The Ice Princess

Of late, I have been captivated by Scandinavian literature. I love the sense of place, the cold, the darkness of the settings. While I had read some Scandinavian authors years ago, it was the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson that brought me back. I discovered the series by watching the first movie in an old theatre with sticky floors that shows mostly independent films. It was the original Swedish version with Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth. The sense of place of the Swedish landscape and the complexity of the characters were so palpable I could almost touch them. I immediately found all the books and devoured them. I’ve been on a Scandinavian literature kick since.

I had not heard of Camilla Läckberg but thought I would give her a try. The Ice Princess is Camilla Läckberg’s first novel – her first four novels have been bestsellers in Sweden. I like that the novel plunges you right into the thick of things in the opening pages. A man checking on a neighbor’s house during a cold winter finds a dead woman sitting in a frozen tub, with icicles hanging from her hair, and one of her arms dangling over the edge with frozen blood pooled on the floor.

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The rest of the story unwinds to reveal characters that seem real with human foibles and redeeming qualities. You meet Erica, whose parents have just died and who is in town to pack up their home. There’s a sibling rivalry between Erica and her little sister, Anna, who seems to tense up around her husband. There’s Superintendent Mellberg, the incompetent bureaucrat and chief of police; and Patrick Hedström, the detective who just wants to solve the crime. There’s a murderer. And there’s Alex, the ice princess, who happened to be one of Erica’s childhood friends.

One of my favorite parts of this novel is the setting. All of Läckberg’s novels take place in the remote fishing village of Fjällbacka on Sweden’s west coast. Fjällbacka is the author’s birthplace and she seems to know the town’s roads with all its twists and turns very well. As I read the novel, phrases like “15 degrees below zero” stayed with me. This is Fjällbacka in winter.

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I highly recommend reading The Ice Princess. It will draw you in immediately with solid character development, an element of mystery, and a chilly setting to get you through these hot summer months.

My Review ★★★★☆

32 thoughts on “The Ice Princess

  1. Thank you for the recommendation. I’ll look for this one, as I too have been completely taken with Stieg Larsson’s books. And as it’s been a non-stop 100+ degrees here, anything that will help me stay cool is welcome!

  2. It would be a great read right now when most of the country is suffering through sweltering heat! That picture of the little town makes me want to sit by a fire and knit. Thanks for the info. Always looking for a good book.

  3. Oh, thanks! 😎 I too have been on a Scandinavian kick! I’m reading The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (slash on the o). This is a detective series with Harry Hole as the main protagonist. I loved Noomi as Lisbeth! We haven’t seen the new one, but wonder if they will focus more on her computer skills?

      1. Will do. 😎 What I find confusing in the Scandinavian book series I read, is that the first one is not always translated. You’d think they would be translated in order! 😎

  4. I tried reading the first installment of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy but couldn’t get into it; the English didn’t stick in my mind for some reason. However, your description of ‘The Ice Princess’ did and I may well read it in future 🙂

  5. Thank you for the recommendation! I love movies from that part of the world, and I have Let the Right One in, on my reading list already. I will be adding this one too!

    1. Ah, I read that one. It was a little hard to take in the beginning – but it’s a good story. I thought the actor who played Eli in the Swedish movie did a superb acting job.

    1. They should although I had a hard time finding them in a bookstore. This first novel should be more easily available. The more recent ones take a while to get translated and published for the US market.

  6. I’m currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire. I also saw the original Swedish version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s interesting to compare the US version with the original and how they portray Lisbeth differently. I will have to check out your recommendation! Nice blog!

    1. I thought the Swedish portrayal of Lisbeth was grittier but also more endearing. I felt drawn by the character. I think Noomi Rapace played her so well. I would like to be friends with Lisbeth. Enjoy your reading!

  7. I got it and I finished it in two days! It was really great, thanks for the recommendation! Crime/mystery novels aren’t really my forte but I actually really enjoyed this one! The setting was wonderful, too, I agree. I’ll have to get the next one soon. 🙂

  8. Your post is very timely, as I am headed to Scandinavia on vacation next month. I just checked the map and we’ll be staying about 35 miles from Fjällbacka! I was looking for some good travel reading, so thanks for the recommendation!

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