The Glass Woman
1686, ICELAND. AN ISOLATED, WINDSWEPT LAND HAUNTED BY WITCH TRIALS AND STEEPED IN THE ANCIENT SAGAS.Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here - Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers - or the land itself?Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim . . .

The Glass Woman Details

TitleThe Glass Woman
Author
ReleaseFeb 7th, 2019
PublisherMichael Joseph
ISBN-139780718188979
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery

The Glass Woman Review

  • Ova - Excuse My Reading
    January 1, 1970
    A very well-written book, however for me, the story was not original and I lost focus a bit. It felt like reading a combination of The Miniaturist and Rebecca set in 1600's Iceland. Rosa marries to a man and moves to another village, the only reason she agreed this marriage is to save her mother's life, as the winter is harsh and the food is scarce. But her husband has secrets too. Everyone murmurs about the first wife. Will Rosa find out what really happened?The plot for me, was a bit predictab A very well-written book, however for me, the story was not original and I lost focus a bit. It felt like reading a combination of The Miniaturist and Rebecca set in 1600's Iceland. Rosa marries to a man and moves to another village, the only reason she agreed this marriage is to save her mother's life, as the winter is harsh and the food is scarce. But her husband has secrets too. Everyone murmurs about the first wife. Will Rosa find out what really happened?The plot for me, was a bit predictable and I'd have enjoyed this book more if it was shorter really.
    more
  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    What better setting for a winter read than Iceland? The Glass Woman opens with a striking image: a tremor cracks the ice and a body floats to the surface of the sea, arm aloft, 'bone-white fingers waving, as if alive'. It's November 1686 on the western coast of Iceland, and as a group of villagers gathers, a man among them reflects on recent memories. He, we understand, knows the identity of the person under the ice; he put them there.The main story, however, takes place months earlier and centr What better setting for a winter read than Iceland? The Glass Woman opens with a striking image: a tremor cracks the ice and a body floats to the surface of the sea, arm aloft, 'bone-white fingers waving, as if alive'. It's November 1686 on the western coast of Iceland, and as a group of villagers gathers, a man among them reflects on recent memories. He, we understand, knows the identity of the person under the ice; he put them there.The main story, however, takes place months earlier and centres on a young woman named Rósa. Living in a small, impoverished community, she fears her mother, Sigridúr, will not survive the winter unless she finds a way to pay for extra insulation and food. The solution is marriage to Jón, a wealthy bonði (chieftain of a settlement). Their union ensures Sigridúr's safety and comfort. But it also takes Rósa away from her home (and her first love Páll) to live with Jón in Stykkishólmur. There, she finds the villagers suspicious and fearful, whispering about the death of Jón's first wife Anna and warning Rósa against disobeying him.Rósa finds her new husband (and his right-hand man Pétur) quietly terrifying. Jón expects her to stay in their croft alone, with nothing to do but housework and Bible study. Then there's the loft space he insists on keeping locked, the creaking floorboards Rósa hears at night, the figure standing beside her bed in the dark...The Glass Woman is a retelling of 'Bluebeard': this becomes clearer as the story goes on, though Lea strays from the template in pleasing ways. In terms of more contemporary fiction, it has the intrigue and emotional core of The Miniaturist combined with the setting and atmosphere of Burial Rites. It also reminded me a little of The Silent Companions – both feature a recently married woman travelling to her husband's home, only to find it filled with secrets and things that go bump in the night.If I were to criticise anything, it would be the length. I'm not entirely convinced that the story needs to be 400 pages long; given the limited nature of a) the setting and b) what Rósa can actually do with her time, some scenes begin to feel repetitive.But the payoff is worth it: I was thoroughly captivated throughout and the ending(s) almost made me cry. I loved how The Glass Woman subverted expectations, particularly how it showed the power of gossip and hearsay in establishing 'facts' (and myths, and, in time, fairytales). In the end, practically nobody in the story plays the role they originally appear to be designed for.I received an advance review copy of The Glass Woman from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
    more
  • Renee Godding
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 4.5 stars This exceeded my expectations with how great it was.Iceland, 1686. Rosa, a village girl from an impoverished family, is send off into a marriage of financial convenience, in order to keep her secure funds for her sick mother to survive the harsh winter. Rosa’s new found life does not come easy however. The small and isolated community of her new home is distrustful and unwelcoming to strangers. Rumors of witchcraft and misdeeds are mumbled around town, seemingly having R Actual rating: 4.5 stars This exceeded my expectations with how great it was.Iceland, 1686. Rosa, a village girl from an impoverished family, is send off into a marriage of financial convenience, in order to keep her secure funds for her sick mother to survive the harsh winter. Rosa’s new found life does not come easy however. The small and isolated community of her new home is distrustful and unwelcoming to strangers. Rumors of witchcraft and misdeeds are mumbled around town, seemingly having Rosa’s new husband Jón at the center of them. What is Jón hiding? What’s in the attic that is so private Rosa is never allowed up there? And most importantly: what happened to Jón’s previous wife Anna, that nobody seems to dare to speak of. I picked up The Glass Woman completely on a whim (not in the least part because the stunning cover drew my eye), but was captivated by the story as soon as I read the first chapter. Darkly atmospheric, suspenseful and quite emotional in the end: this was everything I could have asked for at the moment. Caroline Lea’s beautiful writing does an amazing job of creating an eerie atmosphere of isolation, unwelcomeness and suspicion that permeates the entire story. Lea’s use of islandic words and knowledge of the daily life at the time add to the immersion and are a testament to the authors research on the subject.Atmosphere and suspense alone account for about 3.5 to 4 out of the 4.5 stars I just gave this novel. Dumbly enough, as much as I enjoy and value that quality in books, I suck at describing it in a review, especially to someone who hasn’t read the novel yet. My best shot is: if you enjoyed (the atmosphere and feeling of) Burial Rites or Rebecca, this might be for you. Apart from the mystery and atmosphere, my favorite thing about The Glass Woman was the character of Rosa. She starts off as a scared and fragile little girl but really grows into newfound strength along the way. The same goes for the reluctant relationship between her and Jon, which grows stronger in a way, albeit not the way they anticipated. Saying too much more about the characters or plot might spoil things that are best discovered on your own. I recommend you pick it up and do just that. A very beautiful novel (inside and out), and extremely under-read and underrated at the moment. Highly recommend.
