Frost Hollow Hall – Emma Carroll

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 . . .

Frost Hollow Hall is a thrilling historical fiction debut. Told in Tilly’s unique voice, it is a tale of love and loss, and how forgiveness is the key to recovery.

Other Books by the Author

The Girl Who Walked on Air (August 2014)

Extract from Frost Hollow Hall

Author Website

Interview with Emma Carroll

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30 thoughts on “Frost Hollow Hall – Emma Carroll

  1. It started quite fast, really jumping into the story and I like this. I can be put off by a long, slow introduction. It was really gripping because there was a lot of tension and suspense.
    I liked the end because, although Tilly lost her dad and her sister, she started a new, better relationship with her mother and all the mothers learned to put the past behind them and move on.
    Although it was a ghost story, I thought it was believable and I really liked this book.
    Summer Y7 Newminster

  2. As soon as I heard the title, I was dying to read this book! I read it over two days and fell in love with the story and characters straight away.
    Now her father and sister have gone, Tilly struggles to keep her mother going and make ends meet, so she desperately needs that job at Frost Hollow Hal, even if nobody else will go near the place.
    Bit by bit, Tilly uncovers the sad and shameful secrets hidden behind the locked gates of Frost Hollow Hall and pieces together the relationship between the drowned Kit Barrington and his sweetheart, Ada.
    This is an inspiring novel with brave, selfless characters – I cannot praise it enough.
    Amy Y8 Newminster

  3. I loved this book! It is a different story, unlike the other shortlisted novels, which everyone’s heard before. It is a intriguing story – once you start it you cannot stop. Everyone will love it!!!

  4. Frost Hollow Hall was a thrilling and nail-biting story which I couldn’t stop reading! From the start I was engrossed with the story and when I was reading this book I could really feel the emotions that the characters had felt. I really liked how the author Emma Carroll had produced the character ‘Tilly’ and shown how strong and brave she was and wouldn’t give up on finding out the truth.
    This book tells a story that you will never forget!
    By Laiba

    Frost Hollow Hall was an exciting, thrilling and spooky book. I thought it was the type of book I would read from the start because you didn’t know what came next and to tell the story you had to finish reading it all. I liked this book because it was a mystery tale where Tilly had to find out the truth so that other people could rest in peace and she could also find peace. The book was romantic, spooky and thrilling. Overall I really like this book especially since it is the type of book I would read.
    By Sarah

  5. This book was good and it had an exciting plot. I liked the use of period language with words like ‘queer’ used in a different way to how they are used now. As I read I could feel myself part of the story and it came to life around me.
    I liked the way Tilly’s dreams are placed in separate chapters. I think they are an essential part of the story and help to move it along. I would definitely read this book again.
    Stephanie Shek, Y6

  6. I liked this book very much. It drew me in to the extent that it almost turned the pages for me. The characters seemed very real, especially Tilly’s. It was easy to empathise with her and fairly soon I felt that her thoughts were mine.
    I enjoyed the plot because I simply couldn’t guess what was going to happen next or how it would end. I would never have worked out the reason for Kit’s death but I thought the ending was great and what Tilly deserved.
    Grace Coffey, Y6

  7. This is a gripping story and I enjoyed following the twists and turns until the secret was revealed. I really didn’t like the ‘dream’ chapters, however. They always turned up just at the point when something really exciting was about to happen and I wanted to find out what it was, not be distracted by dreaming. I know they were important to reveal more about Kit’s story and they cleverly bridged the gap between Kit’s time and Tilly’s – we might not have realised, near the end, that Tilly was dying from cold otherwise – but I still found them rather irritating. I did enjoy this book, though.
    Rachel Sharp, Y6

  8. I really enjoyed Frost Hollow Hall because it had a strong plot and I could relate easily to the main character, Tilly. I think the cover, picturing Tilly ahead of Will, sums up the story perfectly as she is the bolder and smarter of the two. The interactions of the characters fitted perfectly in the Victorian setting when everyone knew their place. I empathised with Mrs Jessop’s anger and fear. As I got to the last few pages, I really didn’t want this book to end.
    Emma Thorne, Y7

