I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was not familiar with Sibelle Stone, but when I had the opportunity to read her novel Heart of Ice, I was intrigued by the premise and the combination of several genres. The story is set in 1910- in Iceland, which is rather unique. Lucinda Stafford is a young woman who is not ready to return to her home in New York. She applies for the position of governess. She has never worked as a governess before, but she had one growing up, and that’s pretty much the same thing, isn’t it?
Her employer, Grayson Thorne, is a scientist. He is also a widower with two delightful children who have languished under the previous governess. Lucinda accepts the position, and finds herself incredibly attracted to her employer. Likewise, he is incredibly attracted to her, but propriety keeps them from acting upon their desires, so there is a lot of build up and sexual tension as Grayson and Lucinda butt heads and generally infuriate each other.
This was a very entertaining book. There was some discussion of Grayson’s work; he was trying to harness the power of steam and use it to generate electricity. I think it would have been interesting to have more scenes in the laboratory. The science elements blended well with the steampunk aspect, like the great airships that can transport people across the ocean. I also liked Lucinda’s interactions with the two Thorne children. She immediately realizes that they had been mistreated by the last governess and sets about to create a new regimen with them, doing away with the bland foods, forced naps, and sleeping syrups. There is also a supernatural element that helps to foster a bit of a creepy ambience and this supports the magic of the Icelandic setting.
The chemistry between Grayson and Lucinda is palpable, and each of them struggles with insecurities and emotional baggage stemming from past relationships. Neither of them expects to fall in love, and it was delightful to watch the tension build.
I would absolutely recommend Heart of Ice. I’m looking forward to reading more books from Sibelle Stone. If you’re looking for a romance with elements from other genres, this is a great choice! Because I do review a lot of books for children and young adults, I should point out that this book is intended for mature audiences