Melanie Henderson's life is a lie. The scandal of her birth and the identity of her true parents is kept from her family's small, conservative Colorado town. Not even she knows the truth: that her birth mother was just 14 and unmarried to her father, a local boy who drowned when he tried to take a shortcut across an icy river. Thirty-five years later, in Denver, Melanie dabbles in affairs with married men while clinging to a corporate job that gives her life order even as her tenuous relationships fall apart. She still hasn’t learned that the woman who raised her is actually her aunt—or that her birth mother visits her almost every day. This fiercely-guarded secret bonds the two most important women in her life, who hatched a plan to trade places and give Melanie a life unmarred by shame. Yet, as a forest fire rages through the Rocky Mountains and a car accident shakes the family, Melanie finds herself at the center of an unraveling tangle of tragedy and heartbreak. If the Ice Had Held speaks with a natural lyricism, and presents a cast of characters who quietly struggle through complicated lives.
About the Author
Wendy J. Fox is the author of The Seven Stages of Anger and Other Stories and The Pull of It. She received her MFA from Eastern Washington University, and her work has been published or is forthcoming in many literary reviews, websites, and blogs.
“A kind of suspense is built into the very structure of If the Ice Had Held. I became more and more invested in each character and storyline and more and more eager to see how they would intersect—I found it nearly impossible to put the book down.” —Small Press Picks
"IF THE ICE HAD HELD, at its heart a story about second chances, is both haunting and luminous. I was captivated by how, in the aftershock of tragedy, these memorable characters try to find their way toward some brighter place. Expertly shifting back and forth in time, Fox has crafted an intricate mosaic shimmering with gorgeous prose." —Heather Bell Adams, author of Maranatha Road
"Fox delivers finely observed, lyrical, storytelling, persuasive in its depiction of everyday unions and choices... this is eloquent tale-spinning lit by unshowy portraiture. A small world, but a perceptible talent." —Kirkus
"Throughout, Fox pivots seamlessly among the perspectives of these key players, crafting a poignant story that questions fate and free will." —
arianna rebolini, Buzzfeed
"I marveled at the kaleidoscopic effect that Fox gives readers of the connections across time, across families, across life... Fox’s writing is cool, serene and stripped clean of sentimentality. She is a dry-eyed documentarian with a keen eye and a terrific ear." —MARK H. STEVENS, Pank
"...incisive, marrow-chilling...Fox brings to the family saga a poet’s eye...and she inscribes it in vivid prose that lingers...like the beautiful ache of the cold." —Patrick Thomas Henry, Necessary Fiction
"A terrific novel [that] weaves several different stories, across a span of time, and it all culminates in one of the best final chapters I've read in a novel in a long time." —David Abrams, Founder, The Quivering Pen. Author, Brave Deeds
"The issues Fox examines and the relationships she draws between her characters speak to the human experience, causing If the Ice Had Held to be innovative and effective." —Hannah Jackson, Heavy Feather Review
"Fox's latest novel is a tragic and beautiful tale... a solid work of realist fiction. A compelling story well-worth your time." —Ben Arzate, Cultured Vultures
"…compelling…gripping…not to be missed. Most dazzling about If the Ice Had Held is the artistic finesse with which Fox eases readers through shifts in time and perspective.” —Nicole Rivas, Split Lip Magazine