The Ice House by Laura Lee Smith

The Ice House

From a writer who's been praised for her "intelligence, heart, wit" (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls), The Ice House follows the beleaguered MacKinnons as they weather the possible loss of the family business, a serious medical diagnosis, and the slings and arrows of familial discord.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 devastat...

Details The Ice House

TitleThe Ice House
Release DateDec 5th, 2017
PublisherGrove Press
GenreFiction, Contemporary

Reviews The Ice House

  • Barbara
    3.5Stars: “The Ice House” by Laura Lee Smith is a satisfying read about a man in the midst of crisis in all aspects of his life. His business is facing a shutdown; his son won’t talk to him; his wife seems restless; and his physical health is precarious. Johnny MacKinnon is a native Scotland man who manages an ice factory in Florida. As the story opens, the Ice House is facing a financially crushing fine from OSHA after an accident in the p...
  • Diane S ☔
    Thoughts soon.
  • Bonnye Reed
    GNab If you have read other reviews of this special novel, you may think me addlepated when I tell you that this is an excellent feel good tale. After all, 30 year old Corran, though currently in his fifth phase of freedom from heroin addiction and settled in a small drug free town on Loch Linnhe, Scotland, is facing a life of strife with no marketable skills that will allow him to raise his nine month old daughter as a single parent after his wi...
  • Joy D
    Adult contemporary fiction about forgiveness, courage, and redemption disguised as a family drama about a couple who owns an ice factory. Contains one of the most well-drawn set of characters in a book I’ve read this year. One of the secondary characters, Chemal, is among my all-time favorites. Even the dog had a unique personality. The story revolves around the factory owners, who are currently facing impending brain surgery and business-endin...
  • Korynne
    Caution: For erudite audiences only. That was seriously my first reaction to this book once I finished it. There are so many sesquipedalian words in this book that I had to read it with a dictionary on hand to look up new words every few pages. At first, I thought that the author is very intelligent and has a large lexicon, but when the book ended and I counted 91 words that I needed to define, I decided that Smith probably wrote this book with h...
  • Rachel Watkins
    I love sweeping family dramas and Laura Lee Smith's THE ICE HOUSE shares the story of the MacKinnons which encompasses mid-life health issues, family business troubles, a son with a drug problem and all the interesting nuances that being human and aging brings to the forefront. Smith knows how to weave a compelling tale and I enjoyed this one to the very end.
  • Peebee
    Wow, what a book. I often do not enjoy books like this but this one really grabbed me. It started off a little slow, and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. The setting of the scene in the beginning was a little formulaic in its description of the physical scenery and the characters' appearances. But once we got to the story, it really got my attention. There are a lot of characters and a lot of perspectives in the narrative, and while somet...
  • Lynn Pribus
    Wonderful book, wonderfully written with wit and authenticity and with what one reviewer called "robust characters." People you care about and a wonderful elderly dachshund called General.Amusing, sad, emotional, and utterly engaging.(Can you tell I liked it?)
  • Kathleen
    For the first 150 pages or so, I thought I was reading a 5 star book. The early descriptions of the ice plant and its workers was hilarious. I had a feel for what I thought might happen. Then everything changes and the book goes a different direction. I still liked it, but struggled with some of the later characters who just didn’t seem believable to the story. All’s well that ends well. Smith had an interesting blend of all different ages of...
  • Andrea
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Pretty much a solid three. At times I really liked; other I could have walked away. The story wavered between engaging and not.Set in current day Florida, The Ice House is an ice factory owned [inherited] by Pauline [50], and her Scottish husband, Johnny [53]--who may, or may not, have a brain tumor. Johnny has a son, Corran, by his first wife, Sharon, now remarried to Toole; a...
  • Rebecca Tolley
    Received a review copy. Surprisingly good and engrossing; didn't want to put it down, but had to close my eyes to sleep a few hours before finishing this on a snowday from work. The first few pages made me think it'd be a typical tropey 'southern' fiction novel, but the writer's clever turn of phrase and wit reeled me in Johnny & Pauline are in their 50s, have been married 25 years. They run an ice plant in Jacksonville, FL that Pauline inherited...
  • Frosty61
    A story about family, forgiveness, and all that goes into getting through the rough spots, it had many elements to which I could relate. The characters are basically good people who can't seem to connect to each other. There's the bull-headed patriarch, struggling to understand his drug addicted son while dealing with the possibility of losing his business. There's the unhappy wife who's looking for purpose and her lost youth. There's the fearful...
  • Susan Bennett
    Wow. Loved this book. The characters are, as one reviewer put it, "exquisitely human" and the author paints a convincing and touching portrait of each. I found the book harder to put down as my reading progressed, and I probably didn't get enough sleep last night because of it. The story itself is one about a family handling medical, personal and financial crises in the middle of an OSHA investigation into an accident at the family owned business...
  • Jo
    Adult fiction-not something I normally read, but still enjoyed immensely. Johnny and his wife are in the middle of fighting OSHA for their business (an ice factory his wife inherited) when he’s diagnosed with a medical condition and scheduled for surgery. Instead of resting and taking it easy, he decides to travel to Scotland to reconnect with his son Corran and to met his new granddaughter, a journey he’s avoided even though Corran claims to...
  • Melanie
    It’s been several years since I mourned upon finishing a novel -- but that’s exactly what happened on the last page of The Ice House. I would miss the characters. I would miss that sense of confidence from being guided by a sure-footed author, the feeling that the investment of time, energy and emotion will pay off. Smith conveys rich images economically, without contrivance. One such word-picture comes to mind: a breakfast scene between ice-...
  • Mary Robinson
