Frozen has a contemporary feel and is far removed from the previous steampunk stories I have read by Ms Brook. It features Olivia, an engineer working in construction, who just happened to make the mistake of falling hard for Erik, the boss’s son. Oh, it clearly wasn't one sided as they shared a kiss that could melt an iceberg but since then, Erik has done nothing but give Olivia the cold shoulder! So imagine her horror when she is persuaded to go to his home delivering documents only to discover Erik is in a bad way. Is he ill? Clearly something is very wrong but Erik’s frosty reaction hides a secret that’s about to rock Olivia's world.
What a completely different story. I thought the idea of mixing Norse mythology with a slow burn romance worked really well. Erik is under a curse and unfortunately kissing Olivia triggered it. His aloof behaviour has been his way of trying to be noble and protect Olivia but he's really trying just to protect her from himself! His fear and anguish is a visceral thing as he sees himself as a monster, which is just so sad.
Now luckily, Olivia is a practical sort, resourceful and full of surprises. I thought to hold the job she does and be accepted showed her strong work ethic but her almost pragmatic acceptance of Erik’s curse whilst virtually under siege had me cheering for her. Yes, my heart might have melted for Erik but it was Olivia's courage that really brought this story to life.
I noticed some reviews feel this is short, but frankly I felt the length about right. I enjoyed the rather unusual villains who in so many ways are as manipulated by the curse as Erik is and thought Ms Brook played a blinder with the ending. The romance Erik fought against finally has a resolution but it was the quiet moments between the couple, the almost normal scenes when the walls came tumbling down that held me enthralled.
So this is perhaps not typical of Ms Brook's usual work but it worked very well as a standalone.