  9. I like this book because it has a really good story to it, it’s endlessly entertaining and I didn’t want to put it down.
    My favourite character is Tilly because I really got to know her. I felt for her when she knew her mother would prefer to lose her than her sister. I loved the way she wouldn’t be flattered when Will wanted to take her out. She was very independent and I felt like she was family by the end.
    Demi Wright, Y8

  10. This was an intriguing novel and I really enjoyed reading it. It jumped straight into the action and I was hooked from the start, finding it a wrench to put down.
    The characters were brilliant. I loved how the relationship between Will and Tilly developed; Will wanting Tilly mainly because she clearly wasn’t interested in him and then winning her over by just showing he cared rather than by showing off.
    I particularly liked the dream sequences. They made a nice short break between long chapters, a really good excuse for reading just a bit further! Although other people thought they were a distraction to the main story, I strongly disagree! They were, in my opinion, creative pieces of text that tied the novel together and revealed important information about Kit.
    Natalie Urwin, Y8

  11. Emma Carroll really developed the characters well, to the point where I felt I knew Tilly as a person. She managed to build the tension so that the spookiest lines sent real chills through my body. I wouldn’t get up until late as the end of each chapter left me on such tenterhooks, I had to read on!
    On the down side, although the description was brilliant and the story well written, I did notice bits of slang in the narrative, which surprised and disappointed me as they didn’t fit with the period feel of the novel.
    I was also rather disappointed not to know whether Tilly’s father and sister ever returned, whether the spirits of Ada and Kit ever visited Mrs Jessop, Lady Barrington and Tilly later in life and what happened to Dorcas. She seemed so important to the story then got forgotten.
    Rosie Bowden, Y7

  12. This book was nice to read. I liked the beginning better than the rest of the story because I enjoyed finding out all about Tilly’s family and what was going on in it. This was really interesting. Tilly was probably my favourite character because she was fun.
    Ava Harley, Y7

  13. I’m very happy that I’ve read this book. I thought it was spooky! The bit that sticks in my mind was when Kit saved Tilly from drowning. It was very tense and I couldn’t tell what was going to happen.
    Alex Bartley, Y6

  14. This book is mainly about Tilly who thinks she’s been saved from drowning by a ghost and is obsessed with discovering how he died and putting him at peace.
    I can see why this book was shortlisted for NEBA. It’s not like any story I’ve read before and was really well plotted. I enjoyed the short chapters where Tilly is dreaming and don’t understand why some people found them irritating. Sometimes I even looked ahead to see when the next one was coming!
    Charlotte Urwin, Y6

  15. This book tells the story of Tilly, a village girl, who lives near a large and reputedly haunted house called Frost Hollow Hall. Following a skating accident, Tilly realises that a ghost has saved her from an icy grave and that there are some unspoken truths that need uncovering in the hall.
    Having read it, I think this book is very good but my first impressions were not favourable. I thought the cover was childish and the plot outline didn’t appeal to me. I was worried that the book would be full of clichés and rather boring. As it turned out, the author is tremendously skilled and I enjoyed the story immensely!
    I thought the dreaming chapters were a brilliant addition to the story and the change of pace made a welcome break after the action of the longer chapters. They added to the story and gave me more to think about. They also kept the character of Kit Barrington in the frame and helped the reader make the connection between him and Tilly.
    One thing I didn’t like was the way the whole book seemed to be written with the same local accent that Tilly uses. I realise that this reinforces that the story is coming from Tilly’s perspective but I thought it was a bit intrusive.
    Overall, this book was an exciting mystery which I thoroughly enjoyed despite my initial misgivings.
    Kathleen Swinglehurst, Y8

  16. I really loved this book because it told a magical tale. It had so many little things that made me just like, “I have GOT to read this chapter before bedtime!”

    Once I started this book, I could really never put it down! It was a perfect mix of feelings- some scary, happy, romantic, sad- I also actually felt moved to tears as I got nearer to the end! That is what I think success is about when writing a book. If you can actually make your readers feel something, that is what a true author is all about. The other thing about the writing was that I could imagine every little thing. I think I even had a dream that Tilly was falling through the ice and Kit rescued her! I could also feel the love that Tilly had for Will Potter- I love that contrast between what she thought of him before and then that leading into holding hands with him at the end!

