Breaking the Ice by Kim Baldwin is a complex enemies to lovers lesbian romance novel. With difficult themes like grief and hereditary disease explored, you might not expect a satisfying romance, but oh is it ever.
Between her partner leaving for another woman and losing her mother to Alzheimer’s disease, Karla Edwards is experiencing the roughest time in her life. As she goes through her mother’s belongings, Karla learns that she has an older sister in Alaska who doesn’t know she was adopted.
Bryson Faulkner is a bush pilot who regularly flies in and out of Bettles, Alaska, but has an isolated cabin that she calls home. She’s on her way back from a supplies run in Fairbanks when she has the misfortune of coming across a woman so desperate to get to Bettles that she can be described as rude at best. When Bryson takes Karla back with her, she begins to wonder if she’s made a mistake in agreeing to fly the abrasive woman.
Bryson is not your typical lesfic lead, but everything about her is interesting and wonderful. She loves her cabin without running water or TV/internet, she’s a woman in a typically male dominated profession, and she’s a perfect blend of pragmatic and kind.
Karla’s life has been turned upside down with losing her mother and partner in the same two weeks. Learning about her sister, Maggie, gives her a new purpose, and I love how their relationship develops and grows even as Karla builds one with Bryson.
Some of the side characters are fantastic. If you liked Kim Baldwin’s book Whitewater Rendezvous as much as I did, you’ll be glad to know that Chaz Herrick makes a brief appearance. Also, I need to give a shoutout to Lars, the best in-law of all of lesfic. He’s the sweetest husband to Maggie, and I imagine he’ll be an amazing dad to Karson.
The Writing Style
If you’ve ever talked to me about lesfic or taken a peek at my Goodreads shelves, it’ll be no surprise to you that I’m a huge fan of Kim Baldwin’s books, and Breaking the Ice is one of my very favourites. I love her Alaska books because she perfectly balances action with romance, giving enough detail that I can imagine the setting, but not so much that I get bored. How she does it, I don’t know, but I admire it every time I pick up one of her books.
Grief and loss are major themes in Breaking the Ice, but they’re handled so delicately that the book never gets heavy. It drives the initial conflict between Bryson and Karla, and they truly can’t stand each other. The shift from mutual dislike to compassion, friendship, and love is beautiful and memorable, a testament to the author’s writing skill.
Kim Baldwin narrated the audio book herself, and she’s a great narrator. There’s also a bonus track with Baldwin sharing some of the background for Breaking the Ice.
Whether you’re a big fan of Kim Baldwin like me or you’ve never read her before, I highly recommend Breaking the Ice.
This is especially good as an audio book. Dog Ear Audio is producing some truly excellent audio books for lesbians – Sheena
Excerpt from Breaking the Ice by Kim Baldwin
She ignored the mumbled recitation of the Lord’s Prayer from her passenger but took a few deep breaths herself when a subtle change in the whirr of the propeller told her the blades were accumulating a coat of ice.
It was bare-knuckle flying from then on, a steady battle against the wind and sleet, and those last few miles tested every bit of her considerable experience in the air. By the time she lined up for her approach to Bettles, the ceiling was only thirty feet, so she was grateful for her GPS and intimate knowledge of every mile of terrain in the surrounding area.
She cranked the skis back and peered anxiously through the haze of sleet for the airstrip, holding her breath. Skeeter had supplemented the dual strip of landing lights with four blazing fires in fifty-five-gallon drums, two on each end of the runway, and it was these she saw first.
As she made a mental note to buy him a beer, she descended the final few feet and made a perfect three-point landing. Her passenger exhaled loudly in relief, and she glanced in the mirror in time to see him making the sign of the cross.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781602820876
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audio Book Publisher: Dog Ear Audio
- Narrator: Kim Baldwin
Kim Baldwin Online
Note: I received a free review copy of this audiobook for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.