    more
  • Whispering Stories
    January 1, 1970
    Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.comAugust 1686, Iceland. Rósa, the daughter of the late Bishop of Skalholt is living with her mother Sigridur in a little hut. They once lead a comfortable life, now after the death of her father, Rósa and her mother are struggling.A new wealthy man, Jón Eiríksson, arrives in town, they say his wife has only been dead for a few months and that he is there to not only deal with some work but to find himself a local girl to marry too.With Rósa’s mum Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.comAugust 1686, Iceland. Rósa, the daughter of the late Bishop of Skalholt is living with her mother Sigridur in a little hut. They once lead a comfortable life, now after the death of her father, Rósa and her mother are struggling.A new wealthy man, Jón Eiríksson, arrives in town, they say his wife has only been dead for a few months and that he is there to not only deal with some work but to find himself a local girl to marry too.With Rósa’s mum being very poorly and the family now having next to no money, when Jón takes a fancy to Rósa at first she rebukes his charm but the sicker her mother becomes the more she realises it is the only way that she can help her, so Rósa agrees to marry Jón and move to live with her new husband in a remote village called Stykkishólmur. In exchange, he will help her mother and the villagers to live a more comfortable life.Moving to a new place with only her new husband who she barely knows and Petur who works for her husband, Róse becomes increasingly unhappy and isolated. There are plenty of rumours surrounding the death of Jón’s first wife and with a locked attic room in her house that Jón forbids her to enter, Rósa becomes concerned that something is amiss and that maybe the rumours are true.Weird noise keeps Rósa awake at night and she is convinced that there are dark spirits at play in the settlement. With an unsupportive husband who is very commanding and the feeling of dread hanging over her, could Rósa’s life be in danger?, and can she solve the mystery of what happened to Jón’s first wife, the wife he refuses to talk about?The first thing you will notice when you begin reading this book is how atmospheric it is. I haven’t read many books set in Iceland, but this historical book set in the country where darkness fills the time more than the daylight is exceptionally surreal. The coldness that the characters have to deal with is felt through the pages and at times it made me shiver. This shows how realistic the book felt at times.The book is set in an era where people believed in ghosts, spirits, witches, legends, etc and had their own way of dealing with them from chants, potions, and even runes to ward off the bad spirits and keep people safe.Both Rósa and Jón were fascinating characters to get involved with and it was a joy and a privilege to watch their development, especially Rosa’s, as this was a woman living in 1686 who was educated, wise beyond her years and knew what she wanted in life. As the book progressed so did their characters and I loved watching them evolve. The book is quite slow in pace, however, the story was so absorbing that the slowness wasn’t an issue.It took me about a week to read the book as I needed to concentrate on the plot to fully devour it. It is captivating and has a real Gothic, mystical feel to it. It was nice to read a book that really lived up to its title too.
