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The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys

The Frozen Thames (2007)

by Helen Humphreys

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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40 short vignettes, many 3 pages long of the Thames River's freezing over and the people it affected: from the 12th to the 19th centuries. We see several historical names, for instance Matilda fleeing from her cousin, Stephen, and someone watching Henry VIII in his coach on the ice. There are several Frost Fairs, where a whole fair is held on the ice. Most of the stories concern the common people. A family rescues freezing birds. A man tries to get his oxen across the ice. In the last story a new bridge is built and unlike the old one, permits the water to flow faster and doesn't dam it up like the original bridge, so the river hasn't frozen in over 100 years. A sweet little book with many color illustrations. ( )
1 vote janerawoof | Jul 2, 2018 |
This collection of short vignettes is centered on the setting of the river Thames in the several times it froze solid in the heart of London with the old London bridge as a dam. There is rich history surrounding the subject, but Humphreys' stories go beyond the context with beautiful miniatures that ruminate on humanity and ice. There is no genre that could define this little book, but it is so easily readable and universally relatable that I don't think it needs one. I enjoyed every single one of these brief historical meditation stories for its own sake, but even more, I loved this collection as a whole. It is a wonderfully unique book that could as readily be enjoyed in one sitting as it could spread out over months or years. ( )
  saresmoore | Mar 20, 2018 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | May 5, 2017 |
The river Thames has frozen over 40 times. In lovely spare prose Helen Humphreys has written a vignette for each of those times, based on events that actually took place. The pieces are accompanied by period art, creating a stunning visual experience.

Most of the stories are written about ordinary citizens and the effects the extreme cold and frozen river had on their lives, though royals do appear in a few. Frost fairs would spring up on the ice where all manner of entertainment was available. Enterprising citizens would rent booths where they could offer games, puppet shows, and of course food and drink. At least one year there was a booth where a person could buy a piece of paper with their very own name printed on it.

I preferred to read the vignettes slowly, one or two a night, but at 180 pages it could be read straight through quickly. A great gift for a person interested in history or the environment, the book is physically small, about seven or so inches in height and can easily be carried in a tote bag or backpack. ( )
  clue | Feb 3, 2017 |
This is a quick and easy read but it is very much worth the time to read it slowly and in little bits. 40 little portraits of moments in time when the Thames river froze in recorded history. I really liked this. ( )
  RBeffa | Oct 22, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Humphreysprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hondius, AbrahamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lockley, RowlandCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearson, BrigidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richardson, C.S.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Valerie Ashford and in memory of Elizabeth Ashford.
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In its long history; the river Thames has frozen solid forty times. These are the stories of the frozen river:
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385342810, Hardcover)

In its long history, the river Thames has frozen solid forty times. These are the stories of that frozen river.

So begins this breathtaking and original work, which contains forty vignettes based on events that actually took place each time the historic Thames froze solid. Spanning more than seven centuries—from 1142 to 1895—and illustrated with stunning full-color period art, The Frozen Thames is an achingly beautiful feat of the imagination…a work of fiction that transports us back through history to cast us as intimate observers of unforgettable moments in time.

Whether we’re viewing the magnificent spectacle of King Henry VIII riding across the ice highway (while plotting to rid himself of his second wife) or participating in a joyous Frost Fair on the ice, joining lovers meeting on the frozen river during the plague years or coming upon the sight of a massive ship frozen into the Thames…these unforgettable stories are a triumph of the imagination as well as a moving meditation on love, loss, and the transformative powers of nature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Contains forty fiction vignettes based on events that actually took place each time the historic River Thames froze solid. Spanning more than seven centuries, from 1142 to 1895, and illustrated with stunning full-color period art.

» see all 2 descriptions

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