Cold Spell

Cold Spell

by Deb Vanasse


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Cold Spell by Deb Vanasse

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 them both.
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781602232426
Publisher: University of Alaska Press
Publication date: 08/15/2014
Series: University of Alaska Press - The Alaska Literary Series
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

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 cofounder of the 49 Alaska Writing Center. She lives in Eagle River, Alaska.

Table of Contents



Fracture Zone






Mass Balance













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Cold Spell 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
jlynnp79 More than 1 year ago
This story sheds light on how a parent's decisions will affect her children. Ruth is a mother, who develops an unhealthy obsession with a glacier in Alaska, and as a result, clings to her boyfriend Kenny, who takes Ruth and her children to Alaska to live alongside the glacier. Sylvie, a teenager with friends she has to leave back home, is not happy with the decision, but her younger sister, who is more willing to adapt to the new surroundings, feels the opposite. Ruth struggles with whether she has made the right decision for her kids, both having a different outlook on the situation, and whether her relationship with her boyfriend, Kenny, will stand the test of time. This book is a good read, and I can relate to the characters well, being a mother as well as a child that moved around a lot.
Melinda4 More than 1 year ago
This is an absorbing story, and the feelings of isolation—not just geographical—are palpable. Being quite obsessed with Alaska at the moment, I find the portrait of this particular rural Alaskan community very interesting, though I actually enjoyed the first half of the book more. Perhaps this is because I identified so strongly with the mother and her magazine picture.  Then, when she got to Alaska, her reaction surprised me and I found myself disconnecting a little.  But this is all part of the complexity of the characters, and Deb Vanasse did a great job at it.  I had a hard time keeping a few of the minor characters straight, since so many were introduced together, but that didn’t detract much from the story. The style is very literary, very introspective.  It’s thus a little slow, but in a good way, a deep way.  Some of the prose has the feel of poetry to it. Like much poetry, individual bits may not be clear, cloaked in metaphor and hiding things between the lines, but all together they create a cohesive whole that beautifully conveys the atmosphere and the emotions of the characters.   The ending isn’t tied up in a bow, which is realistic and literary, but I needed just a bit more closure, even if it wasn’t happy.  I want to know what was going to happen to these characters I care about, and what final decisions they’re going to make. Cold Spell was a very good read, and I look forward to more of Deb Vanasse’s work.   *I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review*