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A Breath of Frost

(The Witches of London #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,131 ratings  ·  373 reviews
In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousi ...more
Hardcover, 482 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Walker Childrens (first published January 2nd 2014)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  2,131 ratings  ·  373 reviews

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Actual rating: 3.5
Her aim was so true that each bolt was hit and turned into a boiled beet that exploded all over the cousins. Red pulp splatted into their faces, hung from their hair, and stained their dresses. The other girls couldn’t help but laugh.
The cousins stood in the middle of the ballroom, dripping vegetable matter and wondering why anyone would want to be a witch in the first place.
My gosh, they don't come much sweeter or cozier than this book. If you like your Regency-era light romance seasoned with a da3.5
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

3.5 stars

I haven't read any historical fiction in a long time so this felt like a nice breath of fresh air for me. (HAH! See what I did there?) But seriously, this book was adorable. Everyone has said it already but I don't care because it simply is. There's no other word in the dictionary that can suffice. So if you love the adorbs, this book is totally for you. If you don't, this book is still for you. Because I said so. But then you'll all be like

So let me convince you.



I love Fantasy of Manners, that sub-genre that blends Jane Austen-ish social settings and romance with a magical version of the 19th Century. A Breath of Frost introduces a Regency world with a magical society hidden beneath the surface of all the polite society balls and soirees. Three cousins, debutantes, discover that magic is part of their heritage, and begin to learn about this world. And it's kind of strange.

Familiars that jump out of their witch's chests, gargoyles that animate to protect (or
Rashika (is tired)
**** This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

WARNING: The word ADORABLE has been used in excess

It was winter and I had been having a bad week; I was angry, sad, paranoid and detached, then along came A Breath of Frost and warmed up my black heart.

I read Haunting Violet in 2012 and fell head over heels in love. The book was incredibly fluffy and made me feel like I was floating on clouds. When I found out that the author was writing a new book that was set around the same time but inste/>WARNING:
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
I'm listening to my instincts on this one.

I'm not abandoning it because most of the 'ff', 'fi' and 'fl' combinations are mysteriously missing from this ARC copy. I can figure out what they mean.

I'm abandoning it because three major events happen in quick succession and the three lead girls seem completely unfazed by the earthquake, the fire, and the frost. They don't care, and they're not reacting at all to these major events. One of the girls broke her only remaining kee
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2015
This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland

Major Selling Points:
Historical Witches

Do you know how long it's been since I read a YA historical? DO YOU? It actually hasn't been that long honestly but it has been a while since I read a historical set in one of my favourite eras in London. And it had witches with all kinds of different magic! And finishing schools for witches! And ghosts and other paranormal creatures! And many other awesome things.

Friendship is magic

This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland

Major Selling Points:
Historical Witches

Do you know how long it's been since I read a YA historical? DO YOU? It actually hasn't been that long honestly but it has been a while since I read a historical set in one of my favourite eras in London. And it had witches with all kinds of different magic! And finishing schools for witches! And ghosts and other paranormal creatures! And many other awesome things.

Friendship is magic

Emma, Penelope, and Gretchen are cousins that have grown up together and it certainly shows. They know each other so well and their relationship becomes important to parts of the plot. Though there are many times when the girls seem to be separated from one another, when push comes to shove you know they all have each other's backs.


A BREATH OF FROST was a hell of a lot of fun. Sure the plot is dark at times (murders and warlocks and revenge and such) but over all it was a really light hearted book! Well, for me. My "light hearted" doesn't always really match other peoples. There's funny, ridiculous scenes to break up the murder, mystery and action. Everything develops logically too so you're not jarred from a scene where a character just died to a scene where you're pissing yourself laughing.


The writing might have been the best part of this book, aside from the historical setting and witches. Why, you ask? SACASM. SARCASM EVERYWHERE. And I don't' mean that my statement that the writing was good is sarcastic. I mean, A BREATH OF FROST is written in a fairly sarcastic voice. It was like reading something that had been taken out of my head (90% of any comments I make are sarcastic. Never trust me). In short: fan-freaking-tastic.


Emma is the main main character of A BREATH OF FROST and I have surprisingly little to say about her. She's a nice character, and I liked being in her head, but I can't think of anything spectacular about her. Her magic was cool? But all the magic in this book is cool. Maybe her curiosity and determination.


