Owen Jensen has big dreams growing up in tiny Ranier, Minn., near the Canadian border. He wants to open the town’s first Studebaker dealership, support his mom and younger siblings and win the hand of his girlfriend, Sadie Rose.
But in the lawless 1920s, few paths are open to young men in his town, other than farming, fishing and bootlegging. When Owen is drawn into a deal with the local saloon owner, he finds himself in over his head, with debts too big to repay.
Mary Casanova has a sure touch when she describes the laconic exchanges between neighbors, the skin-burning cold of a Minnesota winter or the deadly consequences of misjudging an icy road. In one haunting passage, she describes a wolf pack: “A single melancholy voice threaded through the air. Then another wolf joined in, deep as a cello.”
Readers will be rooting for Owen to find a path forward at a time when the police were sometimes as dangerous as the criminals they chased down.
… This richly detailed look at the Roaring '20s is vastly different from the usual cosmopolitan portrayal filled with flappers, jazz, and tommygun-
toting gangsters. And unlike the larger-than-life characters that often populate those tales, Owen is a likable, complicated hero with the same desires and fears as his more modern counterparts … A unique look at a familiar period in history.
With compelling detail, Mary Casanova weaves true historical characters and events with the fictional story of young Owen, a character determined to fight the odds. In this gripping adventure, Rainy Lake becomes a metaphor for life and possibilities: the deadly risks of the capricious ice in winter, the strength that comes from natural beauty.
—Polly Carlson-Voiles, author of Summer of the Wolves
Mary Casanova gives us the best of historical fiction: characters you love and love to travel with in a critical time in American history. Following Owen Jensen through his coming-of-age year in northern Minnesota during Prohibition is a rugged joy. This is a great book.
—Chris Crutcher, author of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes and Whale Talk
A historical novel that makes the past as fresh and compelling as the present, Ice-Out is a story of dreams, determination, loyalty, and the greys that infuse black and white issues. Mary Casanova has created a hero we cheer for as he struggles to surmount obstacles placed before him by the times, by place, and by his own choices.
—Lorna Landvik, author of Best to Laugh and Mayor of the Universe