Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose hasn’t said a word in eleven years—ever since the day she was found lying in a snowbank during a howling storm. Like her voice, her memories of her mother and what happened that night were frozen.
Set during the roaring 1920s in the beautiful, wild area on Rainy Lake where Minnesota meets Canada, Frozen tells the remarkable story of Sadie Rose, whose mother died under strange circumstances the same night that Sadie Rose was found, unable to speak, in a snowbank. Sadie Rose doesn’t know her last name and has only fleeting memories of her mother—and the conflicting knowledge that her mother had worked in a brothel. Taken in as a foster child by a corrupt senator, Sadie Rose spends every summer along the shores of Rainy Lake, where her silence is both a prison and a sanctuary.
One day, Sadie Rose stumbles on a half dozen faded, scandalous photographs—pictures, she realizes, of her mother. They release a flood of puzzling memories, and these wisps of the past send her at last into the heart of her own life’s great mystery: who was her mother, and how did she die? Why did her mother work in a brothel—did she have a choice? What really happened that night when a five-year-old girl was found shivering in a snowbank, her voice and identity abruptly shattered?
Sadie Rose’s search for her personal truth is laid against a swirling historical drama—a time of prohibition and women winning the right to vote, political corruption, and a fevered fight over the area’s wilderness between a charismatic, unyielding, powerful industrialist and a quiet man battling to save the wide, wild forests and waters of northernmost Minnesota. Frozen is a suspenseful, moving testimonial to the haves and the have-nots, to the power of family and memory, and to the extraordinary strength of a young woman who has lost her voice in nearly every way—but is utterly determined to find it again.
In this suspenseful historical novel set in northern Minnesota in 1920, 16-year-old narrator Sadie Rose, who has been mute since her mother's murder 11 years before, discovers clues to the trauma that silenced her (“Other than an occasional cry or moan, my voice had died with Mama years ago. Silence. My sanctuary and prison”). Sadie Rose lives in cloistered luxury as the ward of a prominent state senator. When Sadie Rose finds racy photographs of her mother and begins to remember her past, she finds the strength to speak, explore, make friends, rebel, and eventually run away to a frontier town to seek the truth. Casanova (The Klipfish Code) creates a strong sense of place and ably establishes her story's historical context. The narrative confronts weighty issues including prostitution, mental illness, and political corruption, but some are boldly presented and then tidily resolved. Although Sadie Rose's transformation into a daring and self-assured young woman is rather rapid, given her silent and highly sheltered upbringing, readers should find her an admirable heroine as she finds her voice and her future. Ages 13–up. —Publishers Weekly
… Fabulous book! My first from Mary Casanova but it will definitely not be my last. —My Serenity Blog(book review by Nova Reylin)
Mary Casanova knows the lakes and woods of northern Minnesota as few other writers do, and she brings them to life along with an intriguing mystery set in that region’s dark past. —Marion Dane Bauer, author of On My Honor
Mary Casanova’s novel is a gripping blend of history, family secrets, danger, and love—set within the breathtaking landscape of northern Minnesota in the 1920s. Readers will be drawn to the gutsy character of sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose as she tries to break her silence and unravel the mysteries of her dark past. A page-turner from start to finish!" —Shelley Pearsall, author of Trouble Don’t Last
Compelling and believable. —Kirkus Reviews
Sadie Rose finds her voice not just to reconstruct her past, but to advocate for her future—a future in which words will be powerful tools. —Booklist
… Although I am from Minnesota, the knowledge that the fight to save the forests and waters of northernmost Minnesota against unyielding industry began so long ago was fascinating. I think we all like to believe our generation is the one that began the quest to save the world from itself. As the story evolved, I could picture the scenery and situations that unfolded, which really brought the story to life for me … —Rhonda Weidling, Twin Cities Daily Planet