    I enjoy a novel that takes me deep into the characters' lives and leaves me wondering about their futures. The Ice House is just such a book. We follow a few months of the life of Johnny, known as Ice to his employees, and his immediate family and coworkers. He and his wife own an ice factory in Florida. On the day lawyers will begin preparing for an OSHA investigation, the headache he awakes with turns out to be more of a health crisis than a si...
  • Dunja *a chain reader*
    Johnny MacKinnon is leading a good life, but suddenly changes start to occur. First, there is an accident in the ice factory (where he is the COO), and then comes the OSHA investigation, which may result in a fine so big that he and his wife will be forced to shut down the factory. To make matters worse, Johnny collapses on the factory floor, and after an MRI is told that he may have a brain tumor. Furthermore, he and his son have not spoken to e...
  • kglibrarian
    After reading The Ice House, I'm adding Laura Lee Smith to my list of favorite authors, alongside Ann Patchett, Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub, Curtis Sittenfeld, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Celeste Ng. Her new novel follows a Florida couple who is struggling to keep their ice factory in business and also dealing with the effects of their son/stepson's heroine addiction, a recently diagnosed brain tumor, and a shady family secret. The prose is elega...
  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    The Ice House by Laura Lee Smith is a highly recommended family drama ultimately about forgiveness in spite of differences.Johnny MacKinnon, 53, and his second wife Pauline, 50, are the owners of the Bold City Ice Plant, an inherited ice house business, located in Jacksonville, Florida. Johnny, originally from Scotland, has a 30 year old son, Corran, still living in Scotland. Although Corran has visited Johnny in Florida for years, after his last...
  • Madalina Negrea
    Exciting and thought-provokingI requested and received an advanced reading copy of this book from NetGalley and I am really grateful for that. It's so exciting to read books before they hit the shops and I take writing an honest review very seriously. I could say I am fortunate, I liked the book so I'm happy to share my opinion.First of all, I liked the author's writing technique, the way she diffuses the most dramatic scenes with her sense of hu...
  • Myndi
    Original Review: Mad Book LoveFirst off, the blurb about this book is terrible. It doesn’t come close to doing the book justice. Which is why I refuse to summarize it because I’ll probably tank it, too. But I’ll tell you what it’s really about. It’s about family, love, connection, forgiveness, loss, and second chances. It’s about the lengths a parent will go to for their child, including letting go if it’s what’s best for them. It...
  • Debbie
    This was such an enjoyable family drama – I liked just about everything about it:• The location – Jacksonville, FL and Scotland. I loved that Laura Lee Smith drew attention to the bird rookery located at the Alligator farm in St. Augustine. I’ve visited in spring when the birds are nesting and it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Laura Lee Smith is from Florida and knows the location and people.• All of the characte...
  • Eve
    I don't often give books five or even four star reviews, but did I love this book! I could not put it down. I liked all the characters, I liked the story, I did not see certain things happening, were happy when they did happen, and happy when they didn't happen, and I was happy with the ending. One of the most endearing characters of the book was General, the little spoiled dachshund. Not only did Ms. Smith give this dog such a funny personality,...
  • Julia
    This is a new author for me. I saw this novel promoted, as it was just published and so picked it up after reading the jacket review.I was not disappointed at all in the story. I read it in 3 days on a road trip. One reviewer calls it a "tour de force" which simply means that it is an impressive performance or achievement that has been accomplished with great skill.It is a sweeping family saga in present day time. Johnny MacKinnon is a Scot runni...
  • Angie
    It's more than the Ice House! Second chances, choices, forgiveness, letting go versuses giving up! This story finds Johnny MacKinnon stuggling with both his future and his past. Johnny and his second wife, Pauline, own an Ice House in Florida. While finding themselves up to their elbows in OSHA trouble, Johnny has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He feels the need to return to Scotland and make amends with his adult son, Corran, who is now a fa...
  • Elizabeth
    Scottish-born Johnny is in crisis. Happily married to Pauline, Johnny is facing an investigation that could end the family business- an ice manufacturing company; he's not speaking with his recently drug-free son, Corran, who lives in Scotland; and he learns he has a potentially fatal health condition. While he and Pauline scramble to find any evidence that local drug dealers (and manufacturers) are responsible for the incident that has jeopardiz...
  • Jean Boobar
    The characters in The Ice House were REAL. There seemed to be no artifice in their less-than-perfect lives as they dealt with tough issues. Johnny was a middle-aged Scotsman who had left his ex-wife Sharon with their young son Corron and moved to Florida to make a new life. He married the daughter of the owner of an ice making operation in Jacksonville and became the plant manager. He had more or less stopped communicating with his heavily addict...
  • Breakaway Reviewers
    A touching novel exploring human issues.Laura Lee Smith's American fiction 'The Ice House' is set in Florida around the MacKinnon family. Pauline and her husband Johnny (who is actually Scottish), inherit The Ice Factory but are possibly having to close down due to foul play and an inspection is imminent! This is a touching novel exploring several human issues, including stress due to the business itself and who can be trusted? Also, other proble...
  • Kathleen Gray
    On the face of it, this could be a very depressing story- it's about a family beset with illness, business problems, addiction, single fatherhood, and economic dislocation. However, the MacKinnons, especially father Johnny and son Corran, deal with all of this with grace. The story moves back and forth between Florida and Scotland, where Corran, an addict who has relapsed multiple times, is trying to cope with his small daughter Lucy on his own. ...
  • Sandie
    The characters featured in THE ICE HOUSE are like most of us: definitely imperfect yet often audacious, pig-headed and volatile yet devoted and family oriented. The MacKinnon’s, Pauline and Johnny , originally from Scotland now own an ice factory in Florida that is on the brink of disaster due to a negligence claim filed by OSHA. Meanwhile in Scotland, his first wife and their adult son, a recovering heroin addict who Johnny disowned years earl...