Author: Caroline Lea
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover 400 pages
Release Date: 7 February 2019
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Today it is my great pleasure to join the blog tour for Caroline Lea’s new novel ‘The Glass Woman’. My thanks to Jenny Platt for the advance copy for review and for inviting me to join the tour. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Jón Eiríksson buried one wife this year.
But how long can his secrets remain hidden?
1686, Iceland. A wild, isolated landscape that can swallow a man without so much as a volcanic gasp, where superstitious Icelanders are haunted by all-too-recent memories of witch trials.
Rósa is leaving her home in Skalholt. Betrothed unexpectedly to the mysterious and wealthy Jón Eiríksson, Rosa travels with her new husband to his isolated, windswept village of Stykkisholmur. Here, the villagers are suspicious of outsiders, and seem fearful of Rosa.
Whispers follow Jón around the unexplained death of his first wife, who he buried in secret in the dead of the night. And Rósa has her own suspicions. Refusing to answer any questions about his first wife, Jón instead gives Rosa a small glass figurine, a glass woman.
Rósa feels a presence in the house, and she can’t shake a dread that darkness is coming. She fears she will be its next victim.
How long before the glass woman shatters?
Rósa lives a hard life in her small village in Iceland. With her mothers failing health and a harsh winter heading in she worries that her mother won’t make it. When the offer of marriage to a well known man from another settlement is made in exchange for keeping her mother fed well and warm through the winter, despite the gossip surrounding him and the death of his first wife Rósa feels like she can’t refuse.
Rósa is a girl very much ahead of her time. 1686 was a very different time for women and if they could even read and write then it was likely they would be accused of witchcraft. Rósa is bright, intelligent and loves reading the Icelandic sagas and has dreams of maybe writing her own one day. When faced with the impossible decision to marry Jón in order to save her mother you really see the sense of strength Rósa possesses.
This book really explores concepts that to us in the modern day seem entirely normal and are spoken about frequently, but back then were very much frowned upon and explained away by superstitions and accusations of witchcraft.
This is such a beautiful story and one I didn’t see coming. It starts off so sinister and shrouded in mystery and by the end has morphed into something completely different from the tone it starts out on. I throughly enjoyed this and I can’t wait to read what the author writes next.
About the Author
Caroline Lea grew up in Jersey and gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Warwick, where she now teaches on the Creative Writing degree. Her fiction and poetry have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Fish Short Story Competition and various flash fiction prizes. She currently lives in Warwick with her two young children and is writing her next novel.
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