Cover image for The iceweaver
The iceweaver
Lawrence, Margaret (Margaret K.)
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : William Morrow, 2000.
Physical Description:
403 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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In January 1809, John Frayne returns to New York state to reclaim his father's confiscated lands and the affection of his abandoned son. There, he is drawn to a beautiful, mute madwoman named Jennet Trevor, who has been declared indigent and put up for auction. It is Frayne who bids for her future.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this compelling story of love and redemption, Lawrence takes up a thread of the tales from her Revolutionary-era mysteries--Hearts and Bones (1996), Blood Red Roses (1997), and The Burning Bride (1998)--featuring midwife Hannah Trevor. When surveyor John Frayne returns after eight years in the west to reclaim his son and home in New Forge, New York, in January 1809, he takes in paupers Gabriel Hines, an aging carpenter, and Jennet Trevor, Hannah's deaf daughter, who's considered mad and a thief to boot. Along with middle-aged French army deserter Marius Leclerc, they form a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. As they start to rebuild Frayne's homestead along with their lives, the attraction grows between Frayne, scarred and guilt-ridden, and Jennet, recently raped and mourning her late mother. In the turmoil of these times, smuggling is an economic necessity, Frayne's earlier barter of maps for lives leads to death (including that of Jennet's beloved brother), and politics underlies it all. With its lucid, fluent prose and indelibly etched characters, this is a remarkably lovely and wise novel. --Michele Leber

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in post-Revolutionary War New Forge, N.Y., Lawrence's fourth historical drama (Hearts and Bones; Blood Red Roses; The Burning Bride) resumes the story of Jennet, deaf daughter of the author's previous heroine, Hannah Trevor, and adds the saga of John Frayne. The elegant and lyrical tale ingeniously knits together everything from mapmaking lore and American history to accounts of faithless wives and broken souls. In dreamy backstory sequences interspersed with present action, surveyor and mapmaker Frayne, sent away by a wife who desires another man, abandons his young son and heads west. Mistaken for a Hudson Bay Co. spy by traders on the Missouri River, Frayne is brutally tortured and left for dead in the wilderness. When he is rescued by Indians, he marries the beautiful Tacha and lives peacefully until tribal jealousies force him to barter for his life. Separated from Tacha, the heartsore Frayne returns to New Forge to find his ancestral home burned to the ground. Jennet, a victim of rape and about to be sold into slavery, is living in the burned-out house. The two wounded souls are drawn to each other, and are looked after by an expatriate Frenchman, Marius Leclerc. Frayne sets out to find his wife and their child, Tim. The boy is living happily with his mother and her new husband, Jacob Benet, but has been taught to detest the memory of his father. Though slander, treachery and petty jealousies whirl around them, Frayne's friends and relatives reach out to one another, learning the power of old stories and forgiveness. Lawrence's subtle lyricism is evident whether she is writing dialogue or narrative, and she skillfully weaves bits of the ancient tale of Odysseus's homecoming into her story. The novel may be the fourth in a saga, but it reads as a stand-alone piece, equipped with unforgettable characters and powerful poetic imagery. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the beginning of her fourth novel, Lawrence kills off Hannah Trevor, the midwife heroine of the three Revolutionary War-era mysteries she began with Hearts and Bones (LJ 8/96), and turns her attention to Hannah's deaf daughter, Jennet. It is 1809, and Jennet becomes involved with John Frayne, son of a suspected Tory whose house and lands were confiscated by the victorious Americans. After spending eight years in the Western wilderness mapping the terrain, making his fortune, suffering unspeakable torture at the hands of Spanish traders, and marrying the Indian woman who nursed him back to health, Frayne returns to the small Maine village to reclaim his English wife and son. Frayne and Jennet grow to trust one another and finally admit that they've fallen in love. Among the many characters introduced are smugglers, a French soldier, lawyers, politicians, slaves, herbal healers, and Native Americans, all of whom conspire either to bring the two together or keep them apart. As in all of Lawrence's books, readers receive a rich historical introduction. Despite too many subplots and coincidences (both of Frayne's wives conveniently die), Lawrence's fans will find this a satisfying romance. Recommended.DNancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.