As I read A Breath of Frost (which I reviewed for Booklist, so sadly I can't post a review here) I noticed the characters used the library-a lot! There were characters that were avid readers and they seemed to be gathered in the library in several scenes. I asked Alyxandra Harvey to write about the role of libraries in A Breath of Frost and why she chose to feature these scenes (and I absolutely love what she has to say!
I didn’t intentionally set out to make libraries a part of A Breath of Frost. But since they are such a part of my own personal story, they do have a tendency to sneak in when I’m not looking. The thousands of books, the smell of old paper, the possibilities. Especially in the early 19th centuries where home libraries (for the wealthy) were these beautiful vast spaces with leather bound volumes, fireplaces, acres of chairs and housekeepers to bring you tea and biscuits.
I love scenes in books and movies where the tribe of heroes is sitting around in a library researching and trying to figure out what to do about the Big Bad… Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stargate (the original movie)….
For some people those scenes are filler, but for me they are an important side dish at the feast. Libraries hold answers. Even better, they hold hundreds of questions. And they become the hearth at which the family gathers--- because if our tribe doesn’t consider themselves family, this time together in the library often convinces them. It also allows characters who aren`t necessarily particularly good at fighting, to wage their own battles with their weapon of choice.
In A Breath of Frost, Libraries are particularly important to Emma because she has so many secrets to unravel. She lives in a time when children, and girls especially, weren’t really supposed to ask a lot of questions. It doesn’t help that Emma’s father absolutely refuses to talk about her mother’s madness…and he doesn’t even know about the witchcraft in the family. The library then, becomes not only a place of research but also a place of empowerment. She finds answers for herself.
So I would say, without exaggeration, that libraries help to save Emma’s life!
Check out the awesome trailer and then get to reading A Breath of Frost!