Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll
|Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Anne Thompson|
|Summary: A lovely debut novel, this Victorian ghost mystery is an engrossing read with a classic feel.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: October 2013|
|Publisher: Faber and Faber|
|External links: Author's website|
The ten year old me would have absolutely adored this Victorian ghost mystery and I’m now considerably older than 10 and still devoured this lovely book in one sitting. Winter, 1881 and Tilly has sneaked into the grounds of Frost Hollow Hall. She is not supposed to be there. Ten years previously a young boy, Kit Barrington, drowned in the lake and as Tilly skates on the frozen surface she forgets the stories she has heard in the village and is no longer afraid. Then the ice breaks and she is underwater. Close to death, Tilly is saved by a beautiful boy. It is Kit’s ghost and he needs Tilly’s help.
When we meet Tilly she is living in the village with her mother and sister. One day her friend Will arrives at their cottage and dares her to go skating on the frozen lake at Frost Hollow Hall with him. Tilly is afraid, however, she never refuses a dare so goes with him to the grounds of the great house she has heard so much about. When the dare goes badly wrong Tilly’s life takes a dramatic turn. In order to help Kit’s ghost unravel the mystery of his death she gets a job as a maid at Frost Hollow Hall. Once there she discovers that the house is creepy and sinister and that both the house and the people in it are hiding secrets. Can Tilly get to the bottom of the mystery and help Kit’s ghost to finally be at peace?
This debut novel by Emma Carroll is deliciously spooky with bumps in the night, secrets and strange happenings that are not too terrifying for those of a very sensitive disposition. The house looms large in the story and has an important role. For me this had a similar feel to Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce and would suit the type of reader who would move on to Rebecca, Jane Eyre or The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield as teenagers.
The sense of time and place is conveyed extremely well and there is a proper period-feel to the story. The voice of the narrator, Tilly, is appealing. She is an engaging character being just the right balance between feistiness and warmth. As a reader I grew to care about her, a sure sign of a good book. The chapters are interspersed with Tilly’s dreams which despite my initial misgivings worked well and helped to support the plot and the way in which the main characters behaved.
Alongside the mystery this book also deals with the important themes of grief, loss and forgiveness giving young readers something to think about. Tilly’s relationship with her own family is interesting too and as we watch her grow and develop we see her character learn that things are not always as they seem and we can at times not appreciate what we already have.
This is an excellent read to curl up with on a winter’s evening and highly recommended for confident readers of about 9 years upwards. Last but not least it has a beautiful cover too, always helpful in attracting readers!
I would like to thank the publishers for sending this copy of the book to Bookbag.
If you have not already discovered Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce please do give it a try, it is a children's classic and a wonderful read. For children who like to be scared by ghostly happenings Bookbag can recommend Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley
You can read more book reviews or buy Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll at Amazon.com.
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