The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair

The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair

By Author / Illustrator

Natasha Hastings, Alex T. Smith


Magical Realism

Age range(s)



HarperCollins Publishers




Paperback / softback




A spellbinding and unforgettable tale of deep friendship, glittering magic and enchanting mystery, perfect for fans of Tamzin Merchant, Abi Elphinstone and Anna James.

The Great Frost of 1683 has London in its icy grip.  Thomasina and her best friend Anne sell sweets on the frozen Thames, amid rumours of the magical Frost Fair that awakens there at night. They say if you can find the fair, Father Winter himself will grant you any wish.  And Thomasina has an impossible wish: the return of her twin brother, Arthur.  But once they discover Father Winter's kingdom, Thomasina and Anne quickly realize the Frost Fair is not what it seems - and that some wishes never come for free.  

'A heartwarming, wintry treat of a read perfect to snuggle up with on cold, snowy days' Hannah Gold, bestselling author of The Last Bear.  'A lovely, frosty debut that combines cosy details and a pacy adventure with thoughtful explorations of grief and responsibility' Anna James, bestselling author of the Pages & Co. series.  'Spooky and haunting' Philippa Gregory.  'Exciting and mysterious' The Bookseller. 'A gripping, atmospheric, fantastical tale' Kirkus. 'A beautifully well-written story of magic and fantasy set in 17th century London' ReadingZone.



The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings is a beautifully well-written story of magic and fantasy set in 17th century London, at the time of the Great Frost. The story tackles issues of disability and mental health and draws us into a child's journey of grief upon losing a twin brother.

This story is different from many that I have read, in that within the first chapters we lose a significant character. The story opens with the main character Thomasina and her twin brother racing through London on a cold wintry night. When Arthur suddenly has an asthma attack, Thomasina does not realise how life threatening the attack is and, although she runs for help, Arthur doesn't recover.

The family is deeply affected by the death of Arthur and Thomasina blames herself, but things begin to change when Thomasina is approached by a mysterious man who claims he can do magic to bring Arthur back from the dead. Overwhelmed by grief, Thomasina agrees to his conditions and she is taken to meet Father Winter at the Other Frost Fair, who begins to perform the magical procedure. However, her friend Anne is certain that something is not right. The young girls find themselves drawn into a mystery that dates back hundreds of years and must save London from a danger that nobody else can see.

The main theme in this story is, even when things seem bleak and completely impossible, there is always a way to overcome everything. Joy and hope create new beginnings. I would recommend this book for KS2 to help support the PSHE curriculum because it tackles issues about disability and mental health in way that will be understood by children.

448 pages / Reviewed by Hayley Summerfield, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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