Tuesday 8 October 2013

Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll

I was proper fed up with waiting. I’d been on look-out now for two whole hours and there was still no sign of Pa. At every noise my spirits rose, only to be dashed as a I glanced at the clock.
Published by Faber and Faber in October 2013
Pages – 359
Goodreads Summary
Tilly's heart sinks. Will's at the door of their cottage, daring her to come ice-skating up at Frost Hollow Hall. No one goes near the place these days. Rumour has it that the house is haunted . . . Ten years ago the young heir, Kit Barrington, drowned there in the lake. But Tilly never turns down a dare.
Then it goes horribly wrong. The ice breaks, Tilly falls through and almost drowns. At the point of death, a beautiful angel appears in the water and saves her. Kit Barrington's ghost.
Kit needs Tilly to solve the mystery of his death, so that his spirit can rest in peace. In order to discover all she can, Tilly gets work as a maid at Frost Hollow Hall. But the place makes her flesh crawl. It's all about the dead here, she's told, and in the heart of the house she soon discovers all manner of dark secrets . . .
It’s so lovely to read a book that can transport you back to childhood. Frost Hollow Hall is one of those book as it reminded me of the books that kept me company as a child, such as Tom’s Midnight Garden and The Children of Green Knowe. It has a real classic feel to it, that you don’t often find in children’s books these days.
Tilly Higgins is a really headstrong girl who stands up for herself and doesn’t let anyone walk over her. After nearly drowning in the frozen lake of Frost Hollow Hall she discovers that she has made a connection with the ghost of Kit Barrington and she must help him to put things right. The connection between them is an interesting plot point within the story.
I loved the inclusion of séances which were all the rage during that time period. The author highlights how many people desperately believed in these while others were more sceptical.
Under the main plot, there is a romantic subplot weaving through the story as Will shows his true feelings for Tilly. I found that rather sweet, as Will had a bit of a reputation with the girls.
The chapters are interspersed with shorter snippets of Tilly’s dreams where you see her in contact with Kit, which gives you a clearer picture of why he is communicating with her.
You can’t review this book without mentioning the gorgeous cover, which has a real Christmas feel to it.
A beautiful debut, that touches on the classics of childhoods gone by.

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