The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair – Natasha Hastings

Published By: Harper Collins
Pages: 400
Released On: 27/10/2022

It’s a cold winter during the Great Frost of 1683. Thomasina and Anne are the best of friends, one running her father’s sweet shop and the other the apprentice at the family apothecary – together they sell their goods on the frozen River Thames. When a family tragedy turns Thomasina’s world upside down, she is drawn to a mysterious conjuror and the enchanted frost fair.

But soon the world of Father Winter threatens to claim everything she holds dear. Will they be able to solve the magical mysteries that surround them . . . ?


Oh shut up – how fabulous is this book?!

I’ve been coveting it for ages, living vicariously through people on Twitter who received early copies of it, desperate to read it. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Okay, so I know Amazon says it’s aimed at 9-12 year olds, and I’m more than 3 times the lower age. But do I care? Not a jot. The calibre of kids books these days is amazing, and it’s getting to a point where I’d rather read the kids books than the adult. Sometimes you need a bit of fun and magic in your life, and this is perfect for that.

From the sparkly sweet cover I wasn’t expecting quite a hard hitting story. I was expecting whimsy and magic and sweetness, and whilst we did get that, there is so much more.

For me, it’s more character driven than plot, which I personally like. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a very good plot too, but I enjoyed the exploration of each character. They’re given their time to explore their character fully, and they are all so brilliantly created, there wasn’t a dud amongst them.

I know it not helpful considering I’m a book reviewer, but I cannot begin to explain how well the description is in this. For things so simple like the weather, it’s laced with magic and just takes my breath away. You can feel the ice on your skin and smell the intoxicating gingerbread. Just gorgeous.

This is illustrated by Alex T Smith. I hadn’t heard of him prior to this year, but now I seem to be buying his books left, right and centre. Him and Christmas are just made to be together.

It’s an age-appropriate but haunting tale of love, loss, friendship and grief. It’s multi-layered, with some quite adult themes such as death, depression and mental illness, but it’s executed very well. The balance makes it an interesting read as well as being fun and entertaining.

This may be a bizarre thing to say but I really appreciated asthma being a big part of the book. A lot of books have illness in, but I’ve never seen asthma in one. I’ve been asthmatic since birth and I don’t think everyone realises just how serious it can be, so it was personally, a nice touch.

And not that it has any standing on the book itself, but it is so cute. It’s about A5 size, hardback, with a beautiful cover. It would look perfect on anyone’s bookshelf. And..I took the dust jacket off and it’s even more beautiful underneath; bright red with silver detailing that just adds to my festive love.

I’m not sure if Natasha plans this to be the first book in a series or not, but I would love to see where Thomasina’s journey takes us next.

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