    more
  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    I was drawn in by an intriguing title, a beautiful cover, and the promise of a dark tale set in a cold country.Then I was captured by a striking image.On the coast of Iceland in November 1686 a a tremor cracked the ice and a body floated to the surface of the sea. One arm was raised and its bone-white fingers waved, as if it was alive.A group of villagers gathered to watch and talk, but there was one man among them who remained silent; because he knew the who the person under under the ice had b I was drawn in by an intriguing title, a beautiful cover, and the promise of a dark tale set in a cold country.Then I was captured by a striking image.On the coast of Iceland in November 1686 a a tremor cracked the ice and a body floated to the surface of the sea. One arm was raised and its bone-white fingers waved, as if it was alive.A group of villagers gathered to watch and talk, but there was one man among them who remained silent; because he knew the who the person under under the ice had been and he knew how that person had come to be there ….Some months earlier, a young woman named Rósa was living in a small, impoverished community with her widowed mother, Sigridúr. She knew that her mother was growing frail and would not survive the winter if she could not find more money to buy food and fuel.She had received an offer of marriage from Jón, the wealthy leader of a settlement some distance away. He promised to look after her mother and the local community; and so, though she didn’t want to leave her mother, her home and Páll – her childhood sweetheart who she had always thought she would wed – she knew that she had to accept the proposal.When she travelled to her new home in Stykkishólmur with her new husband, Rósa was concerned that her husband was taciturn, that he had them sleep in the open rather than seek lodgings, and that when they did meet other people he gave a false name.She hoped that things would be better when she was settled in her new home, but her husband made it clear that she was to be subservient and remain at the their croft to keep house and leave only at his bidding.He told her that he didn’t want his wife mixing with the people in the village; and when she approached her neighbours she found that they were reluctant to speak to her, that there was a mystery surrounding the death of the death of Jón’s first wife, and that they would say to her was that she should obey her husband.Just one woman, Katrin, tried to do a little more to help her.Rósa couldn’t help being fearful of her new husband, and of his apprentice, Pétur. She tried to please Jón, and sometimes she succeeded, but she struggled to cope with staying in their croft alone, with little to occupy her time.She loved reading and writing, she loved the old sagas, but her mother had warned her that her husband would not approve of any of that, and so she wrote only a little and hid her writing very carefully.She wondered what was in the loft space he insisted must be kept locked at all time, about what made the floorboards creak at night when her husband was away and she was in her bed alone, and about what had really had happened to the wife who came before her ….Rósa was a wonderfully engaging character and I really felt that I was living through this story with her. I understood her feelings, and I appreciated how carefully she walked the line as she tried to please her husband and to establish a life for herself.The storytelling kept me close to her, and while it moved slowly at times I realised that it had to, to catch the reality of Rósa’s situation.The writing was dark and lovely, and it caught the time, the place and the atmosphere wonderfully well.I had reservations though.My first reservation was that the time and place didn’t seem that specific. The setting was beautifully realised, the landscape had a significant part to play in the story; but I couldn’t help thinking that the story might have been set in any isolated community in a cold country, at a point in history where there were tensions between old and new traditions.My second reservation was that the structure didn’t work as well as it should. At first the story was told purely from Rósa’s point of view, but some way into the book another perspective was added into the mix. I completely understood the need for that second voice, it enriched the story but I wish it had been introduced a little earlier and that the transitions had been done with a little more finesse.Luckily, there was much more that I loved.I thought I might be a retelling of a traditional story, and I might have been in the beginning; but in time that story was subverted quite beautifully, and I found that the truth of this story and its characters were not at all as I had expected.I was caught up in the story from the beginning but in the later stages, when it reached the time when the body emerged from the icy sea and the consequences of that played out, I realised how real Rósa, the people around her and the world that they lived in had become to me.This book, with its secrets and its silences, worked so well in this dark, cold winter.
    more
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This historical novel is set in Iceland in 1686. Rosa lives with her mother in a small, isolated community. This is a bleak landscape, where life is hard and existence difficult. While Rosa’s father was alive; a respected member of the community, they lived fairly comfortably – but, with his death, the two quickly struggle. When a stranger appears, the wealthy Jon Eriksson, Rosa ignores her mother’s warnings, as well as her own reluctance, and decides to marry him, in order to help protect her m This historical novel is set in Iceland in 1686. Rosa lives with her mother in a small, isolated community. This is a bleak landscape, where life is hard and existence difficult. While Rosa’s father was alive; a respected member of the community, they lived fairly comfortably – but, with his death, the two quickly struggle. When a stranger appears, the wealthy Jon Eriksson, Rosa ignores her mother’s warnings, as well as her own reluctance, and decides to marry him, in order to help protect her mother, who is unwell.She travels to the croft of her new husband, prepared to try to be an obedient wife and put aside her dreams of reading and writing. For her parents encouraged her desire to write and she delighted in the sagas and stories of her home. However, the lines between myth and witchcraft are blurred in this world and it is easy to be accused for a false word. Rosa’s life with Jon is difficult. Rumours abound about the death of his first wife, she is lonely and her husband does not encourage company, other than Petur, who works with him. The croft has a loft, which is locked and, soon, Rosa believes that her new home is haunted. Suspicious, afraid and nervous of her new husband, she begins to wonder what really happened to the wife who came before her…This novel has a wonderful setting and is well written and atmospheric. For me, it read a little like, “Rebecca,” but relocated to another time and place. An enjoyable read, which was perfect for reading with snow swirling outside in a cold January. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
    more
  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Oh I DEVOURED this book. Haunting, chilly, beautifully created, 17th Century Iceland comes alive on the page and you feel for  it’s inhabitants who struggle daily to survive..Into this epic landscape comes Rosa, who marries for practical purposes not love and who comes to believe she may be in grave danger from Husband Jon, the death of his first wife being  surrounded by gossip, intrigue and dark mutterings of witchcraft..Caroline Lea paints a deeply sinister picture of  Rosa’s new home and dra Oh I DEVOURED this book. Haunting, chilly, beautifully created, 17th Century Iceland comes alive on the page and you feel for  it’s inhabitants who struggle daily to survive..Into this epic landscape comes Rosa, who marries for practical purposes not love and who comes to believe she may be in grave danger from Husband Jon, the death of his first wife being  surrounded by gossip, intrigue and dark mutterings of witchcraft..Caroline Lea paints a deeply sinister picture of  Rosa’s new home and draws you into this relentlessly harsh environment where death is only ever a breath away. Rosa is an amazingly engaging character, fiercely independent internally whilst outwardly projecting obedience, you get totally caught up in her wish to know the secrets hidden from her.The whole thing is entirely gorgeously addictive, I found the growing relationship between Rosa and Jon utterly riveting, with  the community around them and it’s suspicious nature both dividing them and drawing them together.I won’t give too much away but this is both clever and pitched perfectly, even the mundane day to day tasks are vividly drawn, there is not a single dull moment.The Glass Woman is melancholy and heart breaking, a tale to fall into, it is unpredictable and so so good. Loved it.Don’t miss it!Highly Recommended.
