7th February 2019 Michael Joseph
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 which trials.
Rosa is leaving her home in Skalholt. Betrothed unexpectedly to the mysterious and wealthy Jon Eriksson, 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 Jon around the unexplained death of his first wife, who he buried in secret in the dead of the night. And Rosa has her own suspicions. Refusing to answer any questions about his first wife, Jon instead gives Rosa a small glass figurine, a glass woman.
Rosa 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?
Firstly huge thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book and inviting me to be involved with this blog tour.
This was a compelling read set in bleak and cold Iceland in the 1600s. We follow Rosa as she embarks on her marriage to Jon, a decision not borne out of love but necessity and Rosa enters into this contract with many misgivings. This sets the scene for her marriage, her husband remains a stranger to her and she remains uncertain of who he is and her own future.
The novel begins with an event in November 1686 before taking the reader back to 3 months previously when Rosa is newly married and about to join her husband in his town where he is bonoi – the chieftain of the settlement.
The landscape is stark and cold and this reflects Rosa’s lonely situation, her situation is mirrored in the deteriorating weather when snow leaves Rosa and Jon isolated and struggling to survive.
I truly enjoyed this atmospheric read, the harsh conditions were tangible and I shared Rosa’s concern for her safety. Throughout the book there was an air of mystery, the events of the prologue remained unexplained until the latter part of the story and there was a tension in Jon which felt threatening and foreboding.
Told in the third person this is mostly Rosa’s story as she adjusts to life with Jon. Interspersed through the book are chapters from Jon’s perspective, in the first person narrative these are told post November 1686 and give the reader an insight into Jon’s persona.
This was a brilliant book, that was both gripping and moving and highly recommended by me.
What an incredible debut The Glass Woman is. Rich in superstition and mystery, this historical novel set in Iceland pulled me into its bleak yet beautiful heart and held me there. Utterly unputdownable. Ali Land
About the Author
Caroline Lea grew up in Jersey and gained a first in English Literature & Creative Writing from Warwick University. From there, Caroline became a teacher of English and drama and was Head of English at a Birmingham boys’ grammar school. She now works and writes from home in Warwick and is a mother to two young boys. This is her first novel published in the UK.
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