Icebound by Julie Rowe
Dr. Emilie Saunderson is driven to finish her husband's research. Her quest brings her to Antarctica, where she hopes to find a measure of peace in the isolated and icy wilderness. It's the last place on earth she expects to be given a second chance at love.
Tom Wolinski loves his work at the bottom of the world. Damaged by his dark past, he has vowed never to get close to anyone--a promise that's easy to keep in place with no permanent residents. That is, until Emilie arrives, and he's irresistibly drawn to her warmth and inner strength.
Emilie has no desire to get involved with another adventurer, and Tom has made it clear he's not interested in putting down roots. But as they work together to survive in the harshest of climates, they turn to one another for comfort. Is the heat between them enough to melt the ice around their hearts, and bind them together forever?
This book should have been amazing. A scientific research station based at the South Pole, one woman trying to carry out her late husband's research project while also attempting to heal from the deep wounds his passing left on her psyche, and a man whose past leads him to believe that he can never have a family. Add in some amazing secondary characters and the danger inherent in being at the coldest point on Earth should have made this a home run. Instead, this book felt shallower than I would have liked; the shorter length most likely attributed to this feeling but it also might have been a case of having so many problems crop up that the pages in existence weren't enough to adequately deal with them all. Whatever the issue(s), this was an okay story that had so much unrealized potential...
Emilie has dealt with a lot in the past year, the loss of her husband and unborn child topping the list. She is excited to be the new medical doctor at the South Pole science research station but knows she has a lot of healing to do. Tom is the more-than-capable station manager who always seems to know what the people around him need: an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, some words of wisdom, or ways to let off steam. What Tom doesn't want is a steady relationship and when he finds himself wanting more with Emilie, he does what he often does. He runs. Which isn't easy in the limited space of the research station! Emilie is more level-headed than some of the heroines I've read about lately and it was such a nice change to read about a mature, good-head-on-her-shoulders woman who is capable of listening to reason and compromising when needed. Tom was also enjoyable but I was less patient with the main issue he was trying to resolve. Probably not fair of me, but there it is.
There were also several secondary characters that had varying amounts of story time and not all was sunshine and roses as would be expected when working in such an extreme environment with a large group of individuals who are confined within a small space. At one point I thought this might be romantic suspense and one of the researchers might be vandalizing the station but as I read on, it became more clear that the plot points were meant to show the unpredictability of working in Antarctica. Julie Rowe does a great job of bringing secondary characters to life while not spending too much time away from the MC's and their developing relationship. I felt that she brought enough of them to life to make for a well rounded cast while not developing so many that it became difficult to keep them all straight. All in all, I am glad I read Icebound but doubt I revisit it as a reread.
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I downloaded this book for free from Amazon.