I received an ARC of the book from the publishers as part of the blog tour. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Fantasy Age Range: MG Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - first book
It’s winter, 1683, and the Great Frost has swept into London.
By day, thirteen-year-old Thomasina and her friend Anne peddle sweets on the frozen river, hearing rumors of the magical Frost Fair that awakens there at night. They say if you can find it, Father Winter himself will grant any wish you have.
And Thomasina has an impossible wish: the return of her twin brother, whose death left her family fractured.
But once they discover Father Winter’s icy kingdom, Thomasina and Anne quickly realize the Frost Fair isn’t exactly what it seems… and that some wishes never come for free.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
THE FROST FAIR is a delightful wintry tale of friendship, grief, and frost fair that promises much and hides dark secrets.
The book is set during the 1683-4 frost fair, which was one of the largest and best documented of the fairs set on the iced over Thames. It makes for a chilly read, as people hawk wares and enjoy entertainment on the river, cheered up by sweets and medicines made by Thomasina and Anne. (Also, yes for a historical set in my part of London! And in a period that is often overlooked – this one is set in the time of the STUARTS, who are painfully forgotten about in favour of the Tudors and the Georgians!)
The mortal frost fair with skates and colds contrasts to the magical one with ice bears and strange inhabitants who speak one phrase on repeat. It’s a nice mix of wonder and unease that only deepens as the book continues and the sinister aspects of the fair play out. I loved the slow tease of strange events and uncomfortable happenings, the sense that something is wrong but not what before all was revealed.
Alongside this tale of magic fairs and wintry days is a story of grief and friendship. Thomasina’s family has been ripped apart by the death of her brother – a death she holds herself responsible for. Every member of her family has reacted to it differently, creating a sense of isolation that compounds the grief. In the midst of this grief, though, she makes two new friends and finds ways to heal from that grief, coming to terms with what happened.