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REVIEW: Thin Ice by Liana Laverentz

Dear Ms. Laverentz,
Recently I read one of Jane’s reviews of a sports themed novel (using football instead of hockey). You use the world of the NHL as the background for your hero, Eric Cameron. I’ll be honest and admit that I know just enough about hockey and medicine, the background of the heroine Dr. Emily Jordan, to be dangerous. But I do know a lot about romance novels so I will have something knowledgeable to say in this letter.

Let me start off by saying there are a lot of issues going on here. Emily’s hectic life as a trauma doctor in the ER, Eric’s career as a high profile pro hockey player, Emily’s single motherhood and relationship with her 8 year old son, Robbie. Eric’s past as a brawler and loner. Emily’s past as an abused wife following her upbringing in a house ruled by her tyrannical father. Eric’s rough childhood with his single mom and his terrible first marriage with a gold-digging ho. And that’s all before Emily and Eric even meet and then have to work out their own relationship in this minefield of their pasts.

You handle all these fairly well. Some are more superficially relayed than others but I can tell you put a lot of time into researching all this and trying to make it realistic. However…I think there’s just too much stuff in this one book. Too many Traumatic Pasts, too many areas for misunderstandings – even if you do resolve a lot of these without letting them drag on past a few pages. There are just so many problems that have to be examined, dealt with and resolved for everyone to reach their HEA. By the end of the book, I was dragging and just wishing to finally get Eric and Emily together once and for all. I also felt they headed into marriage without discussing a lot of important issues such as the fate of the Saints and Eric’s playing career.

As for getting them together, it seems as if each 100 pages of the book would start with them warily eyeing each other, trying to work on a relationship, then something happens, and Emily pulls back leaving a bewildered Eric floundering as he tries to figure out where he went wrong. Rinse, repeat and start again. I got tired of Emily turning him away over and over. Eric has the patience of a saint – no pun on his team name intended – and is willing to try again a few more times than I believe any man would, even if he is fascinated by brainy women. He’s sweet, kind, loving, gentle, willing to give talks at schools, help out single mothers, drum up support for charities and is probably working on world peace in his spare time between hockey games. The man is simply too good to be true. But I did like how he shows his feelings for Emily by having her car repaired.

Emily is shown to be realistically dealing with being a single mom and a busy doctor. You do mention her grueling schedule, lack of sleep and having to be called back in to deal with an overflowing ER. I laughed my ass off at her comments about the bar brawlers. But actually, I think you did well in choosing her specialty since ER doctors don’t have rounds to make or regular patients to see. Thus she can schedule things to do and people to see during her off hours. I got frustrated with her apparent caving into her ex-husband’s demands not to see Eric even as she gives her battered ex-mother-in-law advice about fleeing her abusive marriage. But at least by the end of the book, Emily is standing on her own two feet and no longer cowed by Ryan.

At one point around midway in the story, I was wondering if we’d ever see Eric on the ice and as a hockey player. It took awhile but we finally got there. While the details might not be enough for a true hockey fanatic, they were good enough for someone who barely follows the sport. I think Eric’s – ahem – enthusiasm for mixing it up on the ice provides another realistic conflict in his relationship with Emily. But I don’t think that placing his team in the same city with another pro hockey team would get past hockey fans nor the outcome for the team after the season ends.

There’s a lot to like in this book, a lot that works. But there are enough problems I had and bookmarks I made while reading it to keep the overall grade at a C. For me, it would have worked better without quite so many issues to resolved. Oh, and maybe without the slightly sappy epilogue.

~Jayne

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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

10 Comments

  1. Ciar Cullen
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 08:27:51

    Huh. I really loved this book. There may be flaws, but I was able to ignore them, and just get into it. Maybe it was just my mood that day, or I was sick to death of urban whatnots and darklings. I found it a refreshing, straight-up contemporary. I found the boy a hair saccharin at times, but all in all, I would give this book two thumbs way up.

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  2. Jayne
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 09:26:01

    Yes, it is free from SEALs, bodyguards, secret government agencies….

