On Thin Ice is a collection of twelve interrelated short stories about Adrienne and her friends, from her divorce, to her first dating experiences on line at age fifty, and so much more, until a reconciliation with the past and her future life ends the collection on a positive and hopeful note.
This book is a complete novel as well, a fictional journey in about 60,000 words about a life, lovers, and daring moves--walking on thin ice--and may inspire baby boomers in their quest for meaning in their lives where marriage Till Death Do Us Part is not so common anymore. Readers of Adrienne’s generation, with higher expectations for longevity and hedonistic pleasures than any generation before, will be entertained and moved by Adrienne‘s adventures in Europe and in western Canada and be uplifted by its optimistic message.
On Thin Ice follows a single baby boomer character Adrienne through from her early dating experiences around Europe through to middle age across a dozen masterfully written short stories. Johanna van Zanten takes her character around the world and on to the web from youthful passion to dabbling in online dating. The stories are crafted, gentle but rewarding reads with a strong central character. Although Johanna van Zanten was a new name to me in terms of her writing, I will certainly keep a close eye out for her next book.
One strength of Adrienne's adventures is not so much the way in which the dating world has changed in the last 45 years, but really the ways in which it remains the same. Many of the challenges, temptations and anxieties Adrienne experiences as a younger woman in the late 1960s will be instantly familiar to much younger readers today!
Sam Bellotto JR (author of the novel Yellow Glad Days)
At first glance, "On Thin Ice" is not the sort of genre that I would be immediately attracted to. One gets the impression that it is a "woman's book," whatever that means. It is, indeed, the story of a woman from the Netherlands, growing up there, emigrating to Canada in later life. It's subtitled "Short Stories of Life and Dating After 50." But there is a lot more to it than that.
It appears to me to be largely autobiographical; the realization that these events actually happened in some form or another makes the stories a lot more interesting than if they were pure fiction. What I found particularly intriguing is the insight into Dutch culture, which makes the tales even more absorbing.
Johanna van Zanten's writing is crisp and polished. The events speak for themselves without slathering on heaps of purple prose resulting in a forced narrative which so many indie published authors, and too many traditionally published authors, fall prey to. The purpose of the book is to tell the life story of Adrienne (Johanna?) without trying to dazzle with literary acrobatics. "On Thin Ice" succeeds very nicely.
The characters are well fleshed out; they are real; you care for them. The dialog rings true. As I said, not a genre I would normally be drawn to, but the glimpses into Dutch culture were, for me, mesmerizing. That alone kept me reading. Imagine the impact this book would have on those who actively seek out these kinds of stories? Four strong stars. I hope Johanna does well with this book.
Lisa, reader on Goodreads,
Johanna van Zanten in creating such a well written book. ( clap clap clap...standing ovation!) What is next for Adrienne????!!!
I have to admit it was an entertaining book to read. The way the author describes Adrienna's home land had me right there with her; it was as if I could see every street and building and could visualize her romps with her lovers. I enjoyed watching Adrienna go from an almost prudish girl to a much stronger vibrant women where she found she had her own mind and was beginning to allow herself to be her own boss. Being a single women in my 50's, I could relate to the online dating and it was nice to see someone actually describing their experiences. I loved the little bits of humour but would of like to see more of that! All in all I enjoyed this book...it was refreshing and almost didn't want it to end!