with an enigmatic artist who wants to capture the country’s iconic blue icebergs in glass. Her plan is to head out, when the job is done, on a carefully curated “best of Iceland” solo vacation. Widowed young, Cathryn has raised two children while achieving professional success. If the price of that efficiency has been the dimming of her fire–well, she hasn’t let herself think about it. Until now. Bit by bit, Cathryn abandons her itinerary to remain with Mack, the glassblower, who awakens a hunger for all the things she’s told herself she doesn’t need anymore. Passion. Vulnerability. Risk. Cathryn finds herself torn between the life–and self–she’s come to know and the new world Mack offers. Commitments await her back in America. But if she walks away, she’ll lose this chance to feel deeply again. Just when her path seems clear, she’s faced with a shocking discovery–and a devastating choice that shows her what love really is.“
Age: Adult; Genres: Literary, Women, Fiction; Settings: Contemporary; Iceland, and New York; Other Categories: Novel, Coming-of-Age, Art, Romance.
First of all, once again, I have to praise Ms. Probst for the absolutely beautiful cover art on this book. I think it is just stunning, and it shows that Indie and small presses can put out books no less beautiful than the Big 4/5. But we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, are we? HA! You know very well that we do, so let’s not fool ourselves. However, that isn’t why I decided to read this book. This is one of those novels where the author contacted me directly because I read and reviewed her first two novels (and she participated in my Countdown Questions alternative, author interviews). So, when she offered this third novel, I was more than happy to agree (despite having a VERY full reading list, with another book due out today which I’ll just have to delay reviewing).
So, how does this book compare with her two other novels? Well, I think there are a few themes in Probst’s novels. One being: adult women coming-of-age. Probst likes her female protagonists to be middle-aged – in their 30s to late 40s – and that’s fine. Sadly, Probst also seems to put her women into unhealthy and/or less than happy relationships, including woman who don’t realize they have problems with their husbands. In this case, Cathryn’s husband was killed in a car accident, which happened the same night she found out he had been cheating on her. Talk about your mixed emotions here! Obviously, these are the types of things that create conflict, without which you have no tension, which would make for a very boring story. Probst also likes to have her woman at some type of crossroads of their careers, and there’s usually a man around who plays an essential part in their ability to discover who they really are, and how they want to proceed onward, from that point. In this case, it is Mack, the glassblower, and she’s come to Iceland to take pictures of him for publicity.
Now, my regular readers know that I’m a bit of a prude when it comes to sex in novels, and that I’m really not into romance at all. However, I can take some level of a romantic interest in a protagonist, as long as they don’t act like their whole world depends on a man. In this book, I think Probst put a bit too much emphasis on Cathryn’s physical and emotional attraction to Mack for my taste. I also felt that these interludes regarding Mack slowed down the pace of this book somewhat, so that we got passages of introspection that almost bordered on angst. Still, Probst was able to balance that partially with getting into Cathryn’s head about her own life prior to her meeting Mack.
Probst also tells us that before Cathryn started doing freelance photography to earn money after her husband died, she was an artistic photographer working on a project she hoped to exhibit. It seems to me that, even though Cathryn had put her artistic photography on hold, she would still have had her camera with her at all times, and every time she was without it, I was puzzled. When someone has that type of passion – and I’ve known many photographers (one who even has a photograph hanging in the Art Institute in Chicago) – they’re never without their camera! Here she was in Iceland, of all places, so why would there be times when she only had her phone camera at her disposal? That didn’t sit right with me at all.
I should mention that Probst came through with some truly beautiful, descriptive prose here, and some of the places she describes made me really want to visit Iceland, so that’s a plus. I also have to commend Probst for her excellent research into glassblowing, which rang true (and yes, I have seen some of “Blown Away” on Netflix). In addition, once again, Probst throws a wrench (or two… or three) into the works close to the end of the novel, which cause Cathryn to have a few epiphanies, which lead to a very satisfactory conclusion. All this means is that while I really enjoyed this book, and I am warmly recommending it, it isn’t my favorite of her books, but it is still very good. For all this, I think this novel deserves four out of five stars.
She Writes Press released “The Color of Ice” by Barbara Linn Probst on October 18, 2022. This book is available (via the following affiliate links) from Amazon, Blackwell’s, Foyles, The Book Depository UK and Book Depository US (both with free worldwide delivery), Waterstones, WHSmith, Wordery UK and Wordery US, Kobo US (eBooks and audiobooks), Booksamillion.com, iTunes (iBooks and audiobooks), new or used from Alibris, used from Better World Books (promoting libraries and world literary), as well as from as well as from Bookshop.org and UK.Bookshop (to support independent bookshops, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) or an IndieBound store near you. I would like to thank the author for sending me an ARC of this novel.
This novel qualifies for the following reading challenges: New Release Challenge (#48).