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The Frozen Deep

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  703 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Exchanging vows of love with sailor Frank Aldersley the night before his departure, Clara Burnham is haunted by the memory of Richard Wardour, and his mistaken belief that they will one day marry. With her gift of 'Second Sight', Clara foresees terrible tragedy ahead and is racked by guilt. Allied to two different ships, the two men at first have no cause to meet — until d ...more
Paperback, 106 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Hesperus Classics (first published 1857)
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Connie G
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
"The Frozen Deep" was first staged as a play in 1857, written by Wilkie Collins and modified by Charles Dickens. It was later rewritten into the form of a novella. "The Frozen Deep" was written in reaction to the ill-fated 1845 Franklin expedition where all the explorers perished. They were searching for the Northwest Passage in the Arctic.

The tale centers around a love triangle where two of the members of the Arctic expedition love the same woman, Clara. She has the gift (or curse) of the Secon
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If it is melodrama that you want, this is the book for you, it oozes it from every page; even the title 'The Frozen Deep' has a touch of melodrama about it. It is not 'The Frozen Deep' play that Wilkie Collins wrote in 1856 and Charles Dickens edited before it was published in 1857; the pair of them then going on to perform in it in that latter year. It is a novella that Collins wrote prior to his reading tour of America in 1874. And thinking of Dickens acting in it, I can imagine him giving it ...more
First appearing as a play written in collaboration with Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins’ The Frozen Deep is a novella concerning a failed expedition to find the Northwest Passage. At the heart of this story is a love triangle, which, speaking of Mr. Dickens, made me think back to A Tale of Two Cities. I wonder if love has ever existed in the exact form that Victorian’s imagined. I fear it has not.

I very much enjoy Wilkie Collins’ writing style and found this an easy and fascinating read. One th
Collins' tale is based on the tragic trips to find the Northwest Passage. At times, the story is a bit melodramratic, but in the middle the tension is just right. It is a tale of love and revenge. ...more
s a m a r 🌻🌵
The story started very well but the ending was a bit easy and melodramatic, maybe because it was originally written as a play!

Nonetheless, I managed to enjoy this thoroughly.
Pete daPixie
'The Frozen Deep' was first published in 1874, originally written as a play by Collins in 1856. A novella of just over one hundred pages, this is a very quick read. No doubt inspired by the Victorian fascination with the lost expedition in search of the North West Passage led by Lord John Franklin in 1845.
A rare foray into nineteenth century fiction for me, Wilkie Collins' tale of vengeance and self sacrifice is played out within an Arctic expedition, lost and ice-locked in the Polar wastes. To
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Hold
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A short work, interesting if not necessarily inspiring. A brute thug antihero, an insipid heroine, and a clueless hero. All three come across as several snowballs short of an iceberg. Still, again, not bad. Collins' prose benefits from the novella format, altho the shifts from present tense to past can get annoying. Available free from Gutenberg and worth the price. ...more
Trigger warnings: near starvation??, death.

So this story started life as a play starring Collins and Dickens and then Collins turned it into this novella. And honestly? I think it probably worked better in its original form because really, there's not quite enough in the story to get invested in the characters and actually care about what's happening to them. There's not enough set up for Clara and her mysterious "second sense". We get several pages several times over of the ship's cook complain
Available at Gutenberg Project.

Definitely, this is not the English version of L'abîme by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, in spite of some websites.

First sentence:
The date is between twenty and thirty years ago. The place is an English sea-port. The time is night. And the business of the moment is—dancing.

I just found an interesting post concerning Dickens and Collins partnership, where The Frozen Deep is also mentioned: Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens
Josephine Waite
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
A very silly book; you will get a laugh from the ludicrous writing of Collins, who knew nothing about Arctic conditions. Characters construct wooden huts and beds and wear nightclothes, women wear veils; men lost in the north keep to the social hierarchy, even when starving and complaining of the cold, and go in search of local townships on the frozen deep. Also it is written to 'improve' so it all comes right in the end thanks to the operations of a benevolent god! Ha! ...more
Herman Gigglethorpe
I had more fun counting the number of times a character fainted than reading this novella about clairvoyance and a love triangle. Read one of Wilkie Collins's 1860s novels instead. ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, plays
Miss Clara Burnham doesn't mingle much in society. Raised in the Scottish hinterlands, she has grown up pale, delicate and odd. She is odd in that she believes she possesses the power of Second Sight, a power which her dear friend Mrs. Crayford is desperately trying to convince her is just a fancy, nothing more. Mrs. Crayford's husband is the First Lieutenant of the ship The Wanderer, which, with The Sea-mew, leaves port tomorrow to find the Northwest Passage. Therefore a ball is in progress. Cl ...more
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this enjoyable little novella for Winter in Wilkie – which is being hosted by Amanda of Fig and thistle – and The Estelle Society – and I am hoping to have time to re-read The Woman in white in January too.
Apparently this story was taken from a play originally written by Collins and Dickens in partnership, Dickens apparently added to the script, acted as stage manager and even performed in the play himself. Later Willkie Collins revised the play as a novella.

This story is based around the
C.C. Thomas
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
This short novel was so interesting to me because it was orginally a play written by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens and was performed all over England, even in front of Queen Victoria. Apparently it was performed to rave reviews and even caused tears in the auience. It was based on stories of Arctic expeditions which was so popular at the time.

