Edna Ferber dazzled readers in 1958 with Ice Palace, a tale that went behind the headlines of Alaska’s fight to become a state.
The story is about Christine Stone, a beautiful and brainy young Alaskan woman brought up by her two grandfathers, both Alaskan pioneers. Grandfather Thor Stone is passionate about the land and its people; Grandfather Czar Kennedy is passionate about getting rich from Alaska’s resources.
Czar is maneuvering to get Chris to marry Bay Husack, son of one of his wealthy “outside” friends. He wants Bay to be the first governor of Alaska and then become President.
Thor is working equally hard at undermining Czar.
The future of Alaska hangs in the balance.
Ice Palace is part travelogue, part tract. Ferber takes readers through Alaska with the enthusiasm of Rick Steen, then lambastes corporate greed with the zeal of John Bunyon. Even the names Thor and Czar are reminiscent of the symbolic names in Pilgrim’s Progress.
There are some interesting factual tidbits in Ice Palace, but if you want a plausible plot and believable characters, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
P.S. The guys in the white parkas win.Ice Palace by Edna Ferber Doubleday, 1958 351 pages 1958 bestseller #7 My Grade: C-