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  3. Liana Laverentz
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 16:47:38

    Dear Jayne,

    You’re right. It was a lot to handle in one book. Regarding the abuse issues in particular, I’d hoped to convey that abuse comes in many forms, (as well as spans all social and economic stratas), and hopefully the different characters who had experienced it showed different aspects of the issue.

    I’m glad you liked Emily’s choice of profession. I made her an ER doctor for that very reason. She wants to help, wants to heal, but doesn’t want to get close to anyone or involved with her patients. In her own way, she’s a loner, too.

    A lot of research did go into the book, especially regarding the NHL, which kept reorganizing on me, unruly thing, so I had to draw the line somewhere. (It’s too long-winded to go into here, but for more info on my research, readers can check out my interview at at Much Cheaper Than Therapy at http://muchcheaperthantherapy.blogspot.com/2008/03/interview-with-eppie-winner-liana.html)

    I probably have enough information to fill another book with all I learned about hockey during my research, but I finally had to stop and say, listen, Liana, this is a romance, not a book about hockey, so what details pertain to the story and what will you have to leave out?

    A lot, as it turned out (and some of my favorite research facts, too), but I hoped I kept it real enough to satisfy most readers, and not turn off the readers who were there for the romance and not the hockey. I didn’t really expect true hockey fans to be totally satisfied :) They would indeed know what I left out–and what I took literary license with :)

    As for Eric being too good to be true…he was, and is. And I love him for it. All I did was set out to create my ideal hero. Thank you for calling him sweet, kind, loving and gentle.

    In closing, I thank you for your kind comments regarding what you liked, and thanks most of all for calling Eric’s ex a gold-digging ho. I really enjoyed reading that :). (Glad to see someone else got her number, even if Eric didn’t until the end.) I appreciate your reading Thin Ice all the way to the end, despite your frustrations with it.

    Happy Reading!

    Liana Laverentz
    Thin Ice (NJRW Golden Leaf and EPPIE Award Winner)
    Jake’s Return
    Available in e-book, print, and on Kindle
    Ashton’s Secret (coming in 2008)
    http://www.thewildrosepress.com
    http://www.lianalaverentz.com
    http://www.myspace.com/authorlianalaverentz

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  4. Jayne
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 17:04:11

    As I said, there’s a lot to like in this book and Ciar enjoyed it! I appreciate that you included the spousal abuse aspect since I think a lot of people forget it’s a problem no matter what your salary. I could also see Eric initially falling for the ho. He was young, on his own, looking for a family and a hot babe is interested in him. Or so he thought. Thanks for stopping by and lending your insight into how you created “Thin Ice.”

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  5. Liana Laverentz
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 17:33:25

    My pleasure. Thanks again :)

    Liana Laverentz
    http://www.lianalaverentz.com

    ReplyReply

  6. Charlotte Chalmers
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 05:43:26

    Dear Jayne

    I read this book and couldn’t rest withouth passing a comment. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, Eric seems to be a too-good-to-be-true guy, yet even so, Emily can’t bring herself to trust him, because of her past. In a way, Emily is flawed, thus we can relate to her. Eric, too. He may not have apparent flaws, but he feels he has. He’s a wounded hero, and a fallen hero in his own eyes, but he’s in love with Emily and determined to prove himself. I adored him for that.

    Romantically and technically Thin Ice is a keeper for me. I was, and remain, in awe of Ms Laverentz’s seamless POV switches and look forwad to her third novel, Ashton’s Secret, which is hopefully coming soon.

    Many thanks for the opportunity to air my views.

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  7. Jayne
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 06:27:15

    Charlotte, you are always more than welcome to comment on any of our reviews or posts. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Jill A
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 10:35:39

    Ooh, finally a romance with a hockey player! I think I will check this out. I’m not big on contemporaries usually but this sounds interesting.

    Though most cities don’t have two NHL teams NYC does, so it is feasible if it’s a (very) big city. Is the other team NHL as well? Many cities have lower-league pro hockey teams (like the AHL).

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  9. Bernita
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 10:57:33

    Jill A, then you might like a romantic suspense “Bad Ice” by Sandra Cormier. Don’t remember who publishes it at the moment.

    ReplyReply

  10. Jayne
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 12:12:19

    Jill, the other team is one that really exists: The Minnesota Wild.

    ReplyReply

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