    more
  • Sonja Arlow
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderfully atmospheric book set in one of my favourite time periods and places. It has an interesting story and characters as well as stellar audio narrators…….yet I could never really connect with the story.I wonder if it would have made a difference if I read this rather than listen to it. Some books need to be read at a faster pace to be sucked in.The author paints a foreboding and sinister picture of Rosa’s new home. Newly married, extremely isolated and unsure of her role in this This is a wonderfully atmospheric book set in one of my favourite time periods and places. It has an interesting story and characters as well as stellar audio narrators…….yet I could never really connect with the story.I wonder if it would have made a difference if I read this rather than listen to it. Some books need to be read at a faster pace to be sucked in.The author paints a foreboding and sinister picture of Rosa’s new home. Newly married, extremely isolated and unsure of her role in this community, Rosa tries to make sense of the noises she hears at night, the rumours about her predecessor and the volatility of Jon’s interactions with her. The villagers are no help either as she is forbidden contact with anyone other than Jon and his farm hand.As the story progresses more background is given about Rosa and Jon yet the switch in timelines and from 3rd to 1st person didn’t work very well for me.The book is compared to Burial Rites but it reminded me a lot more of Rebecca.I can completely understand the glowing reviews as the author created a very distinct sense of time and place but unfortunately the story never took off for me.
    more
  • Navessa
    January 1, 1970
    "A young bride must contend with ancient superstitions, disturbing secrets, and her mysterious new husband in this gothic historical novel, set in late-seventeeth-century Iceland, with the eerie, romantic atmosphere of Jane Eyre and Rebecca and the dark, haunting mystery of Burial Rites." SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY
    more
  • Fiona
    January 1, 1970
    So nearly a 5 star read.I was drawn to this novel because it’s set in Iceland, a land and culture that has an endless fascination for me. It’s set in the 17th century and gets off to a slow start. Rosa leaves the love of her life behind to marry a wealthy man who can provide for her ailing mother. From the moment she sets off for Stykkishólmur, where her husband lives, there is a menacing undercurrent and the book quickly becomes a page turner. Rosa’s new husband, Jon, has already lost one wife. So nearly a 5 star read.I was drawn to this novel because it’s set in Iceland, a land and culture that has an endless fascination for me. It’s set in the 17th century and gets off to a slow start. Rosa leaves the love of her life behind to marry a wealthy man who can provide for her ailing mother. From the moment she sets off for Stykkishólmur, where her husband lives, there is a menacing undercurrent and the book quickly becomes a page turner. Rosa’s new husband, Jon, has already lost one wife. He shows her little affection because really he just needs someone to cook and clean and help him with the farm. There is a loft in the building but it’s kept locked. Rosa imagines she hears someone moving around up there but can’t get in to see. Her husband forbids her to mix with the locals so she quickly feels isolated and frightened.To say much more would be to spoil the unfolding of the story. We jump about between months and between different accounts, a good device for keeping our interest and increasing the tension and it works. Why isn’t this a 5 star read then? I didn’t need to read the acknowledgements at the end to know that the author doesn’t really know Iceland. The story could have been set anywhere where remote communities make travel difficult and strangers arouse suspicion. Her first book, which I haven’t read, is set on the island of Jersey where she grew up. I think it’s good advice for authors, especially new ones, to stick to what they know. The Icelandic setting rarely felt authentic and I wasn’t surprised to learn that she has only been there fleetingly, relying mostly on research.It’s a good read, however. I really enjoyed the suspense which the author builds up very well. It’s very exciting at times and she tries to address important issues.With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK / Michael Joseph for a free review copy.
