Friday, August 17, 2012

Featured Ebook : On Thin Ice by Johanna van Zanten

Ebook : ON THIN ICE- short stories of life and dating after 50

Genre : Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Romance

Author : Johanna van Zanten

Amazon Stores : Kindle Edition

ISBN: 9781620957691 (Digital Book)

Reviews : Multiple 4.7-5stars (Amazon and Goodreads)

Blurb : Adrienne is the quintessential daredevil and a leader of her generation. Why?  Adrienne would rather try anything once, so she won’t have to say: “I wished I had tried that, but was too afraid”. Her stories and those of her friends are in many ways quite typical for many baby boomers, but only Adrienne with her fortitude and independence would cross the Atlantic to join a younger man practically unknown to her and much younger. Only she could start her own matchmaking agency after her divorce, when on-line dating did bored her. At age sixty, what will Adrienne do next to find a purpose in her life when retirement looms with an empty nest and no partner?

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.
Adrienne's journey takes the reader from the discovery of passion and ecstasy in her early twenties in Amsterdam to her first broken heart during the sexual revolution in the late sixties in the first story, Finding Ecstasy. Fort Good Hope is a story about a rather exotic kayak trip to the northern territories of Canada told in the first person that wakes a desire to immigrate in Adrienne. 

The Redemption  story is the emotional recounting of Adrienne bringing her mother to the end of her life and is really an analysis of an incomplete, distant relationship between mother and daughter. In Love or Marriage the start of a marriage via immigration to the dismantling of it over almost 2 decades is a story that is very recognizable to many who were once married. 

The story Matched! about Adrienne’s experiences with match making as the operator is a light hearted view of the elderly dating. Escaped: Adrienne and her friends are dating on line, and this is a story about one particularly strange date. New Love? recounts the start and failure of a relationship over four years with a British immigrant when emotional and other limitations surface gradually. 

Carpe Diem is a moving and poignant story of the death of a friend at 50 (from breast cancer), who knew how to live,  and about her controversial choice of a mate from a Caribbean island. In Karma: a friend’s new lover turns into a stalker, which leads to the end of the affair. An Untimely Death - another early death, this time of a talented and successful designer. 

In the story Roots and Blues the barriers to forming a relationship after 60 become clear, the short-lived beginnings while at a three-day music festival and its quick end before anybody gets really hurt; the advancing of the years of the players play a role. In Blueprint -- an important one in the collection –the resolution of a mother - daughter conflict is narrated, Adrienne now in the role as mother.

Andrew Lawston (author of the short story collection Something Nice)  
July 10, 2012 on Goodreads:

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) 
July 12, 2012 on Goodreads and Amazon:

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, 
July 7, 2012 on Goodreads:
In my informal but honest review I must share that I was excited to get this book downloaded as I had been anticipating reading it. I read it in about one day, which speaks volumes because if I am not captivated by a book I will easily get distracted and find other things to read. I loved it. I know the author as a friend and colleague, and it was interesting to read and hear her voice in my head. 

She categorized this book as fiction, although, I could pick out scenarios that sounded awfully familiar! I really think that there needs to be a continuation or part two of On Thin Ice. I love the author’s description and insight into Adrienne’s experiences. I laughed reading this book. I cried as well. I rejoiced for Adrienne. I believe that the purpose of reading, at least for me, is to draw out feelings, to escape, to walk in another’s shoes albeit a brief moment. Books allow us to share knowledge, experience and perspectives in life. I applaud

Johanna van Zanten in creating such a well written book. ( clap clap clap...standing ovation!) What is next for Adrienne????!!!

By BevB   star star star star star    
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

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 was refreshing and almost didn't want it to end!

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