With precise and evocative prose, Cold Spell tells the
story of a mother who risks everything to start over
and a daughter whose longings threaten to undo
From the moment Ruth Sanders rips a glossy
photo of a glacier from a magazine, she believes
her fate is intertwined with the ice. Her unsettling
fascination bewilders her daughter, sixteen-year-old
Sylvie, still shaken by her father’s leaving. When
Ruth uproots Sylvie and her sister from their small
Midwestern town to follow her growing obsession—
and a man—to Alaska, they soon find themselves
entangled with an unfamiliar wilderness, a divided
community, and one another. As passions cross
and braid, the bond between mother and daughter
threatens to erode from the pressures of icy
compulsion and exposed secrets.
Inspired by her own experience arriving by bush plane
to live on the Alaska tundra, Deb Vanasse vividly
captures the reality of life in Alaska and the emotional
impact of loving a remote and unforgiving land.
Deb Vanasse is the author of more than a dozen
books, most recently No Returns and Black Wolf of
the Glacier, the latter also from University of Alaska
Press. She is co-founder of the 49 Alaska Writing
Center. She lives in Eagle River, Alaska.
Cold Spell will catch you in its icy grip as Vanasse
deftly reveals the cracks and fissures of a frozen
heart. A love story, a coming-of-age tale, and glimpse
into a rarely seen slice of Alaska, the story reminds us
that a life without dreams and without love might not
be living at all.
—Don Rearden, author of The Raven's Gift
Alaskan writer Vanasse’s novel captures the harsh beauty of the terrain as well as the strain of self-doubt and complicated family bonds.
Voiced alternately between daughter and mother, Cold Spell is a beautifully written work detailing what happens when life throws the two a curve, and how each deals with the aftermath. Author Deb Vanasse has called Alaska home for thirty-six years, and it’s evident that she cares for her adopted land and its denizens very much.
Complicated family and community dynamics, death, teenage drama, and the pressures of living a subsistence lifestyle in a tiny isolated town add tension and depth. . . . [I]t certainly will give readers much to ponder.