My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“Frozen Charlotte is a name used to describe a specific form of china doll made from c. 1850 to c. 1920. The name comes from the American folk ballad Fair Charlotte, which tells of a young girl called Charlotte who refused to wrap up warmly to go on a sleigh ride because she did not want to cover up her pretty dress; she froze to death during the journey.”
This was certainly an interesting book. So, you’re probably wondering why I gave it only three stars then? For a variety of reasons, but let me start with my review:
I love scary dolls. I feel like they’re so easy to make creepy – as evidenced by the original killer doll, Chucky. Dolls are the perfect vessels for horror – and I just can’t seem to get enough of their use in novels and movies – so I was definitely interested in the idea of a book that involved haunted dolls and a haunted home that was originally a schoolhouse but was closed due to several deaths.
The story pretty much starts off right away (something I did like) and we first learn about a all-girls’ school (this becomes the eventual home of Sophie’s step-uncle’s family, and our main setting) that has a young – recently blinded (though how her eyes were ‘ruined’ is not mentioned) – girl who does not want to play with the other girls. In an attempt to immerse the girl back in, the school mistress brings her to these girls, but the teacher is soon shocked to see that the girls are having a funeral for their Frozen Charlotte dolls. The teacher demands they stop it at once, but then one of the girls tells her that the dolls liking being dead…they told the girls. Spooky.
The first chapter starts after this eerie prologue, and immediately there’s a Ouija board, a ghostly presence, and a death. But right after that, we’re brought to our main setting, and the MC, Sophie, is thrust into the rest of this ghost story.
I thought the writer did a pretty good job with making a creepy atmosphere, and introducing us to Sophie’s step-cousins, who happen to be a strange set of characters. There’s Cameron, the eldest, who was a piano prodigy once, but now has lost the use of one hand after it was badly burned in a fire years before. Then there’s Piper, the perfect, beautiful girl who seems to do and say all the right things, but at the same time, gives Sophie a strange vibe. Finally we have the youngest, Lilias, with her strange fear of bones. We do learn that before Lilias’ birth, there originally was another sister, Rebecca, but she had passed after falling from one of the cliffs by the family’s home.
The characters were well done…except that I didn’t really like Sophie herself. She was the MC, yet I didn’t feel a connection with her. She didn’t seem to trust her own instincts and just seemed strangely immature to me. I also felt weird about the fact that Jay – her best friend – was rarely brought up, and his part was never really expounded upon. I know he was a secondary character (apparently very secondary) but I would have liked to seen more about what made him her best friend, and why he was supposedly so important to her. I wanted to see why Sophie was so driven to find out why things happened, just so I personally could feel more emotionally attached to the story, but I didn’t quite get that and may be holding a bit of a grudge…
But anyway, I did like the way the other characters were written for the most part. The uncle seemed strangely absent for most of the events that happened, but I guess it was because he wasn’t meant to be a rational adult that could possibly de-rail most of the plot line, so that made sense to me. And as for the dolls themselves, I feel like there are still things I’m not getting about them, but for fear of spoilers, I will not get into those.
Overall, this was a good book, and the things that bothered me might not bother you, so I would still recommend this book as a good horror read, and say that I did enjoy it for the most part.