ABOUT THE BOOK:
Meredith discovers a dusty sewing box in a disused attic. Once open the box releases the ghost of Angharad, a Victorian child-woman with a horrific secret she must share. Angharad slowly reveals her story to Meredith who fails to convince her sister of the visitations until Verity sees Angharad for herself on the eve of an April snowstorm.
Forced by her flighty mother to abandon Gull House for London, Meredith struggles to settle, still haunted by Angharad and her little red flannel hearts. This time, Verity is not sure she will be able to save her…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
When I read Carol Lovekin’s first novel Ghostbird, I was absolutely blown away, not only by the magic of the story but also the depth and beauty of the writing.
With Snow Sisters once again it didn’t take long for me to become drawn into yet another wonderfully crafted story. It’s a book to take your time with – there can be absolutely no rushing. Carol is brilliant at weaving the kind of backdrop that bring all five senses into play and makes you feel you are actually there. Gull House on the Welsh coast is a perfect location. Atmospheric and windswept you can almost taste the salt on your tongue and hear the cry of the seabirds.
Carol balances her descriptions well so they never intrude or interrupt the story – they complement it with the characters seamlessly woven in. And what characters! Grandmother Mared, owner of Gull House is an anchor for twins Verity and Meredith – and a true matriarch. The girls’ mother Allegra, impulsive and self-absorbed – a mother only when she’s in the mood to play the role. And when she does it’s clear she has a favourite child. I shouldn’t be too harsh though, as we eventually get an insight into her history allowing us to gain a little more understanding of her character.
The twins are different in their characters but close. Their lives – being home taught – brings an inter-dependency, although at times their differences do surface.
The ghost of Angharad who still dwells in Gull House is released when Meredith discovers her sewing basket. This introduced another dimension to the story. Meredith, as the more receptive of the two, begins to hear voices and soon Verity also becomes involved in the tragic life of this young girl. Part of the power of Carol’s writing is that it’s so easy to suspend belief. And that is exactly what happened here. I became totally wrapped up in the events which took place. A story so seamlessly woven into the main thread of the book that moving from past to present progressed in an uninterrupted flow. Snow Sisters is a wonderfully crafted story of life, hope, disappointments, ghosts and snow. It is magical offering from Carol Lovekin and a definite must read.
My thanks to Honno for inviting me on the Snow Sisters book tour and donating a pre-publication copy of this book.
AN EXTRACT FROM THE SNOW SISTERS:
In the morning, Meredith’s hair was decorated with dusty-winged moths. Delighted, she shook her hair and they fluttered up. ‘Thank you, my lovelies’ she said, ‘now off you go.’ She waved her arms, herded the moths to the window and watched as they disappeared. The voice from her dream hovered in the back of her mind. Pushing it away, Meredith thought perhaps she should try and forget about ghosts and focus on her made-up story. Maybe Verity’s right, and it is all in my head. The echo of half-formed whispers insisted otherwise. She put on the new frock her grandmother had made for her. The material was pale green scattered with daisies, with a full skirt and when she twirled it floated as light as a moth. Standing in the hall behind the half-open kitchen door, she heard Verity talking to Allegra. ‘I picked some more lilac; shall I arrange it for you?’ ‘Well you can try.’ Her mother’s voice had an edge to it. ‘Very nice, although I’m not sure how successful you’ll be. It’s not like you have a natural aptitude for flower arranging is it, darling?’ She laughed as she said the words. Meredith frowned. Why is she always so mean to Verity? She watched her sister fling the flowers onto the table, find a jug and filled it with water. ‘Do it yourself then.’ Verity banged the jug on the table. Water splashed over Allegra’s sketch pad and she snatched it away. ‘For God’s sake, Verity!’ Meredith knew this was the tail end of an earlier argument. Coming into the room she saw the empty gin bottle on the table. Her mother’s face was grey with fatigue. Hung-over, I bet. Allegra scrutinised three tarot cards, placed in a line on the table. ‘Pages,’ she said. ‘Goodness, two of them: pentacles and cups.’ Glancing at the cards Meredith said, ‘Get the fancy gear. And why’s he got a fish in his tankard?’ ‘It’s a cup, darling.’ ‘Looks more like that old tin coffee pot of yours.’ ‘Don’t be silly. The tarot’s—’ ‘Gobbledegook?’ ‘That’s not very nice, is it? The page of cups is sensitive and creative, like you – you’re a Pisces…’ ‘I know I am, so what?’ ‘If you’d let me explain, you’d understand.’ Allegra paused. ‘Two pages – you see? They represent children and news.’ She gave a nervous cough. ‘I hope you two won’t go talking about me behind my back.’ ‘Why would we do that?’ Meredith kept her voice non-committal. ‘I’m joking, you goose.’ Allegra swept up the cards and put them into the velvet bag. ‘But pages… I’m only saying.’ She patted the chair next to her. ‘You look gorgeous in your new frock. That shade of green really suits you.’ Meredith ignored her. ‘Pentacle boy looks a bit more normal. Is he creative too?’ ‘Not particularly. He represents earth.’ ‘Which means he must be very clever indeed because it’s Verity’s sign; she’s a Virgo.’ Meredith watched her sister out of the corner of her eye. Trust me… ‘Meri, it doesn’t matter…’ ‘What was the other one?’ Meredith’s eyes shone like stars in the rain. ‘The Six of Wands.’ ‘Meaning?’ ‘Success, my angel. Success after conflict!’ Seeing her sister wince, Meredith said, ‘Or you could wave the wands and make some kindness?’ Propping her elbow on the table, she caught her chin in her hand. ‘You could make a lot of kindness with six magic wands.’ She regarded her mother with her star eyes and the air in the room held its breath. ‘If you wanted to.’ The words tasted sharp on her tongue. Bitter as pepper and she let them swirl around her mouth. Reaching for the sprigs of lilac, she began placing them in the jug. ‘It’s pretty,’ she said. ‘It was kind of Verity to get it for you, wasn’t it?’ Meredith knew more than her mother guessed, and as if she sensed it, Allegra made for the back door. As she turned, her eyes narrowed and she let them rest on her youngest daughter’s face. ‘You’re such a puzzle sometimes, baby.’ She opened the door. ‘I’m off to the conservatory. See what the muse has in store for me.’ Meredith said nothing. She shifted closer to Verity and the tang of pepper was warm on her tongue.