Frost Hollow Hall

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British Books Challenge 2016 – The Round Up

Published January 1, 2017 by bibliobeth

BBC pointed shaded

2016 was my fourth year of participating in the British Books Challenge. I love doing this every year and think it’s important to support our authors here in the UK, old and new. Here’s what I’ve managed to review this year in British Books!

Frost Hollow Hall – Emma Carroll

The Horse Dancer – Jojo Moyes

We Were Just Driving Around – Jon McGregor

Bella Broomstick – Lou Kuenzler

The Chamois – Daphne du Maurier

Silent Saturday – Helen Grant

The Demons Of Ghent – Helen Grant

Urban Legends – Helen Grant

The Demon Headmaster – Gillian Cross

Under The Pylon – Graham Joyce

The Versions Of Us – Laura Barnett

The Quality Of Silence – Rosamund Lupton

In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware

Duet – Kate Mosse

Carrie’s War – Nina Bawden

The Coral Strand – Ravinder Randhawa

Defender Of The Realm (Defender Of The Realm #1) – Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler

Strange Girls And Ordinary Women – Morgan McCarthy

The Samaritan (Carter Blake #2) – Mason Cross

Moving – Jenny Eclair

Enough Of This Shit Already – Tony Black

The Boy In The Dress – David Walliams

Jamaica Inn – Daphne du Maurier

Create Your Own Spy Mission – Andrew and Chris Judge

Charm For A Friend With A Lump – Helen Simpson

A Year Of Marvellous Ways – Sarah Winman

Noble Conflict – Malorie Blackman

The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins

The Inventory: Iron Fist (The Inventory #1) – Andy Briggs

Alfie Bloom And The Secrets Of Hexbridge Castle (Alfie Bloom #1) – Gabrielle Kent

Alfie Bloom And The Talisman Thief (Alfie Bloom #2) – Gabrielle Kent

Notes From The House Spirits – Lucy Wood

Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller

How I Finally Lost My Heart – Doris Lessing

The Bones Of You – Debbie Howells

According To Yes – Dawn French

The Borrowers – Mary Norton

Random Acts Of Unkindness – Jacqueline Ward

The Adventure Of The Speckled Band – Arthur Conan Doyle

Maggot Moon – Sally Gardner

Sweet Caress – William Boyd

The Girls – Lisa Jewell

The Oasis Of Time – Carolyn Waugh

Author Requests – Off Key by Mark Robertson, Piano From A 4th Storey Window by Jenny Morton Potts and The Death Of Danny Daggers by Haydn Wilks

The Love Song Of Miss Queenie Hennessy – Rachel Joyce

A Dictionary Of Mutual Understanding – Jackie Copleton

Garlic And Gauloises – Hemmie Martin

Looking For JJ (Jennifer Jones #1) – Anne Cassidy

If It Keeps On Raining – Jon McGregor

Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig

Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense Of The Twentieth Century – John Higgs

The Lordly Ones – Daphne du Maurier

Roseblood – Paul Doherty

The Last Act Of Love – Cathy Rentzenbrink

Tiger Moth – Graham Joyce

The Widow – Fiona Barton

The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase – Joan Aiken

The Puppet Master – Abigail Osborne

Under My Skin – James Dawson

Red Letter Day – Kate Mosse

Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner

Getting It Wrong – Ramsey Campbell

Disclaimer – Renée Knight

Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfeild

Among Others – Jo Walton

Chinese Whispers – Ben Chu

The Last Leaves Falling – Fox Benwell

Hogmanay Homicide – Edward Marston

 The Loving Husband – Christobel Kent

The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair

So if I’ve calculated correctly, that makes it 72 books for the British Books Challenge this year. It isn’t as much as last year but I’ve still made the target of 12 books a year which I’m very happy with, especially as I haven’t had a great blogging year with a lot of illness. 😦

Highlights from this year include Disclaimer by Renee Knight which I will treasure as not only is it a fantastic book but I also managed to meet the lady herself at Crime At The Court (hosted by Goldsboro Books, London) with my blogger buddy Cleopatra Loves Books. She’s lovely and so very talented and I will probably read anything she ever writes! The Last Act Of Love was also a hugely important and emotional book for me and I loved reviewing it with my sister, Chrissi Reads in our little “Talking About” feature which we do on occasion. Other honourable mentions go to Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig, Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, the Forbidden Spaces Trilogy by Helen Grant and the fabulous Emma Carroll who wrote the beautiful Frost Hollow Hall. I could go on and on. I’m certainly looking forward to reading some more “best of British” books in 2017! Look out for my sign up post coming soon.

Frost Hollow Hall – Emma Carroll

Published January 2, 2016 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

‘The gates to Frost Hollow Hall loomed before us. They were great tall things, the ironwork all twisted leaves and queer-looking flowers. And they were very definitely shut.’

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 . . .

‘Frost Hollow Hall’ is a thrilling historical fiction debut. Told in Tilly’s unique voice, it is a tale of love and loss, and how forgiveness is the key to recovery.

What did I think?:

Emma Carroll’s debut novel came highly recommended to me by my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads and after reading the beautiful synopsis, I was certain I was going to enjoy it. Well – I did more than that, in fact I LOVED it. Set in the 1800’s the author transports us to a world rich in detail, with a protagonist that will instantly win your heart and tells a story that will both chill and excite in equal measure. It begins in a cold February where our heroine Tilly Higgins and her friend Will Potter are on their way to the big house on the estate, Frost Hollow Hall where ten years ago, a horrifying tragedy occurred and led to the heir, a young boy called Kit Barrington, drowning as he fell through the ice while skating there. Now Tilly has been dared by Will to skate on that very same ice and she is not the kind of girl to shy away at a dare, especially from Will who half the girls in the village are in love with.

Then something terrible and wonderful happens. The ice breaks and Tilly soon slips through and it seems certain she too will succumb to its icy depths until a hazy figure appears to her underneath the ice and pushes her back up. This boy also appears to her in her dreams and she understands it to be the spirit of Kit Barrington who seems desperate for her to uncover the secrets behind his death. Compassionate Tilly knows she has to help him and despite the problems in her own family she manages to get a post as a maid at Frost Hollow Hall. With the help of Will, she starts to uncover the mysteries at the big house that Kit appears to be pushing her to reveal. There are certainly odd goings-on afoot, with poltergeist pottery that crashes around by itself, terrified staff, a housekeeper that seems to know a lot more than she is letting on, seances and Lady Barrington herself, wild with grief. Secrets are unearthed that will rock Tilly’s world indefinitely and teach her a whole lot about family, friendship, love, absolution, letting go and moving on.

This is such a beautiful book and a superior piece of writing that I will be eternally grateful that I’ve read it. The characters are all phenomenal and we see the growth of every single one throughout the novel but I had a special soft spot for Tilly, a normal, independent and loving girl that although she has problems of her own delights in being able to help other people. I also enjoyed her relationship with Will and how it developed through the novel and even Will himself becomes a much bigger person than what he first appeared to be directly through his experiences with Tilly. For anyone who is not sure about YA, please don’t let the genre put you off – this is a fantastic ghostly story that can be read and enjoyed by a wide variety of ages and, of course, it’s a perfect tale for this time of year. Curl up with Frost Hollow Hall, a blanket, a cup of tea (or other tipple!) and be prepared to be transported into a Victorian masterpiece that will grip you until the final page.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):