‘He came gliding into my life and changed everything. He didn’t intend for it to happen any more than I did. I think it took us both by surprise. Like a bolt of lightning. Like a puck to the head, as Joe would say.’
Ice Dancing is an unusual novel about love, life in a Scottish village and ice hockey.
Helen Breckenridge has almost resigned herself to the downward slide into mildly discontented middle age. She is a Scottish farmer’s wife, approaching forty, living in a rural backwater, with her only child about to fly the nest. But when Joe, a visiting Canadian ice hockey player, comes to live in a nearby cottage, she realises that nothing will ever be the same again.
This is a love story with a very dark side, a romance with a twist, for although Joe skates like an angel, he has his own demons to cope with, a sadder, more complicated and much more shocking past than Helen – who has lead a fairly sheltered life - could ever imagine.
In helping Joe to begin to come to terms with the horrors of that past, Helen rediscovers something of her own potential. For once in her life, she realises just how much she has sacrificed herself to the needs of others.
It is the story of two people who must break the habits of half a lifetime before they can move forward. So Helen and Joe find themselves dancing precariously between joy and sorrow, between hope and despair, balancing on ice, together and apart.
The ideas in this novel began as a stage play called The Locker Room. But it demanded to be told differently and more explicitly. Ice Dancing is the result: an unconventional and adult love story, but also a tale of past suffering and the betrayal of trust which has become all too sadly relevant in the here and now.
Readers should be aware that this is not always a comfortable read. But the problems at the heart of it are widespread and – sadly -
refuse to disappear.
Catherine Czerkawska has had a long and happy switchback of a career as a professional novelist and playwright, living and working in Scotland. As well as producing a significant body of fiction, long and short, she has written more than 100 hours of drama for BBC radio, television and theatre. She has taught creative writing from club to university level and is currently serving on the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland. When not writing, she spends some time each week rescuing and rehoming antique and vintage textiles.