*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A GRANDFATHER CLOCK. A GLASS LOCKET. A POWERFUL CURSE UNLEASHED ON CHRISTMAS EVE.
Twelve-year-old Kitty Wigeon can’t wait for Christmas at St Flurries, a grand old manor house in the countryside, until one chilly night she vanishes without a trace.
One hundred years later… Still grieving over the death of their mother, Kes Bunting and his younger sister Star, are sent to live at St Flurries. They find a house steeped in mystery and brimming with secrets.
Who, or what, is making footprints in the snow?
And what evil force is taking a cold grip on Star?
Wrap up warm as you join Kes, and a cast of eccentric snow creatures, in a race against time to solve a hundred-year-old curse. Will he succeed? Or will the fate of his sister be decided by a shivery kiss from… the Snow Witch?
Loved this middle-grade fantasy adventure!
Here you will find some familiar tropes of adventurous orphans, Romany curses and strange men skulking about suspiciously. Rosie Boyes has, however, breathed her own life into the story with the exquisite pathos of the Snow Witch’s tale, and the travails and courage of Kittie, Kes and Star.
The story covers two time periods. First we have the story of Kes and Star as they are sent to St Flurries to meet their new guardian and start a new adventure…literally! For not all is as it seems at the old house, with items going missing and a clock that runs backwards. Then we also have the story of the disappearance of Kitty 100 years earlier and gradually the author intertwines the two, weaving in the hints and clues with some surprising twists along the way.
There are plenty of memorable adult characters alongside the child-heroes, including the piratical Goldie, motherly Mrs ChiffChaff, charmingly eccentric Guinevere and, of course, the children’s mysterious new guardian. The atmosphere is perfectly pitched for a children’s fantasy adventure and reminded me of my own childhood favourites, such as The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge and Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles.
There are some genuinely heartbreaking moments here amongst the cute snow animals and fast-paced action: the injustice of the curse and the resulting effects are (pardon the pun) chilling, and the children’s’ experiences under the ‘care’ of Mrs Auk are authentically bleak. But the overall tone is one of love, positivity and hope that warmed my heart in this chilly season.
There is plenty of scope here for more adventures in the delightful ambience of St Flurries and its inhabitants and I would love to see more from this author (in this setting or not!). I would highly recommend this to anyone (8+) who enjoys a good, easy fantasy adventure read.
When their mother died, he and Star had moved from their rambling country cottage, smelling sweetly of roses and lavender, to live in the cramped three-storey house in the city. He had been a spindly eleven-years-old at the time. Not old enough to understand the change in his life, and more importantly, why his mother had not returned home that night. Or any other night. And since then, not only had he grown in maturity, but he had also grown half-an-inch in height.
– Rosie Boyes, The Snow Witch
The Snow Witch is available to buy on Amazon right now!