In her debut novel, Frozen Voices, Lynne Heinzmann has performed magic beyond even the skills of Harry Houdini, one of her most delightful characters. Heinzmann pulls off an astonishing feat of literary legerdemain, resurrecting real people who, in February 1907, were passengers on the steamship Larchmont, a vessel which sank off the coast of Rhode Island, taking 137 souls down with her: “drowned, frozen, or scalded to death.” In giving voice and vitality to a group of these passengers, Heinzmann combines meticulous historical research with a humane and generous imagination. Readers will live and breathe with the four narrators of the novel, as we see them before, during and—for some—after the disaster. Frozen Voices weaves the characters and events aboard this doomed ship into a complex and spellbinding tale. In the end, readers are left with exactly the reactions that should follow such an act of wondrous conjuration: we are amazed and deeply touched.
Hollis Seamon, author of Somebody Up There Hates You and Corporeality
Lynne Heinzmann uses painstaking research and a gift for characterization to bring historical figures to life and recreate the tragic loss of the Larchmont. Carefully spun through the voices of those who survived and those who didn’t, this tale will draw you in and keep you in suspense until its final pages. Frozen Voices convincingly recreates the journey of the Larchmont and those on board through both the icy waters of the Atlantic and the all too human heart.
Karen Osborn, Author of such novels as Centerville and The River Road.
It’s an ambitious piece of storytelling with multiple and intersecting points of view and characters that are clearly and indelibly drawn, including Harry Houdini. I was reminded of E.L. Doctorow.
Richard Hoffman, author of Love & Fury and senior writer-in-residence at Emerson College.
This is a crisp and readable novelization of the steamship Larchmont disaster, which claimed the lives of 137 people off the Rhode Island coast in February 1907.
The best historical fiction often simultaneously relates little-known or forgotten events while breathing life into the people affected by them. Frozen Voices is in this category....
Locksmith's apprentice and aspiring magician Millard Franklin is among the livelier personae.... Perhaps [Heinzmann's] most fascinating character, the magician Harry Houdini plays a relatively minor but pivotal plot role as Millard's prospective employer.
Realism asserts itself, however, in the tragic and dismal climax, and the starry-eyed quality of the story's beginnings serves as a stark contrast to this poorly understood event. Contrast is the book's strongest suit. Well worth reading.
Jackie Drohan, Historical Novels Review, Issue 80: May 2017