Gretchen might be my favourite girl character. She's quick with her wit, hates the role society has given her, and has the potential to be a very violent person. She'd much rather be out there fighting with a sword than stuck inside with embroidery and preparing for balls. She seems to be the main character in the sequel and I can't wait!



Penelope is the girl I wish to be. She doesn't fit society's standard of beauty but she doesn't care. She's happy with herself and her life and wouldn't change it for the world. It was so nice reading about someone who's confident in herself. Penelope isn't cocky either. She's a very, very kind person. More people need to be like Penelope.


The romance was sort of weird because it was already complicated before the story began. Complications that made the characters sort of hate each other at the start which is my favourite type of romance to be honest (the bickering and stuff that changes over time). Overall I did like the romance, despite the fact that Cormac was ridiculously hot and cold and that some scenes were just so ridiculously cheezy I could not. THOSE THEORDORA AND EWAN FLASHBACKS THOUGH. I could read a whole story about their relationship, not just three chapters or so.

- Emma x Cormac
- Penelope x Cedric
- Emma x Antlers
- Theodora x Ewan
- Gretchen x Opportunities to kick ass
1814 London sees Emma, Gretchen and Penelope discover that magic runs in the family and that the cousins are, in fact, witches. This discovery, unfortunately, comes with something of a damper, as it seems they unwittingly opened up portals to the underworld. Among the foul and dangerous things coming through these portals are the spirits of the Greymalkin Sisters, dark witches who are now murdering young witches in a quest for more power. Somehow, it is Emma who stumbles upon each corpse. The co ...more
I really should put off reviewing this until after I reread it, but I'm going through and doing reviews now and this one is next up on my list. Maybe I'll do a better review later, but for now, this'll have to do.

I borrowed this from the library last year and loved it enough to buy my own copy. I do believe this was my second favorite YA read of last year (the second book in this series was my favorite). The world building, characters, and magic system were all spot on. The story hel
When Emma accidentally breaks her mother's old perfume bottle she also unlocks a family secret exposing herself and her cousins Gretchen and Penelope to a world full of magic and witches that had previously been kept hidden from them. Now the girls must get to grips with their new abilities before they risk exposure to the Order of the Iron Nail. As if that wasn't bad enough Emma also managed to open the gates to the Underworld, releasing the Greymalkin sisters who are now on a murderous spree a ...more
Funny thing about this book, it is actually in fact one of the very first books I put on my to be read shelves on Goodreads, I have been on goodreads for almost 4 years now and I should have read it 4 years ago. This book was truly a cute book.

I am pretty obsessed with the Regency era, thank you Mr. Darcy and the fact that this was a cute fantasy book that took place in the Regency era made this book that much more awesome.

This book does not contain any asshole dudes... I mean why would it it
4.5 stars
I've always been a huge fan of Alyxandra Harvey since her debut novel, Hearts at Stake and continued to devour the entire Drake Chronicles as well as her ghostly novel, Haunting Violet and fantasy fae novel, Stolen Away. So I was thrilled to see that Harvey has come out with an entirely new trilogy to love, and love it I did. A Breath of Frost has everything I love about reading. Whodunit mystery and murder, magic and maddens, witches and warlocks, witty characters, a blossoming romance, all set again
Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers)

4 Stars

A BREATH OF FROST was a spiraling, spellbinding, magical world, with tons of magic and romance, that unfolded into a world filled of witches, warlocks, ghouls, hellhounds, underworlds, magical elements, spells, and a turmoil of murders and mystery! It was breathtakingly beautiful. Every last page had me compelled to read more. It truly was unlike anything I've ever read.


It's 1814 in the sparkling city of London, where witchcraft is unknown, and only revealed to those with wi/>
Apr 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Source: I own a copy of this book but its being donated.

Note: These are my personal opinions. I received no outside person comments or opinions.

I started out reading The Drake Chronicles and loved that and then when I found out about this series I knew I had to read it, but I became disappointed in this book.

Plot Summary:

Three cousins discover they're witches when a binding spell breaks. Now murders of other witches rock the city, The Order is hunting them, and somehow the/>Plot/>
(series review)

The Lovegrove Legacy so far has been quite the fun read- strong female leads, magic, romance, mystery,'s certainly full of elements that make for a fantastic combination together.

