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REVIEW: Fire and Ice by Julie Garwood

Dear Ms. Garwood

034550075x01lzzzzzzzThe lure of the 100% micropay rebate at Fictionwise was too great for me to overcome despite the fact my last few encounters with your books have not ended well. I’m happy to say that Fire and Ice is an improvement over recent publications but it doesn’t reach the level of the Garwood keeper shelf. At the hardcover price, I’d be hardpressed to recommend this as anything but a library read for many romance readers. For a hardcover Garwood fan, though, you have to ask yourself if reading an okay Garwood is better than reading 3 to 4 new authors.

Sophie Rose is the daughter of a notorious suspected criminal in the city of Chicago. Her father, Bobby Rose, is like a modern day Robin Hood. He steals money from corrupt businessmen and gives it back to the victims (and keeps some for himself). Sophie works for a small independent newspaper publisher because it was the only one whose editor promised not to ask Sophie to write about her father. Sophie, herself, has taken to cutting off most contact with her father, refusing funds from him and trying to live within her own earned means. It’s not easy. Sophie has enjoyed the good life full of Dolce & Gabbanna, luxurious accommodations, and meals.

Sophie is sent on a crap assignment (much like all of her assignments are) to cover one William Emmet Harrington, a wealthy self absorbed individual, who is running his twenty-fifth marathon. During their interview William reveals that after the race, he’ll be partaking in a secret project that only the fittest are selected for. William never finishes the race and Sophie ends up with a phone call from someone in Alaska informing her that William was eaten by a Polar Bear and her card was in his sock.

Chicago is heating up for Sophie as her father is being accused of stealing a pension fund and so she decides, with the approval of her editor, to head to Alaska to investigate William’s death. Because she is much beloved by everyone but the villains, an FBI agent is enlisted to go with her, as a favor to Sophie’s protectors. Sophie’s groupies include a retired former policeman who spends hours at a time checking her apartment and work place for bugs and expects no renumeration; Sophie’s friend’s very rich brother, Aiden, who set himself up as Sophie’s guardian while her father was on the lam when Sophie was 13; and assorted other police, FBI, and other such individuals. No Garwood story is truly a Garwood without the innocent, but passionate, kind hearted, giving heroine who everyone loves.

There is plenty of good humor in the story, particularly the exchanges between Sophie and Jack, the FBI agent chosen to protect her and partner of the FBI husband of one of Sophie’s friends.

"Stop looking at me like that."
"How am I looking at you?" Jack asked.
"Like you think I’m an idiot."
"Then I nailed it. Good."

Jack is very inscrutable, both in the book to Sophie, but also to the reader. You get very few scenes from Jack’s point of view. Jack is efficient, fairly unemotional, and likes the ladies. At some point in the book, I think after they have sex for the first time, Jack decides that he only likes one lady. But how that came about and why is something the reader has to fill in for herself.

While this story has a romance between Jack and Sophie, I am hardpressed to call it a romance because it doesn’t focus on the emotional journey between Jack and Sophie, but rather the story of William Herrington’s death and how that might be connected to a study of wolves in Alaska. There is a major plot point that is left hanging at the end, either intentionally or because you weren’t quite sure where to go with it, but in an effort for realism, I thought it should have been addressed. The mystery was fairly easy to figure out although who the principal "wrongdoer" was well hidden.

Most of the characters are recognizable as standard Garwood players. There’s nothing revelatory in this book, but if readers are looking for a familiar comfort read, Fire and Ice would fit the bill. C.

Best regards


This book can be purchased in hardcover from Amazon or ebook format.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Tabitha C
    Jan 02, 2009 @ 15:44:44

    Thank you for the review. I’m a big fan of Garwood and collects all her books. I debated buying this book in hardback but now I think I will wait for the paperback copy.

  2. joanne
    Jan 02, 2009 @ 16:34:07

    Because of the hardcover price I put this on– and then took it off — my ‘to buy’ list several times but now I’ll give in and buy it.

    I can tell that it’s not going to be a keeper but a heroine that’s likeable is becoming harder and harder to find and I like a comfortable read every once in a while.

  3. Meljean
    Jan 02, 2009 @ 16:58:27

    “William was eaten by a Polar Bear”

    I haven’t read Garwood since the move to suspense, but that plot point has pretty much convinced me to get this (when it is out in paperback).

  4. mia madwyn
    Jan 02, 2009 @ 17:11:54

    Sophie works for a small independent newspaper publisher because it was the only one whose editor promised not to ask Sophie to write about her father.

    Wow, you practically lost me at hello. NO legitimate newspaper publisher would have a reporter writing about their own father. Talk about conflict of interest. (Or am I missing something in translation?) With this as part of the premise, I’m not at all inclined to read the book.

