Excerpt from The Ice Child by Elizabeth McGregor, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Ice Child

by Elizabeth McGregor

The Ice Child by Elizabeth McGregor
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2001, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2002, 448 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


She could feel the wreck underneath her, on the seabed below.

It smelled, even now, even after lying under the ice for a hundred and sixty years, like man. The wooden and iron bulk had left its insoluble human mark--this sense of unrightness, a kind of dislocation in the frequencies. The echo touched the animal above. She paused, balanced on her hindquarters, swaying, seven feet high at the shoulder, her immense forepaws extended in front of her.

Then she dropped down to all fours, and turned.

She turned back toward the cub, scenting--rather than seeing--him in the blizzard. As she drew level with him, she dropped to the ground and wound her body around him, pushing him gently into her shoulder, until she felt his faint warm breath against her.

Chapter 1

It had begun in April, in the spring.

Easter Saturday was sunny, the first warm day of the year. All through Victoria Park the cherry trees were in flower, and the hornbeam were coming into leaf, and there was that first iridescent promise of summer showing in the dusty haze of the city.

When she thought about it now, Jo would see herself in that same café on the corner of Bartlett Street, Gina leafing through the newspaper at her side. And she would link those two: the cherry trees and the newspaper. The first day that she ever really gave more than a passing thought to Douglas Marshall.

She was twenty-six years old and had been writing for The Courier for four years, where Gina was her editor. From time to time Gina took it upon herself to see that Jo's life ran a more ordered, less frantic pattern, and it was this concern that had found Jo, at midday on Good Friday, bundled into Gina's battered blue Citroën.

"It'll do you good to get out of London," Gina had told her, on the way to Bath down the M4. "You can't have another weekend cooped up in that flat."

"I am not cooped up," Jo had objected. "I like it," she added, defending the three rooms she could barely be described as living in. Most of her possessions were still in boxes six months after moving there. The cupboard was very often, as in the nursery rhyme, bare. She lived on milk and cheese biscuits, from what Gina could make out.

"You want to take care of yourself."

A roll of the eyes from Jo. "Gina. I do."

Gina glanced over again at Jo's profile and saw a stubborn little grimace of independence.

Whenever people met Jo, they would most commonly screw up their faces, trying to dredge a name to fit the face. "Don't I know you?" was the commonest opening gambit.

Jo's photograph on the top of The Courier's guest column pictured her sitting on a scattering of books and newsprint. The image had been taken from above so that, laughing, she was shown marooned in a little sea of paper, her head turned slightly away, so that sunlight slanted across her face and apparently naked shoulders.

If Gina herself had a characteristic expression, it was a sardonic smile below her rounded, you-don't-say eyes. Somewhere back along the line, Gina was both Indian and Spanish, a mixed heritage from a Jamaican port that the tourists didn't see. Her parents had come to England in the fifties. Gina's father was an engineer, her mother a nurse, and between them they had produced five lusty, forthright, hard-to-ignore children, of which Gina was the youngest. Gina had propelled herself to features editor at The Courier by the time that Jo was taken on as a freelance, a babe-in-arms of twenty-two.

Perhaps it was Jo's sheer outlandishness that pleased her friend; the complete refusal to be deterred. Jo's career had been checkered, to say the least. She had dumped university in favor of following a radical student theater group on tour, and had found her way into journalism by gate-crashing the rock-classics concert of Excelsis at the Edinburgh Festival. She had been spotted there by a morning TV show and hired to present their entertainment slot--and by this route, single minded and outspoken, she had arrived at Gina's desk one morning.

Copyright 2001, Elizabeth McGregor. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher - Dutton Books.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...
  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The low brow and the high brow

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -