Laura Lee Smith novel ‘The Ice House’ to be released Dec. 5


St. Augustine writer Laura Lee Smith’s second novel, “The Ice House,” will be released by Grove Press Dec. 5.

The book, partly inspired by the iconic Ribera Street building that now houses The St. Augustine Distillery and The Ice Plant, tells the story of a man on the verge of losing his livelihood and of losing forever his relationship with his only son. 

Smith, who has been praised for her “intelligence, heart, wit” (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Empire Falls”), released her first book, “Heart of Palm,” in 2013. Set in St. Augustine and in the fictional town of Utina, “Heart of Palm” won wide acclaim and was dubbed “incandescent” by O, the Oprah Magazine. Her short fiction has also been featured in “Best American Short Stories” and “New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best.”

In “The Ice House,” Johnny MacKinnon might be on the verge of losing it all. The ice factory he married into, which he’s run for decades, is facing devastating OSHA fines following a mysterious accident and may have to close. He hasn’t spoken to his son Corran back in Scotland since Corran’s heroin addiction finally drove Johnny to the breaking point. And now, after a collapse on the factory floor, it appears Johnny may have a brain tumor.

Johnny’s been ordered to take it easy, but in some ways, he thinks, what’s left to lose? This may be his last chance to bridge the gap with Corran — and to have any sort of relationship with the baby granddaughter he’s never met.

On Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m., Smith will host a pre-release event at The St. Augustine Distillery at 112 Riberia Street in St. Augustine. Through a special arrangement with the publisher, “The Ice House” will be available for purchase nearly a week before its official release. Smith will sign copies and will speak briefly about the book’s development. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome, but space is limited, so please RSVP early by writing or visiting

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