The Ice Widow by Anne M. Smith-Nochasak

The Ice Widow is a different kind of love story, yet one more common than we may know.

Anna Caine leaves Nova Scotia, filled with hope and a sense of adventure, to teach in Labrador. Her introduction to the far north and to the people she meets does not start out well. Soon, with time, her own experiences there create moments when her connections become stronger and rooted in respect and love for the ways of living, and for the relationships she and the people of Endor forge with each other despite many barriers and misunderstandings.

“Smith-Nochasak’s crafting of Anna’s journey is realistic and compellingly engrossing.”

The story is also about an entangled love triangle. From her first glimpse of him, Anna could not deny her attraction to Joshua Kalluk. Through the vivid description of their encounters, it becomes obvious he is drawn to Anna as well. When Anna becomes pregnant it is made clear to her that Joshua’s commitment remains with his betrothed, Leah. Shortly thereafter Anna leaves Endor.

The reader soon learns this is not a typical love triangle where one person ‘wins.’ Rather the three –Anna, Joshua, and Leah—focus on Aaron, working together so he can thrive in his mother’s and father’s very different worlds. When Aaron leaves Anna to live with his northern family, Anna is left alone and escapes her sadness in intricate daydreams of ways things could still turn out with Joshua. Visiting Aaron keeps her connected to Joshua and Leah, and she remains part of their extended family.

Smith-Nochasak’s crafting of Anna’s journey is realistic and compellingly engrossing. Throughout the remainder of her life after she leaves Endor, Anna continues to encounter people from the past, as well as new ones, who challenge and encourage her. Anna stays busy on her own until Joshua’s daughter Miriam sends word Anna is needed in Endor. The ending is uplifting and turns out to be the perfect way to resolve this love story.

Anne M. Smith-Nochasak’s writing is eloquent, as she skillfully paints pictures in the reader’s mind where the essence of each person is revealed layer by layer and so real, I feel I have met each person at some point in my life. Some are quirky, others are intense, and they all have redeeming qualities and shortcomings. They challenge and support Anna and her family with kindness, and compassion, and with an occasional biting comment when it is needed. And they forgive.

The Ice Widow stirred my emotions as few books do. I was fascinated, laughed at times, gasped with shock, found moments where I shook my head, sighed in magical moments, and yes, the story, at times, brought tears to my eyes.

I highly recommend this book. The Ice Widow reveals Anne M. Smith-Nochasak’s talent as a spellbinding storyteller.

With degrees in theological studies and education (additional qualifications in special education), author Anne M. Smith-Nochasak spent over thirty years teaching in Indigenous communities, where she learned to challenge the limitations that are placed on students and delight in each child’s potential as those communities do. In 2021, Anne M. Smith-Nochasak was recognized as one of The Miramichi Reader’s Best Books of 2021 for her first book: A Canoer of Shorelines (FriesenPress 2021). For more information about the author, or to connect:
Instagram @SmithNochasak

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ FriesenPress (Oct. 24 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 234 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1039160379
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1039160378

A-M Mawhiney is a fifth-generation settler who resides in Sudbury, Ontario, in the territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek of the Robinson-Huron Treaty. Anne-Marie hopes for a better future where everyone thrives. She is author of Spindrifts, and is currently working on a sequel.