I’m not sure I would have picked this book up on my own, but luckily the Wilkie in Winter gang are hosting a readalong which gave me a reason to read some Wilkie in good company. The Frozen Deep is a cross between a novella and a play, and it tells the story of an Arctic expedition, a young woman with the second sight, and an embittered man seeking revenge. What’s not to like?
Because it’s so short (right around 100 pages), it’s very doable to read the book in one sitting. While I didn’t do so, I can see the advantages of it, as it would keep the reader caught up in the drama and suspense right until the last pages. There is a LOT of drama, melodrama to be more precise, and while it might not be every reader’s cup of tea I really enjoyed it. I could easily picture the actors on stage, with lots of bosom heaving and sudden exclamations and the brooding anti-hero twirling his moustachios.
I also liked the shift in setting from proper London society to the bleak landscape of the Arctic. I read elsewhere that the story was inspired by Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition of 1845, in which he attempted to traverse the Northwest Passage. While I don’t want to give away the ending of the story, suffice it to say it’s not quite as tragic as the true life tale.
If you’re looking for a few hours of escapism and some entertaining Victorian melodrama, I can definitely recommend The Frozen Deep. Thanks to Andi, Heather and Amanda for hosting this readalong for Wilkie in Winter, and I look forward to reading The Woman in White with you in a few weeks!