The characters in particular, I think, are quite well developed. The two books so far centre mostly on Emma, Gretchen and Penelope, a group of three cousins who are descendants of a long line of witches. The relationship between the three is a strong one, where it's clea
Minni Mouse
DNF at 9% because witches, regency, and paranormal finishing school? Book chemistry fail.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I both really liked and was let down by A Breath of Frost--while the characters are what shine about the novel I felt like the plot, world development, and structure of the novel could have been better developed and that is where the novel fell short.

Loved the characters because they are very much ALIVE--Emma, Gretchen, and Penelope. Emma is our main gal who absolutely has no idea she is even a witch (none of them do, another thing that was REALLY confusing during the first 30% of th
Esther Soh
Review also available on cabookccino

"By footprint I mark you, by iron I bind you," Penelope blurted out.

Emma and Gretchen stared at her. "Come again?"

"I stab you... no that's not right."

"I should hope not."

I don't know if you can tell just by that quote, how amazing this book really is. This was full of excitement and by far the cutest action-packed historical fiction I have ever read. A Breath of Frost takes you on a completely new adventure, it lives up to its very own tit/>By
Readers that love witches and young adult books have an engaging read in store for them with A Breath of Frost. Discovering family secrets and a heritage long kept hidden, these three young cousins have so much in store for them, some of which (like what I did there? hehe) romance, gargoyles, madcaps, silly debutantes, dashing young men, balls and oh my a finishing school for witches.

These girls discover they are witches after one accidentally breaks the binding spell that her mother
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I really had problems at the beginning of the story, there were just too many names (especially because the have a title, which is used deliberately, as well as a normal name and nobody cares to use both of them together, so that you that in fact it is the same person ...) and I had problems adjusting to the world that was created here (how does the magic work? what about this mysterious order? etc.). I think, some of the passages were meant to be creepy, but that didn't work for me either. But ...more
Eugenia (Genie In A Book)
*This review also appears on the blog Chasm of Books*

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

'A Breath of Frost' was a delight to read, with some wonderful regency charm and supernatural mystery. This is a story that will take you on a magical journey, with witty characters and a plot that only gets better as it progresses when more revelations coming to the surface.

Magic and witches and secret societie

Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-favorites, arc

Oh this book! What a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. I've read Alyxandra Harvey's vampire books before and they were fun books, but this one was a million times better than that series and I'm so glad I took a chance with it.

Emma, our main character, along with her lovely cousins have just found out about their witch powers and what ensues is a thrilling and exciting novel. I adored Emma as a main character. She might have been born in a historical setting where women were oft
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

A Breath of Frost is the first book in Alyxandra Harvey's The Lovegrove Legacy trilogy. Set in the early 1800's, it features three debutante cousins, Emma, Gretchen and Penelope, who discover their secret family legacy, and open the gates to the Underworld, after Emma accidentally breaks a keepsake given to her by her mother. As murderous witches and hellish beasts threaten the magical community, the girls must embrace their legacy to end the deadly chaos.

While each of the cousins is
Jessica (Jess Hearts Books)
I really enjoyed Alyxandra Harvey’s previous historical novel ‘Haunting Violet’ so when I heard about her latest novel ‘A Breath of Frost’ which is about witches and set in Regency London I figured what’s not to like? And decided to give this book a go. For me this book was very hit and miss. Although it didn’t tick all of the right boxes for what I’m currently looking for in a great read I have no doubt that fans of Alyxandra Harvey and witchcraft will love it.

A Breath of Frost has
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Short review for a long book.

Although I didn’t really find anything wrong with the writing style of this book as it was smooth and fluid, the rest of the story just lacked a certain amount of connection. I did not feel attached to these characters and the amount of time spent on exposition getting to revealing plot points was far longer than it should have been. Let me remind you this book was a whopper of over 400 pages and I’m pretty sure this could have been trimmed by 100 of them
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
That was really good. A fun spin on the Regency period and on witches.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love teen witch books, ok! Even more so if they have great female friendships and take place in Regency England.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
An adorable regency romance.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This book was so confusing. Every sentence is written for you to already have prior information that you didn’t have. It was so weird and everything made zero sense. I was confused the entire book. Also skimmed the last 50 pages because gah.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
I couldn’t finish this just couldn’t get into it
Oct 19, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Sounds like Charmed: Ancestors. I think that's even the same symbol on the cover, no?
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Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she rea

Other books in the series

The Witches of London (3 books)
  • Whisper the Dead (The Lovegrove Legacy, #2)
  • In A House Made of Bones and Teeth (The Lovegrove Legacy #3)
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