    more
  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Rosa finds herself far from home, far from everything and everyone she has known, and married to Jon, leader of a remote Icelandic community. Given the mystery surrounding the death of Jon's first wife, hints of madness and a loft she is forbidden to enter from which strange noises seem to emanate at night, Rosa could be forgiven for thinking she's in some 17th century Icelandic version of Jane Eyre or Rebecca. Add to that Jon's reluctance to talk about his past and his command that Rosa should Rosa finds herself far from home, far from everything and everyone she has known, and married to Jon, leader of a remote Icelandic community. Given the mystery surrounding the death of Jon's first wife, hints of madness and a loft she is forbidden to enter from which strange noises seem to emanate at night, Rosa could be forgiven for thinking she's in some 17th century Icelandic version of Jane Eyre or Rebecca. Add to that Jon's reluctance to talk about his past and his command that Rosa should not mix with the other villagers and you've all the ingredients for a deliciously atmospheric Gothic-style mystery.The author does a brilliant job of creating an atmosphere of claustrophobia and suffocating seclusion as well as bringing to life the realities of the harsh life of the remote community, the endless domestic drudgery and battle against the elements. There's also fascinating detail about Icelandic culture of the time including the food, language, household routines, customs, social order and mythology. It's a society in which the expected role of women is obedience and where any deviation brings the risk of accusation of witchcraft.Alternating between the point of views of Rosa and Jon, the narrative switches between past and present until both storylines converge and all is finally revealed. When it is, it's a story of cruelty, forbidden love, madness born out of grief and unfulfilled desire, dark nights and even darker deeds.The Glass Woman is an atmospheric, intense and powerful story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    more
  • Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
    January 1, 1970
    A gorgeously atmospheric novel, strong on both the horrifying claustrophobia of an Icelandic winter and on the complexities of the relationships between its principle characters. I found the triangle between Petur, Jon and Rosa particularly ticklish, and there was a lovely intimacy to the ending. That said, the narrative is a bit far-fetched in parts and the villains are unrelentingly villainous and there are echoes of half a dozen well worn tropes. I would say a 3.5 stars rather than a 4 but im A gorgeously atmospheric novel, strong on both the horrifying claustrophobia of an Icelandic winter and on the complexities of the relationships between its principle characters. I found the triangle between Petur, Jon and Rosa particularly ticklish, and there was a lovely intimacy to the ending. That said, the narrative is a bit far-fetched in parts and the villains are unrelentingly villainous and there are echoes of half a dozen well worn tropes. I would say a 3.5 stars rather than a 4 but immensely enjoyable and well worth a look if you like your historical fiction to focus on character and place.
    more
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Iceland proves a bleak and dramatic setting- Icelandic gothic maybe? The writing is evocative and well executed. The descriptions of people’s superstitions, of Witches and their reliance on Sagas contributed to the atmosphere of darkness and chill. However I didn’t feel surprised by the plot, it seemed highly predictable to me. Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
    more
  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, be still my beating historical-fiction-loving heart. This novel right here is exactly why I enjoy this genre so much! It reminded me a bit of Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, which you should also most definitely read if you haven’t done so already.The Glass Woman tells the story of Rósa in 1686 Iceland. Struggling with poverty and a poorly mother, Rósa finds herself rather unexpectedly betrothed to Jón. He is the wealthy chief of another settlement and marrying him will make sure Rósa’s mother Oh, be still my beating historical-fiction-loving heart. This novel right here is exactly why I enjoy this genre so much! It reminded me a bit of Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, which you should also most definitely read if you haven’t done so already.The Glass Woman tells the story of Rósa in 1686 Iceland. Struggling with poverty and a poorly mother, Rósa finds herself rather unexpectedly betrothed to Jón. He is the wealthy chief of another settlement and marrying him will make sure Rósa’s mother and the other villagers will be taken care of. But when Rósa joins her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur, there is no sign of a fairytale romance. Jón isn’t exactly the most loving husband and Rósa starts to wonder about his first wife. What happened to her anyway? There is a darkness hanging over this settlement and Rósa’s new home. Is she in danger?With its short days and long nights, darkness is all around in this novel. When the snow begins to fall and you’re acutely aware of how remote this settlement actually is, you are left with an immensely chilling sense of isolation. The Glass Woman oozes atmosphere from start to finish. This story about forbidden love, fear and pretending to be someone you’re not is utterly immersive and brilliantly written. Full of superstition and suspicion, it’s perfectly paced and extremely compelling.While there is the mystery of what happened to Jón’s first wife to solve, it was the characters who drew me in. Few of them came across as particularly likeable but this only added to the feeling of discomfort and general creepiness that runs through this novel. Just like Rósa, I wondered why the villagers were so wary of her and it was a struggle for me to figure out who to trust, if anyone. The fate of these characters was impossible to predict and while I felt the conclusion was satisfying, it almost left me a little saddened.Haunting, beautifully atmospheric and full of complex characters, Caroline Lea’s novel captured my heart. If you enjoy historical fiction, I’m convinced it will do the same to you. I will without a doubt be keeping a firm eye on her in future.
