The One About Finding Friendship And Hope Through Grief: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings | Book Review

It’s time for another #TheWriteReads Blog Tour Book Review!

I was so happy to have been given the opportunity to take part in the The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings Ultimate Blog Tour.

#TheWriteReads were also kind enough to send me a ebook copy of the book to read and review for you all!

As always, while I did receive this books for free to review, all of my reviews are of my own personal opinion. My reviews will never be biased and I can guarantee honesty and transparency in all of my book reviews. 

Happy Reading, Alyssa

The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings

Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Length: 368 Pages

Publication Date: 1st November 2022



Goodreads Synopsis;

An amazing and captivating, curl-up-on-the-sofa debut about a magical frost fair and the lasting power of friendship.

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 . . . ?

Natasha Hastings was selected to join The London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme in 2019. Currently working as a fundraiser, she started developing The Frost Fair while studying History at Cambridge University, where she focused on gender and mental illness. She became determined, while exploring these topics, to have the lives of working women form the heartbeat of The Frost Fair.

The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings follows Thomasina as she deals with the immense grief of losing her twin brother, Arthur. Thomasina carries that grief and the blame of the incident years after his death, and even her own parents have grown distant over the years– her mother refusing to her bed and her father barely manages a glance at her. When the Thames freezes over, it seems like the perfect time to start anew. One night, a mysterious conjuror makes an offer that seems too good to be true, but Thomasina jumps at the chance to hopefully bring everything back to as it was before. After all, what he wants in return is but a small price to pay. But not everything is as it seems. The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings is a heartfelt middle grade tale of grief, friendship and hope encapsulated inside the beautiful snow globe of 1683 London.

I think I picked the perfect time to read this book. I started reading it one chilly Monday morning, under the covers, with a mug of steaming hot chocolate. This book is set against the backdrop of magical, wintery London and it was the perfect book to read this one cold morning to get me into the new season.

This book takes readers on a magical journey through the frost fair, accompanied by stunning illustrations by Alex T. Smith which are sprinkled in between the chapters. Surprisingly, the book did get quite tense towards the end with a couple of unexpected events taking place. The writing is absolutely beautiful– long descriptive paragraphs that paint a picture of a winter wonderland, complete with the sights, sounds and even smells of the surroundings. I love when authors take the time to describe little details like the smell of gingerbread cookies, because I felt a sense of nostalgia as I was reading. I remember growing up and baking gingerbread cookies with my family during the Christmas season; however, as I got older Christmas became a busier time of year where everyone feels the need to do everything all at once. After reading this book, I felt an inkling to restart that tradition again.

I appreciate the fact that this book features a character with a disability– Thomasina and her brother both have the “wheeze”, and asthma is a prevalent part of the story. It is always good to see disability representation in any forms of media; however, I cannot really offer any further insight as to whether it is accurate representation as I do not have any acknowledge or experience in the disability. I just feel like it is important to recognise, in the first place, that there is some available disability representation.

The theme of friendship features quite heavily in this book. Thomasina meets and befriends Anne Hawke, a young girl who recently moved to London and works at an apothecary shop. Together they form a friendship by baking and selling goods at the markets by the frozen Thames festival. Both characters have their own charms and quirks and I loved seeing how their friendship blossomed amidst Thomasina’s own personal troubles. It’s a gentle reminder that it is never too late to meet new friends, and in most cases, new friends come into our lives for a reason.

The magic of the world contained within this book is quite captivating and it was so easy to get lost in the setting and the characters. However, at the heart of it, this book tackles grief and the journey of acceptance in a sensitive and heartwarming way. This seems like a very relevant book to introduce to young readers because it weaves the difficult topic of grief alongside brilliant and captivating storytelling without it becoming too overwhelming. The book’s winter cold setting contrasts the warm, heartfelt message of this story. It’s like a warm hug on a cold day. A winter-ful debut novel.

4 stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About the Author

Natasha Hastings started developing The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair while studying history at Cambridge University, where she focused on gender and mental illness. While exploring these topics, she became determined to have the lives of working women, as well as their experiences of mental illness in this period, form the heartbeat of her debut book, The Frost Fair.

Have you read The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings?

Let me know in the comments below!

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