  5. Jane
    Jan 02, 2009 @ 17:48:20

    I had to check the book but yes she left her last job bc she was hassled to write or talk about her father and her new editor did not. It is not a huge portion or feature of the bokk though.

  6. Tee
    Jan 02, 2009 @ 20:21:17

    I think this is finally the book that will stop me from reading more contemporaries by Julie Garwood. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to the end–it morphed into a DNF for me and I was happy to let it go. The story was uninteresting, as well as the characters. I don’t think any mention was made of the writing itself, which I found quite choppy. Very sad.

  7. Alisha Rai
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 10:34:53

    “Because she is much beloved by everyone but the villains,”


    I read this last night, and skipped all of those pesky journal entries and skimmed some of the other villian stuff, so it was a quick read. I’m wondering why her heroines no longer appeal to me quite so much. Perhaps its the move to contemporary? I can still pick up Saving Grace and get lost in it. Sigh. Since her styles are so radically different (even the writing itself is less flowing, more choppy) I feel like Garwood should have used a pseudonym for her contemps. Maybe then we wouldn’t compare quite so much.

    I agree, nice comfort read, but not the keepers that her original ones were. I’m kind of looking forward to Aiden/third girl everyone loves to pieces and is sweet and innocent and good to puppies ‘s story. But I love young girl/friends hot older brother stories :).

  8. Sabrina
    Jan 05, 2009 @ 02:31:07

    I debated back and forth about buying this book, because of the last ones..both contemp and the last historical having lost the magic. But curiosity won, and it killed the cat. This will be the last book I will buy from Ms Garwood. I normally don’t care about whether things in books are accurate because after all it is fiction. BUT living in Alaska, there were a couple things that were inaccurate that bugged me however that might be because I am disappointed and sad that I must finally give up on an author that my mom and I bonded over–the historical romances from so many years ago that held the magic. The magic is gone and so is my money on buying anymore of her books…….
    If you haven’t read any of her historicals, then you’ll be fine with this comfort read but if you are a regular of her books then you will probably feel the same way. Not saying it’s a bad book just did not hold up to the expectations I have of her writing…or the crossing of the fingers and wishing of her writing skills to come back to what they once were.

  9. Catherine
    Jan 05, 2009 @ 08:59:27

    BUT living in Alaska, there were a couple things that were inaccurate that bugged me

    Sabrina, I had that problem too! I try to stay away from books that are set in Alaska, but sometimes I ignore myself and buy them anyway. It never turns out well and I always end up getting pissed off. I always end up yelling at the book about things that bother me. It always feels like Alaska is another universe compared to the rest of the United States. Ugh. Pet peeves, so irritating…

  10. Debbie
    Jan 05, 2009 @ 23:50:57

    I’m glad I saw this review. I loved Julie Garwood but I haven’t cared for any of her recent contemporary books. I wish she would return to her historical romances which I found much more interesting. I have this on request from my library but won’t bother buying it.

  11. Sabrina
    Jan 06, 2009 @ 23:24:16

    Alaska is another universe compared to the rest of the United States. Ugh. Pet peeves, so irritating…

    LOL..totally agree, glad I am not the only one that feels this way! One author that did justice on Alaska was NR. The rest just irritate me. Like I said, last one I will read of hers.

  12. louise Miller
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 16:44:45

    I miss the wonderful Julie Garwood historical romances . I have most of them and when nothing else interests me I reread them and I still laugh at the funny and endearing parts. Please Julie, start writing historical romances which kept your fans reading long into the night. I couldn’t put down your books until I finished it.

  13. Diane Lehrkind
    Jan 25, 2009 @ 13:02:02

    Why would changing historical to contemporary make Julie Garwood’s stories mediocre?
    What happened. Her humor, wit, character development are all gone. I miss her
    story-telling talent. I don’t care whether the characters are old-world, or present-day.
    I wish her a speedy recovery……buying these last 7 or so books is a waste of money
    and Time.

    P.S. Wasn’t Fire and Ice the title of a Nora Roberts book?????

  14. Arletta
    Mar 08, 2009 @ 08:18:50

    I liked the early Buchanan books (ok the first two) but it’s really the last one that bugged me: you are a reporter, you give a guy your card in Chicago, he puts it in his sock, he made a huge fuss about the race but then disappears off the planet, his body parts are found in Alaska with the card in the same sock, you identify him by the card in the sock BUT you don’t question how he went from heading to the registration desk to being mauled in Alaska! in the same clothes! and a guy told you he left for Europe (a guy you should be able to identify by the way) How could you not put down the phone immediately and call your FBI friends to investigate! so I didn’t get past her doing her research on the locale no less and going to bed.Julie Garwood do a write over, give your characters some logical reasoning capabilities and maybe then I’ll finish the book.

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