    more
  • Joanna Park
    January 1, 1970
    The Glass Woman is an extraordinary novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It manages to be atmospheric, gripping and very dark which makes it the perfect book to snuggle up with on cold nights.Firstly the Icelandic settings is superbly described so that the reader can picture the scenes vividly. The dark, volatile landscape almost becomes another character as it sits brooding in the background and seems to reflect Rósa’s mood as the book progresses which I thought was very clever. I also love The Glass Woman is an extraordinary novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It manages to be atmospheric, gripping and very dark which makes it the perfect book to snuggle up with on cold nights.Firstly the Icelandic settings is superbly described so that the reader can picture the scenes vividly. The dark, volatile landscape almost becomes another character as it sits brooding in the background and seems to reflect Rósa’s mood as the book progresses which I thought was very clever. I also loved learning more about Icelandic culture and a bit about their myths or legends which they used to believe in. I’d not read much about rumes so I found that bit particularly interesting.Rósa was a very interesting character but one that took me a little while warm to. She seemed quite full of herself at the beginning and I didn’t like how she threw everything away even if it was meant to be for selfless reasons. However she soon grew on me and I found I admired her bravery and determination.This book was surprisingly gripping and there was always an underlying feeling that something was going to happen which helped add to a lot of the tension in the book. I found myself gripped pretty much from the start as I wanted to find out how the story would develop. As I grew to like Rósa my concern for her welfare increased and I wanted to keep reading to make sure she was ok.I absolutely loved the ending and thought it was the perfect way to end the book. I was so pleased this is worked out how they did though wish it had maybe continued a little further as I would love to have read more.This is unbelievably the author’s debut novel and I’m very excited to read more from her. This is definitely a book I’ll be thinking about for a while.Huge thanks to Jenny Platt from Michael St Joseph for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book which I received in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • SueLucie
    January 1, 1970
    I didn’t just read this book, I experienced it. Caroline Lea conjures up an atmosphere fraught with tension that permeates every page. A tiny, isolated community is eking out an existence in a stark, brutal landscape where everything around them is dangerous - blizzards, the icy sea, the turbulent, volcanic land itself and, not least, each other. They walk a fine line between a harsh version of Christianity and the old beliefs in witchcraft and omens, and cling to superstition - any event out of I didn’t just read this book, I experienced it. Caroline Lea conjures up an atmosphere fraught with tension that permeates every page. A tiny, isolated community is eking out an existence in a stark, brutal landscape where everything around them is dangerous - blizzards, the icy sea, the turbulent, volcanic land itself and, not least, each other. They walk a fine line between a harsh version of Christianity and the old beliefs in witchcraft and omens, and cling to superstition - any event out of the ordinary can be seen to bode badly. Into this community comes Rosa, young and hopeful new wife to the local chief, and is soon in danger of being overwhelmed by loneliness, menacing gossip and a husband who terrifies her.There is only a handful of characters and the action scarcely extends beyond Rosa’s back yard, so the feeling of claustrophobia is high, and a couple of gruesome events didn’t make for easy reading. The novel’s structure is effective. We rely on Rosa’s narrative at first and her view of events from an incomer’s perspective, but later the narrative alternates between Rosa and her husband Jon, so his back story reveals how he came to be as he is and the reason for his behaviour. Characters and their motivations are no longer as black and white as they seemed and the tension builds to an unexpectedly poignant conclusion.An engrossing story, terrifically well written, and highly recommended (especially to those who have enjoyed works by Sarah Moss and Hannah Kent, both of whom are acknowledged in the author’s afterword as inspirations).With many thanks to Penguin, Michael Joseph via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC.
    more
  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea, set in Iceland in 1686, has a dark atmosphere, saturated in sadness, fear and superstition, a story of suspicion, love and violence. The story takes places over just a few months from August to December. It begins in November 1686 as a body surfaces from the ice-crusted sea, a body that had been weighted down with stones. But the land in Iceland is never still and the stones had been dislodged, pushing the body upwards and breaking the ice above.And then the stor The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea, set in Iceland in 1686, has a dark atmosphere, saturated in sadness, fear and superstition, a story of suspicion, love and violence. The story takes places over just a few months from August to December. It begins in November 1686 as a body surfaces from the ice-crusted sea, a body that had been weighted down with stones. But the land in Iceland is never still and the stones had been dislodged, pushing the body upwards and breaking the ice above.And then the story steps back a few months to August 1686 as Rósa is sent to the remote village of Stykkishólmur to join her new husband, Jón Eiríksson, a rich fisherman, farmer and merchant, and the chieftain. In other words a powerful man. He and Rosa had met when he had been travelling south and although his wife, Anna, had only been dead for two months he had proposed to Rosa. She accepted him, not because she loved him but to save her mother from starvation. Jon gives her a small glass figurine, shaped in the perfect form of a woman, hands clasped and her gaze meekly lowered, as a wedding present. He said it reminded him of her.And a few months later accompanied by Petur, his apprentice, she travels to Stykkishólmur. Petur is reputed to be one of the huldufolk – one of the ‘hidden people’ or elves, who take people and feast on their souls. (Icelandic works are used throughout the book and there is a short glossary at the end of the book, which I didn’t find until I finished the book.) He warns her not to ask questions about Anna, not to him or the villagers and especially not to Jon. As they near the village Rosa becomes suspicious and fearful, especially as strangers they meet warn her that Jon may look honest but underneath he is a devil.Her fears only increase as she finds she is isolated in a croft apart from the other villagers, who shun her with the exception of one woman, Katrin, who offers to help her. Jon forbids her to enter the locked room in the loft or the outbuildings, which of course rouses her curiosity. He expects her to obey him and occupy