By Wendy Thomas
Grab a cup of hot cocoa and curl up with a copy of “With Love, From Cold World” by Alicia Thompson to add some steam to the cold winter nights.
Lauren Fox is a buttoned-up bookkeeper who likes things orderly and predictable. Asa Williamson is a practical-joking, minimum-wage-earning, tattooed and blue-haired jack-of-all-trades. The only thing they have in common is that they both work at Cold World, a wintry tourist attraction in the muggy climes of Central Florida.
Despite having the only snow for hundreds of miles, Cold World is struggling. Time has taken a toll on the once-shiny amusement center, and its owner challenges Lauren, Asa and her son/Vice President Daniel to come up with an idea to get Cold World back in the black. Lauren wants to team up with dashing Daniel, on whom she’s had a crush for years. Daniel is attached to his phone and his privileged position in the company, but is willing to toy with Lauren’s affections if it means he doesn’t have to do any actual work. Asa wouldn’t mind working with Lauren, but knows she finds him annoying. He doesn’t mean anything by it, he just likes messing with Lauren because her uptight reactions make his days more interesting.
Fate intervenes one night when Lauren returns to Cold World after-hours to retrieve some budget forecasts for Daniel and Asa is there working on his grand plan to rejuvenate the park. They are forced to spend the night together after Lauren accidentally closes a door that locks them inside. It’s messy and complicated and charming in its predictability.
The love triangle is only part of the story, however. Lauren has a heart-wrenching past, losing her mother to an overdose at a young age and growing up in foster care. Asa has been cast out of his highly religious family for being bisexual. Both are grappling with their pasts and the walls they have put up because of them. The author doesn’t shy away from the tough topics, but also doesn’t get bogged down in them. The characters’ challenges are realistically portrayed and emotionally drawn and balanced with healthy doses of humor and romance.
A fun read for a chilly day, check out “With Love, From Cold World” at a Denver Public Library branch near you. Looking for a way to expand your reading life? Sign up for Denver Public Library’s Winter of Reading. Participants ages 18 and up complete library-related challenges to earn library swag. Stop by any Denver Public Library branch to pick up a brochure. Winter of Reading runs now through the end of February.
Wendy Thomas is a librarian at the Smiley Branch Library. When not reading or recommending books, you can find her hiking with her dogs.