Both of Alex Nye’s books for children will have you reaching for the snuggle blanket. Set on Sherriffmuir during the winter, Alex says, “Both CHILL and SHIVER were inspired by my time living in a remote cottageÂ during a winter of harsh blizzards, on a moor that was reputedly haunted by battleground ghosts.”
In Chill, which was originally published in 2006 and won the Royal Mail Scottish Children’s Book Award, we meet Samuel and his artistic mother, who rents a cottage from the Morton family. The Morton children live in Dunadd, their ancestral home on Sherriffmuir but lost their fatherÂ when he was quite young.Â Samuel and his new friend Fiona find the atmosphere intriguing and want to explore, but Fiona’s brothers, Charles and Sebastian are less welcoming towards the newcomers and sceptical of their aims. This leaves Samuel and Fiona aloneÂ to research the history of the family and the local area, in the process uncovering a journal written by one of Fiona’s ancestors, Â the truth behind the animosity between Chris Morton and her neighbour, and the reason for the curse which lies on the Morton family and its heirs.
Shiver is set the following year, when another blizzard isolates the two families and another ghostly figure makes itself apparent. Again, it is Samuel and Fiona who uncover a hidden passage, investigate the stories and establish the facts, attempting to pacify Fiona’sÂ unhappy ancestor. But Sebastian is mellowing and in Shiver, he helps Samuel search the moor for the graves of two children whose spirits must be laid to rest.
In both stories, teacher Alex Nye presents believable, appealing characters and mysteries which have to be solved by ordinary children. There are no fantastic characters, no magic powers, just real childrenÂ with contemporary issues to deal withÂ â€“ as well as a few historical ones.Â You can read Shiver without having readÂ Chill, but why not read them in chronological order?Â Both books have been republished this year and are available here on Amazon