THE ICE HOUSE (Grove Press) Coming 12-5-17


— Publishers Weekly

Piece Of Heaven

From a writer who’s been praised for her “intelligence, heart, wit” (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls), The Ice House is the picaresque, heartrending tale of a man on the verge of losing his livelihood and of losing forever his relationship with his only son.  

Johnny MacKinnon might be on the verge of losing it all. The ice factory he married into, which he’s run for decades, is facing devastating OSHA fines following a mysterious accident and may have to close. The only hope for Johnny’s livelihood is that someone in the community saw something, but no one seems to be coming forward. He hasn’t spoken to his son Corran back in Scotland since Corran’s heroin addiction finally drove Johnny to the breaking point. And now, after a collapse on the factory floor, it appears Johnny may have a brain tumor. Johnny’s been ordered to take it easy, but in some ways, he thinks, what’s left to lose? This may be his last chance to bridge the gap with Corran—and to have any sort of relationship with the baby granddaughter he’s never met. Witty and heartbreaking by turns, The Ice House is a vibrant portrait of multifaceted, exquisitely human characters that readers will not soon forget. It firmly establishes Laura Lee Smith as a gifted voice in American fiction.


THE ICE HOUSE is a Fall 2017 Okra Pick!



Praise for THE ICE HOUSE…

“Smith weaves (the characters’) stories expertly, moving from Jacksonville to Scotland and back, from another disaster to a laugh-out-loud moment. Her tenderness toward her characters and subtle understanding of class differences in American society are reminiscent of such novelists as Richard Russo and Jennifer Egan, but this heartbreaking, heartwarming novel is an original.” — Tampa Bay Times.

“A spirited cast makes up the foundation of Smith’s delicately spun story of family, loyalty, and the difficult choices people must make when forgiving someone…Peppering the story with affecting interludes that trace the evolution of Johnny and Corran’s relationship, Smith (Heart of Palm) majestically captures the urgency of reconnecting with a loved one when time seems to be quickly slipping away. ” — Publishers Weekly.

“The Ice House is a tour de force that sweeps readers into a symphony of powerfully drawn characters, all of whom have been wounded in ways that both cripple and embolden them. This novel is an intercontinental family saga and an exploration of blue-collar life, but at its core it’s a very a good novel that asks us to consider the lengths we’ll go to in order to save the things that matter most: a company, a loved one, ourselves.” —Wiley Cash, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy.

 “The Ice House offers all the pleasures of the novel—robust characters we worry about and root for, a story that deepens and intrigues, language that charms and surprises, and even some rare and welcome humor. It does all this in a setting unusual to a novel—the world of work, in this case, a family ice making business in Florida. How does Laura Lee Smith keep that small, cold world so large and ardent hearted? The Ice House is a marvel of a novel.” —Beth Ann Fennelly, Novelist, Essayist, and Poet Laureate of Mississippi




20 thoughts on “THE ICE HOUSE (Grove Press) Coming 12-5-17

  1. This book transported me back to the area where I lived for 25 years before returning to Connecticut. Every description, from the foliage, heat, water in the Intracoastal, etc.l is spot on. I loved the Bravo family and they will be with me for a very long time. Thank you Ms. Smith for an unforgettable read. I hope this will only be the first of many books you will write. You have an amazing talent.

  2. Heart of Palm
    I love reading stories about places I have been to. I enjoyed Wendy Wax’s Florida and Dorothea Benton Frank’s Charleston. Yours did not follow their romantic bend and was so totally, frightening realistic. Your characters were intensely real and alive to the point that we could relate a little bit and see our own personality flaws in one character or another (and it wasn’t pretty). The characters were brutally honest characters that you could see into their souls and find their vulnerability. Great book! I hope you continue to write books about Florida. I especially love reading about Henry Flagler and Henry Plant and their era, and since you taught at Flagler’s college you would have a great background for writing many books.

  3. Loved the book! Until I moved to Florida two years ago, I lived in Philadelphia where, in 1950, the Society Hill neighborhood began a process called “gentrification.” To this day, older areas are still being revitalized but, of course, that means change and often displacement. In my travels south of Jacksonville Beach, I noticed cottages and trailers tucked between upscale houses, but hadn’t given any thought about how that might have happened until I read your book. Thanks for an engaging and realistic story.

    • Thanks for your comments! Yes, I know what you mean…the changes in many areas of the country are significant. Jax Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Augustine–all feeling the effects of development and change. Presents challenges for many people but also, for better or for worse, creates story opportunities. Thanks again for writing, and all best to you.

  4. Laura, I just finished your book. When we met in Thomasville, Ga at the reader n writer’s event, you asked me to let you know how I found you book. I truly loved it. The characters are so awesome, believable. What a crazy, family! I found myself recognizing a character in someone I’d known. The story that is woven through your novel is beautifully done. One complaint….it ended too soon. I’m ready for sequel.
    Thank you for this fine novel!
    Joe Ann Hinrichs.

      • Yesterday while at the beauty shop in Tallahassee, another cliente noticed your book. She said-Oh I just finished that-isn’t it wonderful!
        I explained how we met you and how impressed we were with your talents.
        We agreed we are anxious for the next book. 🙂
        Joe Ann

  5. Pingback: Secrets | Laura Lee Smith

  6. Went on vacation and brought a stash of books from the library and your book was one of them. You did a great job writing this book. I am especially impressed that it was your first book. Awesome. I loved how you explained all your characters and brought them all together. Will be looking for your next book. Keep up the good work.

  7. A wonderful book. I ask myself how much “Bravo” is visible in every family.
    Our library in Germany had this book and I love it! All the best for you!

  8. This book was amazing!!!!! I need a sequel!!! You are the type of author readers can’t get enough of….I didn’t want this book to end. I’ll be looking for many more in the future.

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