    Something else that made my heart leap was that secret. Oh, my, what a challenge it was to pull that one off! I would never been able to do it! I couldn’t believe that one word could have lead Kit Barrington to actually be alive! How amazing.
    One of my absolute FAVOURITE books now! Wow…

    By Mayisha

  17. I think Frost Hollow Hall was gripping and constantly had me on edge! I really liked the character of Till as well.

    By Sarah, Y7
    Richard Coates Middle School

  18. A great book with the perfect mix of action and mystery, I really enjoyed this book and hope you’ll write more books like this.

    By Isabella, Y7
    Richard Coates Middle School

  19. Frost Hollow Hall was a gripping tale and I love it. After I read it, I stayed away from lakes for months.

    By Charlie, Y7
    Richard Coates Middle School

  20. My favourite part was when Madame Mortineau summons the spirit of Ada in Kit’s bedroom. My favourite character was Mrs Jessop because she was so creepy.
    Atifa Mahin

  21. This was a very enjoyable book and the Victorian setting added to the mysterious atmosphere. I loved the dreaming chapters because they moved the story on and made it more interesting. I liked the character of Tilly. She was so strong and resilient even though her mum preferred her over her sister. I was glad when her mum came to value her at the end. I loved the ending because everything was rounded off perfectly and Tilly realised that Will really cared for her and that she cared about him.
    Julia Swinglehurst, Y6

  22. I found this story dragged at first but once the action started it got more interesting. I found the plot rather predictable, which was annoying. Every time a new hint was dropped, (like Tilly discovering there were two ghosts not one), I found I was right rather than being surprised and drawn in. Despite this, I thought the story was interesting and most chapters had something that appealed to me. The chapters titled dreaming really annoyed me though. After the first three, I decided that they were totally unnecessary and were irritatingly placed at the most awkward spots – the places where the story started to liven up! I think Frost Hollow Hall was a good book but probably not for me.
    Tom Colvin, Y8

  23. This book is my favourite so far. I love the suspense and quirkiness of the characters as they try to uncover the secrets in Frost Hollow Hall. The plot was really interesting and kept the pages turning all the way through. It was fun to follow the interactions between the different characters, especially between Tilly and Will.
    Rosabel Rees, Y8

  24. I enjoyed Frost Hollow Hall. Tilly made it seem real and alive and I loved the mystery and spookiness. I thought the way that Tilly seemed to be following in Kit’s footsteps in order to reveal what had happened in the past was clever and atmospheric. I was happy that the author gave the characters a proper ending and didn’t leave me wanting to know what happened to them in the future.
    I would like to read about the Kit and Ada growing up because they were very different socially and their friendship must have been a bit of a problem for their parents.
    Rebekah Hudson, Y6

  25. I liked this book so much it was hard to put down. I loved the secretiveness of Mrs Jessop and I thought the use of language was brilliant. Ma was my favourite character because she was very normal and it was easy to understand why she behaved the way she did even though she wasn’t very pleasant. I’d like to have known what happened to Pa and Eliza.
    Martha Hornett, Y6

  26. This was a very good book. I really liked viewing events from Tilly’s point of view and I felt very sorry for her when her father and sister left her behind, though I suspect Tilly wouldn’t want pity! I think Tilly was flattered when Kit turned to her for help because she wasn’t used to people valuing her. I’d like to have known what happened to Mrs Jessop and I felt that Tilly’s father and sister were developed to a point where we wanted to know what became of them. I was really surprised that they didn’t feature in the rest of the story.
    Morgan Brown, Y7

  27. This was a lovely emotional book but I didn’t find the twist very satisfying. I was hoping that things were not as they seemed and perhaps it wasn’t Kit who drowned, but someone else. I just felt, “Is that it?” I felt rather let down. However, Tilly was a wonderful character, brimming with common sense and independence and also very caring. The build up of tension was excellent and I found it hard to put down because I so wanted to know what was going to happen next.
    Jessica Hawkins, Y7

  28. I really liked this book. It has an amazing plot, although a bit predictable at times, but I thought it was good that the writer hasn’t tried to over-complicate the plot.

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