The second of Red Eye’s Young Adult titles published this month is Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell and it’s a pretty creepy tale even for someone whose a long way from being a young adult.
When Sophie’s pal Jay downloads a Ouija-Board app to his phone Sophie suggests contacting her dead cousin Rebecca. Jay is daft enough to ask Rebecca when he will die and naturally that night his corpse is fished out of the canal. As if that isn’t bad enough Sophie is going to stay with Rebecca’s family in their new house on the Isle of Skye while her parents are away in America.
Arriving at the converted Victorian schoolhouse we find just about everything we need for a frightfest. The house certainly has a bit of previous, a number of pupils and the school mistress died in mysterious circumstances; it’s close to mountain path with a sheer drop to the sea and is often shrouded in fog. Rebecca’s room has been preserved as if a shrine and contains a collection of tiny porcelain Victorian dolls found at the school – the Frozen Charlottes.
The family aren’t much better. Elder cousin Cameron, once a promising pianist, is moody and withdrawn, walking around with his hand permanently in his pocket. the legacy of a house fire. Little cousin Lilias sees stuff, and is obsessed with murders and bones. Only Piper who is around Sophie’s own age appears to be anything like normal if a bit wayward. There’s even a one eyed cat and a screeching parrot.
And then the tiny dolls start talking.
More Henry James than MR Frozen Charlotte is a very entertaining read. Sure the basic idea may be a bit hokey, but it is well written, the characters are nicely imagined and they have a very natural dynamic between them despite their weirdness. There are one or two concessions to the YA market, but once it gets cracking you just get caught up in the sheer horror of both the supernatural goings on and just how nasty teenage girls can be to each other.
A genuinely creepy tale that can easily hold its own with much adult genre fiction
I give Frozen Charlotte a 555/666
Frozen Charlotte is published by Red Eye price £6.99
Alex Bell always wanted to be a writer, but embarked upon a Law Degree as a back-up plan, writing no fewer than six novels during her time at university. Now the published author of The Ninth Circle and Jasmyn, Alex happily dwells in an entirely make-believe world of blood, madness, murder and mayhem.
Trivia: The Frozen Charlotte dolls were manufactured in 19th century Germany and were sometimes used as a substitute for ice when cooling drinks. they are dead creepy looking things.