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Book review: 'Followed by Frost' spins story of the warmth of a change of heart
"Followed by Frost" is by Charlie N. Holmberg. - photo by Christine Rappleye
"FOLLOWED BY FROST," by Charlie N. Holmberg, 47 North, $14.95, 244 pages (f)

With her blond hair, smooth skin and green eyes, 17-year-old Smitha Ronson sees herself as the oyster pearl in her community of Euwan. Her father, a wainwright or wagon builder, is a successful man in the small town.

In Followed by Frost, many young men are attracted to haughty and selfish Smitha, but when she embarrasses and scorns Mordan, who mysteriously showed up in their town a year earlier, shes cursed to be as cold as her heart.

She becomes cold and unable to warm up. Frost appears when she touches something or someone. Clouds follow her, snowing unless she keeps moving.

After her community is nearly buried in snow, the people of Euwan ask for her to leave. Angry at her predicament, she does and wanders the country, carefully trying not to call too much attention to herself as she learns to survive.

She first heads north, where others who work magic are rumored to be and where the cold and snow will blend in. She avoids people, is hunted and chased, and is weakened by constantly being on the run.

Smitha, cursed as she is, can see Death, whose name is Sadriel. He offers to relieve her pain and to help her, but she knows it will come at a cost her life.

A group from Zareed, beyond the Unclaimed Lands of the desert, corner her and ask her to come with them to help relieve the drought in their lands. Intrigued that her curse might actually help someone, she heads south with them.

Charlie N. Holmbergs novel is ultimately about a change of heart, learning to forgive and love and appreciate life and others, especially when they brave the cold and the rumors to reach out and be a friend.

Told from Smithas perspective as shes reflecting, Followed by Frost is shared almost like a fairy tale as she spins the story with descriptions of the lands she travels and the people she sees especially as her cold heart and perspective slowly changes. However, there isnt any clear indication of how to end the curse.

Followed by Frost has no swearing, with a few instances of generally described violence, and any romance doesnt go beyond kissing.
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