So there's a story here. The Frozen Deep is my first completed Collins work, but it's not my first experience with his writing. Years ago I attempted The Woman in White, but I put it aside. Totally not the book's fault, just one of those life things that happened. I quite enjoyed The Woman in White, or what I'd read of it, so I went into The Frozen Deep with a great deal of excitement.
While I liked The Frozen Deep for what it was, it's not a typical Wilkie Collins experience, nor is it the best Wilkie Collins experience. This one was written as a play, and is presented here in novella format. It's a weird mashy situation that results in an underdeveloped, melodramatic story.
Is it all bad? No. But I longed to know the characters better and to know what the heck was going on out on the ice during the arctic expedition. How exciting is that? An arctic expedition, y'all! But alas, all we get are glimpses of what's going on and a lot of shut up men being dramatic. And some shut up women being dramatic.
Oh you want a wee synopsis? Here we go...
Based on the doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic, The Frozen Deep is a dramatic tale of vengeance and self-sacrifice. 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. On different ships, the two men have no cause to meet—until disaster strikes and they find themselves united by their battle for survival. (Goodreads)
At 100 pages, it's a fun little romp, but definitely not the full-on Wilkie. You'll have to join us for The Woman in White for that!
And if you'd like to learn more about the history of The Frozen Deep, read this. Dickens had his hand ALL in this play!
Pub. Date: July 2004
Publisher: Hesperus Press
Source: Bought it!