In this the second book about orphan Rose (the first was Rose) she is now firmly part of the Fountain household. She’s an apprentice magician, working alongside Freddie, while earning her keep as a housemaid. She’s happy in her new life, far removed from the orphanage, with Gus the magic cat as company. Yet the killing of a child by a mad magician has had devastating consequences for all magicians who are now regarded with suspicion and hatred by ordinary folk. It is in such an atmosphere, and at a time of freak snow and ice, that Princess Jane goes missing. Eventually, the princess is found, confused and half-buried in snow, but the King is now so troubled that he asks Rose to be his daughter’s bodyguard. Taking on the role, Rose feels a sense of foreboding and evil – the very same feelings she had at the Frost Fair while holding a snow globe. Her premonitions are well founded when, once again, the princess vanishes.
The story is slow to take off but gathers momentum with the second kidnapping of the Princess, at which point disparate elements come together and events move quickly towards a satisfying conclusion. Descriptions of an eerie, snow-bound landscape are effective in creating a sinister bewitching atmosphere, while Rose’s awareness of difference and hostility towards her create a palpable sense of fear that infuses her every action, so ensuring the reader’s interest from the opening page.