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By Helen Dunmore

The inaugural winner of England's prestigious Orange Prize, A Spell of iciness is a compelling turn-of-the-century story of innocence corrupted by way of secrecy, and the grace of moment possibilities. Cathy and her brother, Rob, have solid a passionate shelter opposed to the fear of loneliness and relatives secrets and techniques, yet their sibling love turns into fraught with possibility. As Catherine fights freed from her darkish current and haunting earlier, the spell of wintry weather that has held her in its snatch starts to damage. "Dunmore touches every little thing: pores and skin, bone, frozen earth." -- l. a. instances ebook evaluation "[A] literary page-turner." -- Publishers Weekly (starred evaluation) "[A] glossy Gothic." -- Library Journal

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Example text

Once she came right out because Father called to her that a nightingale was singing in the magnolia tree under the terrace. The three men did not speak to one another. I wondered if Father knew them, or if he would like to walk round the garden like that with someone. ’ and the others broke away and began to snatch up slices of cake from different people’s tables. Miss Gallagher’s tongue clicked again. Suddenly a shadow crossed us. ‘Dr Kenneth,’ said Father. We looked up. Dr Kenneth was a tall black pillar against the sun, and we couldn’t see his face.

A sharp patch of red burnt into her cheeks and she opened her mouth as if she were going to break her rules and speak to Rob. ‘She doesn’t like eggs. They make her sick,’ said Rob. His own egg had vanished. I wondered if he had eaten it while I looked at mine, but I didn’t think so. We were learning conjuring out of a book, but we hadn’t got very far yet, certainly not far enough to vanish an egg. I wondered if the eggs had flown through the air and landed in a nest, a skylark’s perhaps, or a nightingale’s, some bird that nested on the ground.

Two points. Rob lifted the flap and I squeezed up close to him so we could both look through, while Rob’s warm rough jacket rubbed my arms. We saw a white space, perhaps a wall, or sky. Nothing was moving in there. It was the kind of room where there might be an animal hidden in the corner which would jump out on you. ’ I whispered. ‘I think so. ’ ‘Grandfather will have told him,’ said Rob confidently. Miss Gallagher rapped on the door above our heads. I heard something move but no one answered.

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