4 stars to Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll

Published December 19, 2013 by katheryn13

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 . . .

Review:

I picked this up mostly because the cover is so pretty and wintery and it just called to me. I didn’t realise just how lovely the story would turn out to be, also.

A different kind of ghost story, this one is set in 19th century England (not entirely sure where). It’s a nice change, and it’s not the scary, hide-behind-your-pillow frightening.  It’s simplicity is what makes it such a good read.

Tilly lives with her mother and sister, and they are very poor. While waiting for her father to come home, Will Potter, a good looking, but ridiculously infuriating ladies man, knocks to invite Tilly out.

About ten years prior, a young boy named Kit Barrington, drowned in the lake by Frost Hollow Hall, and stories are rife that Frost Hollow is haunted, that Kit’s mother has grown…strange. Nobody really knows what happened. Then in an accident that can only be put down to stupidity (in my view) Tilly falls through the ice and discovers a saviour. In the form of Kit.

Tilly goes on a mission to help Kit. He’s troubled. Something is stopping him from passing on, and his spirit lingers over not just the lake, but his mother. But there’s also another spirit in for which Tilly soon works the connection.

The Hall employs Tilly, and she soon learns what the people close to Kit have to say and that they hold terrible secrets.

This tale is both chilling but in a subtle way, and romantic, but not necessarily in the traditional sense. The back and forth bickering between Will and Tilly is charming. I’ll admit, a part of me thought Kit and Tilly would have some sort of ghostly romance, but then that’s because I read too many books where the ghosts are corporeal.

The pacing was perfect, and the writing style different to what I’m used to, but once I got used to it, the story flew by.

A great winter read if ever there was one,  and one that shall probably remain with me for a long time.

Kat

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