herself in the croft – to be subservient, like the glass woman. So, Rosa obediently went through her daily tasks. There was an old belief that reading and writing could be a form of witchcraft and Rosa’s mother, who knows Rosa is too wilful to be a wife, had warned her that Jon would set fire to her feet if she wrote a single word. So Rosa, who loves the Sagas, hid her writing from Jon. Then, hearing strange noises in the loft, she is irresistibly drawn to investigate and the tension rises, slowly mounting to violence as the book progresses.I had high hopes that I would love The Glass Woman, but my hopes dwindled as I read on. I thought it was too long, too drawn out and slow, especially in the first half of the book. The structure of the story let it down for me and there are parts of the story I thought were a bit too predictable. The action takes place over just a few months – from August to December – and the narrative switches backwards and forwards over these months, between Rosa in the third person and Jon in the first person which I found rather disjointed and awkward having to work out what happened when. The pace did pick up towards the end of the book, though, as the violence reaches its climax.I liked the setting in Iceland and the historical context. Caroline Lea explains in her author’s note at the end of the book that as she immersed herself in Jon and Rosa’s world she found the landscape itself was becoming a character. I can see what she means – the landscape does play a large part in the story and I liked her descriptions of its changing nature as earthquakes engulf whole hills, the land falling away or rising up. She was also fascinated by the Sagas with their references to the supernatural and that comes across strongly too.The questions, however kept my interest – what had happened to Anna, what is in the locked room, and why does Jon want to keep Rosa away from the village? And what about the body that emerges from ice – how does that fit into the story? Overall, then I did enjoy this book.My thanks to the publishers, Penguin UK Michael Joseph, for my review copy via NetGalley.
    more
  • Janel
    January 1, 1970
    The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea is a wonderful book, an atmospheric and immersive tale of superstition and salvation. Can we talk about the setting for this novel? Iceland, 1686 – the perfect setting; in the village of Stykkisholmur, the whispers of the locals created this real sense of isolation for Rósa. The cold climate, and the snowfall, enhanced this feeling of isolation, and created not only a sense of loneliness, but brought with it this air of desperation, this need for you, the reader, The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea is a wonderful book, an atmospheric and immersive tale of superstition and salvation. Can we talk about the setting for this novel? Iceland, 1686 – the perfect setting; in the village of Stykkisholmur, the whispers of the locals created this real sense of isolation for Rósa. The cold climate, and the snowfall, enhanced this feeling of isolation, and created not only a sense of loneliness, but brought with it this air of desperation, this need for you, the reader, to know what happened to Jon’s first wife, and whether Rósa is safe.The characters in this novel aren’t plentiful, but their presence is most certainly felt! Jón had the strongest presence of all, the most dominant, in the sense that the unease that the villagers feel when he is around is also felt by you, the reader. Jón is such bold character, but you just cannot get a read on him, you cannot relax, just like Rósa has her suspicions, you have yours too. Rósa was a likeable enough character, as the central female, she carried the story well, but in this novel, the atmosphere was a character itself! The plot just wraps itself around you, the isolated setting, the cold, it just draws you in in such a compelling way. Also the inclusion of the odd, well-placed, Icelandic word really built on the already strong atmosphere – there is a glossary, so it’s worth checking that out prior to starting the novel, or as you go along, if you cannot determine the meaning of certain words based on their context.Narrated mostly by Rósa, with the odd chapter from Jón, this novel is emotional when it needs to be, but continuous in its suspense building. The mystery is strong, I thought I had it all figured out, only to be proved wrong, time and time again. The ending was quite a moving one, but a little long winded; while a more succinct ending may have been more preferable, this novel is one not to be missed. A very, very impressive piece of fiction, well-crafted and beautifully written. Such rich storytelling allows you to visualise this novel as you read it, if you’re a fan dark, cold, and moody atmospheres, haunting tales of times past, then you need to lose yourself in The Glass Woman.*My thanks to the publisher for the review copy*
    more
  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the locations in the novelOut in February, this is a novel to watch out as it captures the magic of a country, the culture and belief system of its time.What a remarkable novel. So eery and chilling in both atmosphere and prose. The writing is exquisite and is carried on the whispering winds of the setting. A haunting tale of a woman having to marry someone she doesn’t know. This man is feared and there are tales of how his first wife died. Now he wants another wife and Rosa, our heroine, Visit the locations in the novelOut in February, this is a novel to watch out as it captures the magic of a country, the culture and belief system of its time.What a remarkable novel. So eery and chilling in both atmosphere and prose. The writing is exquisite and is carried on the whispering winds of the setting. A haunting tale of a woman having to marry someone she doesn’t know. This man is feared and there are tales of how his first wife died. Now he wants another wife and Rosa, our heroine, is it.This is a haunting tale on so many levels – not just the fact that Rosa has to marry and obey this strange man but that no one really knows what happened to this first wife. Who is going to be the one to confront him? There are tales of Sagas, warriors of the past and women who have been subservient to them in the past. It seems the Sagas and their teachings are now all these people have.The novel reveals itself slowly and lyrically. It’s like standing in a forest and noticing that there is something hiding behind a tree, then moving quickly behind another, dancing, taunting the person watching with fear, the unknown and the unexpected. That’s how I felt reading this novel and it was a wonderfully immersive experience.The setting is beautifully evoked and painted with deft brush strokes of the pen. Small settlements in Iceland are on the map here. The snow, the remoteness, desolate setting will seep into your mind, your consciousness and your dreams as you go to sleep.There’s plenty of scary, chilling moments too – when the back story is one of Sagas and witches, it’s no surprise really but this author has crafted a wonderful tale of folklore fantasy and the unknown reality – and the fine line between the two.Glorious and stunningly spindly. Iceland has never looked and felt so hauntingly real.
