News & Reviews

Black Snow Falling is nominated for the 2019 CILIP Carnegie Medal

Scottish Book Trust Book of the Month and Teen Book of the Month December 2018

Buy it now from Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Amazon (& Kindle) and Foyles


Black Snow Falling by Liz MacWhirter is a historical novel with a dark streak of fantasy running through it…. The world-building in this book is exquisite, from the finely textured tapestries to the deadening blackness of the ship of shadows… It’s a tale which will haunt readers’ dreams long after the final page.”

The Scotsman

“Shortlisted debut is a gripping read for all ages…There is action, betrayal, love and a powerful spiritual element running throughout the book that reminded me of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe… a powerful tale with real moral complexity, and standing strong at the centre is the message of hope – and it is that message that makes it a book that all ages, not just young adults, will enjoy. MacWhirter has got off to a cracking start – I could not put the book down.”

The Oban Times (viewable on Press Reader)

“A wildly original Elizabethan fantasy, steeped in atmosphere and dark beauty. Deliciously creepy.”

Elizabeth Wein. Award-winning author of Code Name Verity.

Black Snow Falling is beautifully written and is an enchanting work of magical realism. Exploring themes of loss, hope and resilience, this book would be an excellent choice for groups looking to explore these issues.”

Scottish Book Trust

“For a novel of such breathtaking imagination, Black Snow Falling also has a deep sense of history and its characters are satisfyingly complex. It’s rare to find all three at once, let alone fused together so effectively, and in all my time as The Scotsman’s books editor (15 years and another 10 as deputy) I don’t think I ever have.  I recommend it highly.”

David Robinson. Literary Critic. 

Black Snow Falling had me from the very start. The language is rich and lyrical, the characters empathetic and real, the ideas strong enough to get under the skin — and MacWhirter’s dream-thieves filled the room with their stink.

This is a story with classic bones, told in a new and exciting way, crossing genre-boundaries with effortless strides. Highly recommended.”

Martin Stewart. Author of Riverkeep and The Sacrifice Box.

“This very imaginative debut elegantly combines a rich historical setting and some interesting elements of magic, with a good dose of feminism and relatable characters.”

Agnes Guyon. Senior Librarian and 2015 Chair of Judges for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards

“Superb debut. A richly textured tale full of vivid history and fantastic imagination.”

Keith Gray. Award-winning author of The Ostrich Boys.

“A powerful new mythology.”

Anna Claybourne. Award-winning author of I Love This Tree.

“This is an elaborate story with an intricate plot suitable for a sophisticated YA reader… It is sinister, disturbing and gruesome at points – rightly so when considering the nature of evil. Despite the matching beauty of the cover and much of the prose, Black Snow Falling is not suitable for sensitive or easily disturbed readers. It will suit those who’d enjoy seeing the dilemmas of a spirited Elizabethan adolescent become enmeshed with far greater issues which spread across dimensions. Though it’s bursting with generous amounts of imagination, it’s a short read with lots of incident. To be flippant, I might say a bit ‘Dr Who with ruffs’ but serious points are made amongst the adventure. Whilst there is a lot of darkness… there is most assuredly hope glowing like a lantern… philosophical Tudor fantasy with added time travel.”

KM Lockwood, writer and editor

“A strange and enchanting tale, full of dark mystery.”

Kathy Evans. Award-winning author of More of Me

“Black Snow Falling by L J Macwhirter pushes the boundaries of imagination, superbly crafted, multi-layered, a book of hope for our dark times, a book that will endure. This book is set to become a classic for all ages.”

Jennifer Robertson. Author. 

“MacWhirter’s writing is the gateway to a wonderful new universe which I’m sure will only go from strength to strength. The depths of her imagination, and impressive literary talents place MacWhirter amongst the very best of current fantasy writers. I cannot wait to watch her career unfold as I’m sure it will be brilliant. Black Snow Falling is the sort of writing we need at a time when hope for some can feel very far away.”

Andrew Lindsay. Reviewer. 

“… a turbulent and fast-paced story filled with love, the desire for truth and Ruth’s unwillingness to give herself over to the evil that threatens her very soul… LJ MacWhirter’s fantastic prose takes you on a journey into the blackness we all fear from that moment we close our eyes.”

My Book Corner Full review by Sarah Broadley.

“I loved it… Before I even opened the book, I was hooked: secrets, heresy, black snow, a girl with spirit, dream thieves, hope. The premise felt simultaneously new and fresh as well as deeply rooted in the past — no small feat! … The way in which MacWhirter handles the many, many threads of story is the treat of this novel.”

Review by YALMC ( Young Adult Literature, Media, & Culture Association)

“…Powerful storytelling… I really loved the way the story portrayed hope and how much power it can have against the dark – even in the worst of times.”

Teen blogger Anna Zoe

REVIEW by The Book Witch

In Ann Giles’ review on The Bookwitch, she says that she, too, may have had a dream or too stolen at some point…


L.J. MacWhirter: Black Snow Falling – Friday 25th January 2019, 7.00pm, Far From The Madding Crowd, £8

‘We are thrilled to announce that L.J. Macwhirter, debut author of the bestselling YA title Black Snow Falling, will be discussing her work at the Further From Festival 2019. The book is an update on a classic fairy tale, with echoes of Angela Carter and Naomi Novik, with a strong historical setting in the 16th century. What’s even more exciting is that L.J. has been nominated for the Carnegie Award 2019!’



Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018

22 August 17.45 – 18.45 COPING WITH CHANGE Melvin Burgess, Steven Camden Change and LJ MacWhirter 

11 August 18.30-19.30 FEISTY FANTASY with Alice Broadway and LJ MacWhirter

The Bookseller January 25 2018

Scotland Street Press launches YA list

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Shot and cover design by Tim Byrne
Shot and cover design by Tim Byrne