Okay, I didn't cry but it was quite a captivating story of Victorian England. The plot involves a lover's triangle. Clara has someone become the love
Claire (Silver Linings and Pages)
This story is based on an actual doomed mission to the Arctic captained by Sir John Franklin and it was initially written for the stage in collaboration with Dickens (who also acted in it).
When a pair of ships become trapped in the Arctic ice, two rivals in love find themselves in the same search party to look for help. It’s a tale about vengeance, sacrifice and love. While I wouldn’t necessarily classify this as sensation fiction, it has some of those triangle, clairvoyance, s
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
We arrive on the eve of a great Arctic expedition. The farewell to the brave seafarers contains dancing and love. A young woman, believing herself to be gifted with the second sight has been suffering from premonitions that someone she fears will come back into her life and she vows to herself, and her friend, to deal with the matter before she makes any great life changing decisions.
Beyond her control, events unfold faster than she can comprehend and before the evening is over so much has been
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
This is the story that inspired Dickens to write A Tale of Two Cities. Originally a play performed by Collins, Dickens and Ellen Ternan, it's debatable how much of the story is truly Collins', since the play was heavily edited by Dickens, himself. But considering the subject matter and writing style of Dickens' own previous works, one may wonder how much of Collins' inspiration fueled Dickens' subsequent darker novel.

The Frozen Deep has an interesting setting (based on the actual 1845 expedition
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks
It was a nice surprise to find some more Wilkie Collins books I hadn't read yet and this one did not disappoint. ...more
Michelle's Book Club Review
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve just finished reading The Frozen Deep, a short novella by one of my favorite British authors, Wilkie Collins. The Frozen Deep was also a play by Wilkie Collins with assistance and production by Charles Dickens back in the mid-1800s. Collins and Dickens were friends for several years up to Dickens death in 1870.

The book starts out at a dance where Clara becomes engaged to Frank and rejects Richard, who promises, “ …the man who has robbed me of you shall rue the day when you and he first met
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks, books-of-2017
Well if it gives you any insight into how much I enjoyed this book, I was forgetting to mark it as read and review it because I'd already forgotten I'd read it...

It isn't a bad novella, but it's not exactly good either. It's very much a product of its time. Everything is grand and extremely over-dramatic. For a story of revenge in the Arctic, there was basically no action at all. The author creates suspense (kind of) by cutting away from any action before it happens, which didn't work for me. I
Aya H
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Personally as I am a huge fan of Wilkie Collins I can never give him a rating below 4 stars! This book was my least favorite yet dear to my heart. The first book I ever read in my life that got me addicted to this habit was The Woman in White by Mr. Collins, and now after years, my 100th book ‘by mere chance’ is also by him. Although I have to say this was considered a novella rather than a novel, it was somewhat light and a fast read, yet not as intriguing. I was a bit disappointed till I reach ...more
Antonis Maronikolakis
A nice short read, not too bad not too good. I believe the main problem with this book is that it is a huge "show, don't tell" warning. The interesting part of the story is only mentioned at the very end in basically half a chapter! Instead we are focusing on the effect this interesting part has, which is a bit absurd. It would have been much better if we got into a bit more details about the interesting part. Sure, more details could have spoiled the ending, but the ending was so predictable it ...more
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Frozen Deep is story of arctic explorers Frank and Richard, who love the same woman. Richard and Frank depart for the arctic on separate ships, one betrothed, the other spurned by the one he loves. When both ships become icebound, the ship's parties unite, and struggle to get back to civilization.

An air of the strange and brooding melancholy permeates the text.

I really liked this book.,
Kat Clark
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Ordinarily I love Wilkie Collins work but this didn't grab me in the way others have. It may have been the short story format, as it didn't given the characters the full space and time to be developed or it may just have been the less likeable characters. I failed to relate to any of the characters and found Clara a little annoying. Either way the story was still well written with plenty of drama.
☯Emily  Ginder
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a novella by Wilkie Collins. It is about two men who go on an Arctic expedition and get shipwrecked. One discovers that the other is engaged to a woman that the first man has loved for years. He vows revenge. Will he fulfill his vow?

This was originally written as a play by Collins and revised and cast by Charles Dickens. Both men starred in the play when it was produced. Dickens later created the character of Sydney Carton from this book/play.
Jen Feenan
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a poor adaptation of a play. The stilted conversations and even the chapter namings indicate it should've remained as a play. Extremely disappointing, there was little to nothing about the actual expedition. The story remained a ridiculous melodrama. If you want to read a great Willie Collins the try Woman in White. ...more
Daniel Callister
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
A novella, not a play. I enjoyed this quick story. I've always been fascinated with polar exploration and the Franklin expedition particularly so this was up my alley anyways. The story is compelling, interesting and heart-warming. It's easy to picture the two frozen bodies discovered from the Franklin expedition and imagine them as Frank and Richard in an alternate version of Collins' story. ...more
Inevitably, the Franklin tragedy must be condensed so that it is small enough to be comprehensible; one cannot digest the agony of 129 souls over the course of years. But this certainly was certainly a heavy-handed way to go about it. And the tense changes between past & present several which is just bizarre, and a pedestrian mistake.
Christine Martin
Aug 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: purchased-audio
Working my way through Wilkie Collins' novels. This one was good. I liked it. It had a satisfying ending to it, which I was fearful it wouldn't. The interesting side note is that this was the play they were performing in The Invisible Woman. I would love to see the play version of this story. ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Frozen Deep, by Wilkie Collins 1 6 Jul 16, 2019 01:28PM  

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A close friend of Charles Dickens from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens' death in June 1870, William Wilkie Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens' bloomed.

Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for 50 years. Most of his bo

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