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Kelly Sheffield is a talented photojournalist on a career-changing assignment. She was once a love-struck student, but that was many years and thousands of miles ago. As Melt (Bella) opens, we learn that the object of her past admiration and naive crush was one of her college professors. However, Jordan Westgate only responded with a cool friendship that kept Kelly at arm’s length. Kelly has never forgotten Jordan, nor have her feelings for her cooled. So when Kelly is presented with the opportunity to make a name for herself by accepting the opportunity of a lifetime, she considers it a bonus that one of people on the agenda for the project is none other than Professor Jordan Westgate. Jordan is working in Greenland, heading up a project with a team studying the glacial movement and the impact of global warming on the land and its ice floes. Kelly formulates a plan to show Jordan just what she missed all those years ago when she abruptly said goodbye to Kelly just before relocating to southern California, leaving Kelly behind hurt and bewildered. However, when the two women meet, things don’t go exactly according to plan.
Kelly has been on the move through the tundra, desperate to get help for Pippa, who disappeared during what was supposed to be an easy day hike to take in the coastal region’s beauty. Kelly uses her wits as best she can to find her way to get help, not knowing if Pippa is alive or dead. Help comes in the form of a native elder, who takes the frantic and bedraggled Kelly up river to the only help available, to the camp of the scientists studying the glacier, headed by Jordan Westgate.
Jordan quickly recognizes that Kelly is no longer the timid, lovesick child she once knew. She seems to be a very self-assured young woman with a real gusto for life and her work. Jordan has spent her life being reserved, shutting out any possibility of establishing a deep relationship, and with good reason. However, this reserve also makes her hesitate to explore whether or not she still has any feelings for Kelly. After all, Jordan doesn’t know who Pippa is or what her relationship to Kelly is, but she’s also afraid to ask any personal questions, let alone let go of her own inhibitions in order to find love and true meaning in her life. One thing is for certain, though: Kelly has grown into a beautiful, mature young woman, and that does give the professor pause. For Kelly’s part, she knows this meeting is not how she had envisioned her first encounter with Jordan would go after all these years. Nor is she sure what the relationship between Jordan and one of her students actually is. Perhaps Jordan is no longer the noble teacher Kelly once thought her to be, and perhaps she isn’t as available as Kelly envisioned she might be.
McCoy has given us a richly drawn land and presented us with a history of the native peoples in a clever, creative manner. The glacier becomes a character in itself, filled with wild and dangerous beauty. As the story unfolds, we wonder if misunderstanding will ever be cleared up or if it’s just too late for Kelly and Jordan. Maybe too much time has passed, widening the gap in a relationship that may have only existed in the younger Kelly’s mind. The character of Pippa is an enigma. She is both young and naïve, but she has an aspect of an old soul. She’s a seeker, and much to Kelly’s chagrin, she’s chosen Kelly to be her teacher, whether she likes it or not. Poignant moments are punctuated with humorous conversations between Kelly and Pippa. Mix-ups and mistakes abound between Kelly and Jordan. The glacier is melting and it’s debatable whether or not Jordan and Kelly’s hearts will melt and meld together. Melt is a romance told in true Robbi McCoy page-turning fashion. She gives us beautiful vistas of a remote land and a historical perspective to delight and entertain, teaching us along the way.
By Robbi McCoy
Paperback, 9781594933530, 266 pp.