Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Pen Review: The Ice Palace by Bill Haworth

The Ice Palace by Bill Haworth
Genre: Romance/ Historical
Pages: 103
Publisher: DCL Publications
Price: $4.50
Rating: PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
Author info: I am ex-Army and have worked in the offshore industry in the UK (North Sea) Canada, Arctic and Middle East. Now Semi-retired and working as a site warden in a holiday Homes Park.

I got the bug for writing after receiving some encouragement from a local agency and Tubedale films during a period of convalescence brought about by industrial illness.

Why I like it: The reason I like this work by Bill is because it brings the past romance to life. He has a distinct way of writing about the past and bringing it to life once more. My favorite character? Mikhail. Why? I just love the way that he wants to protect Avdotya. Mr. Haworth writes a wonderful story from start to finish. If you love historical romances then you will enjoy The Ice Palace.

In the freezing cold winter of 1739/40, Europe was in the grip of the worst weather for 30 years. The Seine, Rhine, Danube and Thames froze solid for months. Tsaritsa Anna Ivanovna gave an order to build a palace made completely of ice on the frozen river. She ordered the architect Pyotr Eropkin to design the building. The Ice Palace had been designed for a cruel jest. She made the prince marry a particularly ugly Kalmyk (area of Mongolia) serving woman, and the ice palace was for their honeymoon! It amounted to no more than a sick and perverse death sentence. The unhappy couple were paraded in a cage on the back of an elephant at the head of a procession of freaks, dwarves, cripples and all manner of grotesque human beings. In the palace the newlyweds were enclosed into an icy nuptial chamber under heavy guard and bedded down publicly in the icy room. The couple barely survived the night; but survive they did with the help of the Princes aide and friends of the Kalmyk bride.


There was a fresh Alpine breeze that spring morning of 1739. It gently blew away the morning mist that hovered over the waters of the Italian Lake Garda, and revealed shimmering reflections of shoreline hamlets dotted along its banks. Embedded in the mountain foothills, the lake area was protected from the worst of the weather from above while still enjoying a warm Mediterranean climate down by the lake side. Palm and olive trees flourished, as did tomatoes and vegetables in great variety. The scent from the apple orchards, and the orange and lemon groves charged the air with a sweet pungency.

The lake had an abundance of freshwater fish such as carp, pike and tench, while salmon abounded in the rivers and streams. Wild boar and deer roamed the nearby forests, and a small herd of cows grazed the rich green slopes. Domesticated ducks and geese played at the water’s edge. The mountain streams provided clean, sweet drinking water, filtered through many layers of rock.

With the ambient weather, it was an idyllic oasis; a veritable Garden of Eden tucked away in the mountain slopes; a happy healthy environment for raising families, or recuperating from illness. The folk living there blessed their good fortune, and led a contented existence. Life was, indeed, sweet.

In a log chalet, on a slope overlooking the lake, the dawn sunlight streaked through the bedroom window, casting illuminating fingers of light upon the faces of the young couple still at slumber. The bed and bedroom were littered with rice and confetti. A garland of flowers hung from the corner post of the headboard. On the wedding bed, were partly opened gifts. Clothing and empty bottles of wine were strewn in happy disarray, about the floor.

While songbirds twittered merrily outside, the flickering tentacles of light played on the young man’s eyelids. He gradually awoke, and when his sleepy eyes became clear, he focused them on the beautiful young woman lying alongside him.

He smiled, and playfully caressed her long golden locks of hair spread across the pillow. He marvelled at her voluptuous form. His caresses, plus the dancing rays of sunshine on her face roused her from her sweet slumbers. He blew gently in her ear.

Her eyes flickered without opening. “Good morning,” she said sleepily. He kissed her tenderly, full on the lips. At that moment he was a happy man and knew he had everything in the world he would ever want. Life could not possibly get much better than this, he thought.

She responded to his passionate ardour, and both became locked in a loving embrace. He resisted the temptation to make love yet again.


  1. This is a really fascinating book with a very unusual subject, and obviously well researched. I would recommend it to any fan of historical romance.

  2. I would as well! Thats why I liked it so much. You can tell the research that was put into it.

  3. It's a hard novel to put down once you start reading it. Make sure to use the new cover as it is much more eye catching! lol

  4. Gorgeous setting, Bill. I feel totally swept away to the long-ago place you created. Good luck with this lovely book. You deserve it.