Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair a lovely wintery children’s book and beginning of what seems to be an amazing series!  You can find out why I loved this book so much in my review below, but first I’d just like to thank The Write Reads and the publisher for a copy of the book and the chance to be on this tour!  Now, let’s find out why I enjoyed this so much…

Title: The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair (The Miraculous Sweetmakers #1)
Author: Natasha Hastings
Illustrator: Alex T. Smith
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Genre: Older children’s/middle grade ficiton, Historical, Fantasy
Book format: Pre-publication copy of hardback
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Description:  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 an 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…?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  Oh, this is such an amazing read, I can’t believe how much I have enjoyed it!  When Thomasina was nine years old, she and her twin brother were returning to their home when Arthur, her brother, struggling to breathe in the very cold conditions, collapsed and died.  Four years on and Thomasina has never been able to stop feeling guilty about his death and the horrible thing she said to him before he died.  Life for Thomasina’s family changed after Arthur’s death and she’d do anything to bring him back so their lives would be normal again and her mother and father would be happy.  So  when one night she finds a strange and icy man outside her door who promises to be able to bring Arthur back to her, in exchange for visiting a frost fair with her, she agrees realising the consequences.

The Miraculous Sweetmakers book page image three
©The Strawberry Post

This is such a brilliant book and what happens is so interesting.  Thomasina’s family have never been able to get over the grief of losing Arthur and Thomasina finds herself talking to him everyday while her father hardly ever speaks to her except to tell her what to do, and her mother is so consumed by her grief that she’s moved into the attic room with Thomasina, never leaving the bed.  Thomasina does her best to try and help her family with the business, even more so when a Frost Fair is set up on the frozen river Thames and she and her dad set up a stall there to sell gingerbread and other sweet treats.

During one night however, Thomasina ends up meeting a strange man called Inigo who promises he can bring her brother back to life and all she would have to do is accompany him for four nights to the Other Frost Fair. Despite her concerns, Thomasina’s overwhelming desperation to bring her bother back sees her visiting this Other Frost Fair as a guest of Father Winter’s and it is a magical and interesting  place with Frost Beasts made of ice that prowl around and keep out those who are not welcome.  I love how magical this other frost fair ends up being and how at first everything seems to be so wonderful even though you can feel some eeriness to the place.

The Miraculous Sweetmakers book page image four
©The Strawberry Post

As the story continues things begin to change after Thomasina’s visits the other frost fair and we find out more about this strange magical place and the dark and creepy atmosphere emitted by some of the Frost Folk and Father Winter.  After the second time we see Father Winter I did guess what was happening with him and Thomasina but I didn’t know anything else about how this story would go and it was so brilliant and I like how weird and eerie everything is along with Inigo’s character who is more interesting the further you read on.

As the story moves on a lot happens and Thomasina ends up discovering some truths about what is happening during her nightly visits to the other Frost Fair.  I also like the friendships she develops, with two characters, especially Anne and what the two girls end up creating together which I wish there was more of in this story as I love the idea of medicinal sweet treats.  Another aspect of this book which made it more interesting to read is the asthma Thomasina suffers from and how it affects her in the story too.  It’s interesting to see and I like how this was incorporated into the story, as is the obvious effects of dealing with bereavement and grief and also guilt.

The Miraculous Sweetmakers book page image five
©The Strawberry Post

So many things are revealed toward the end of the story and I love what happens with all of the characters.  There is a brilliant final ending to the tale and I really like how there were some twists I wasn’t expecting.  Overall the ending is very good ending things nicely, not just for Thomasina but for others too including Miss Maplethorpe.  The whole story is so lovely and magical and the perfect magical winter adventure.  The atmosphere and setting is beautiful and I love all the frosty things like the Frost Bear and how everything wraps up so nicely.  But I also love how this story does have a darker side too, not just with the eerie atmosphere in the Other Frost Fair, but also with how it deals with loss and grief and how it and guilt can consume someone.  I think this topic was tackeled really well for a children’s book and it’s wrapped up well into a lovely historical fantasy tale.

This story feels like a good standalone novel but I do think/hope that it’ll be a part of a bigger series as I want to see more of The Miraculous Sweetmakers and the different treats they create.   The illustrations are in this novel are so beautiful.  Some of them are among the text while others take up a whole page and even spill out onto other pages.  Each of the illustrations is in black, white and grey and they all really add to the magic of this tale.  You can see everyone’s expressions so well, and the magical frosty feel of the fair and some of the creatures is visible through the images.  The illustrations just make this all the more enjoyable to read and it makes this such a special book to look at! 🙂

The Miraculous Sweetmakers book page image six
©The Strawberry Post

Overall this is such a lovely story with an ending that is so good and also so beautiful and poignant at the end too.  It’s a lovely tale and one I know I’ll be re-reading again.  In fact it’s one of my favourite children’s books this year and one I would really recommend especially if you like the idea of magical night time frost fairs and historical fiction set in the 17th century.

The Miraculous Sweetmakers front cover
©The Strawberry Post – Beautiful shiny golden details on the front cover!


Buy the Book

The Miraculous Sweetmakers book cover

Buy from Amazon UK    Buy from Amazon US

About the Author

Natasha Hastings author pic

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.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my stop on the blog tour for this amazing book.  Please do check out the other stops on the tour by searching for the hashtags #TheMiraculousSweetmakers #TheFrostFair and #TheWriteReads. 🙂

What do you think of this book?  Do you like reading children’s fantasy or historical novels?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