    more
  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    The Glass Woman is a deceptively bleak tale set in the vast icy expanse of seventeenth-century Iceland, and what I enjoyed the most was how very dark it was; the atmosphere was ominous, to say the least, and completely oppressive. The beautiful, brutal setting added to the atmospherics wonderfully and the Icelandic cultural references were intriguing to me. Perhaps it's the harshness of the landscape that has fuelled the suspicion running rife in the small communities who look on outsiders with The Glass Woman is a deceptively bleak tale set in the vast icy expanse of seventeenth-century Iceland, and what I enjoyed the most was how very dark it was; the atmosphere was ominous, to say the least, and completely oppressive. The beautiful, brutal setting added to the atmospherics wonderfully and the Icelandic cultural references were intriguing to me. Perhaps it's the harshness of the landscape that has fuelled the suspicion running rife in the small communities who look on outsiders with mistrust, or perhaps there really is an evil waiting to be unmasked.A haunting novel that is richly-imagined and full of mystery, intrigue and melancholy. The characters are beautifully drawn with sadness about them, but be warned nothing in this novel is quite what it seems. The writing style was beautiful and immersive and the descriptions, in particular, were stunning. I fell hook, line and sinker for this mesmerising tale of superstition, fear, paranoia and wonderment. The setting is as much character as the cast, and it provides the backdrop to the perfect menacing tale for a chilly winter evening.Many thanks to Michael Joseph for an ARC.You can also find my reviews posted here on my blog.
    more
  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great read! There is plenty of foreboding, atmosphere, tension and sinister elements inside. It comes to a taut and tension-filled end too. I also shed a tear at the end, it was a beautiful ending, but I won't say for whom I shed the tears for, it might give too much away.
    more
  • Nikola
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsYou can also read this review on on my book blog. I couldn’t resist joining the blog tour for The Glass Woman when I read the synopsis of it. I just felt like it’s my kind of book – it has all the elements I like: historical fiction, mystery and intriguing plot.The Glass Woman takes place in Iceland in the year 1686 where we meet Rósa, a young woman who lives in poverty with her mother in a small community where life is hard. Rósa becomes spoken for by Jón who’s a powerful figure and who 4 starsYou can also read this review on on my book blog. I couldn’t resist joining the blog tour for The Glass Woman when I read the synopsis of it. I just felt like it’s my kind of book – it has all the elements I like: historical fiction, mystery and intriguing plot.The Glass Woman takes place in Iceland in the year 1686 where we meet Rósa, a young woman who lives in poverty with her mother in a small community where life is hard. Rósa becomes spoken for by Jón who’s a powerful figure and who can help Rósa and her mother live a better life. Rósa begins her new life with her husband but something’s not right.. There is talk of Jón’s first wife’s mysterious death and talk of witchcraft. What secrets lie in the village of Stykkishólmur? Will Rósa be able to uncover them?I love reading historical fiction books a lot so whenever I get the chance to read these I get very excited. The setting of this novel is in Iceland which is very cool because it’s a great setting for a book especially this one. Caroline Lea transported me to the 1686 Iceland and I couldn’t put the book down. The characters in this book are very interesting and getting into their psyche was something I loved because they had many flaws and many desires, wishes etc. At first Jón was an unlikable character and I couldn’t stand him but I love how we saw more of him and my opinion completely changed. I loved Rósa’s commentary because she’s a smart one and I absolutely understood her position and felt sad for her. I read the book in two days because of how compelling it was and that’s what a good book does. I liked the plot but getting deeper into it I wanted more to be realised from the story but the way story went was still entertaining and kept me reading on. I feel like saying anything further will spoil your experience with the book so I won’t say a word.The Glass Woman is a book I’d definitely recommend to historical fiction lovers because it’s compelling, the setting is fantastic and it will keep you at the edge of your seat. I would like to thank the publisher Michael Joseph (Penguin UK) for providing me with a review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.
    more
  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Shivery novel set in 17th century Iceland. A young girl, Rosa, marries the headman of another village, Jon. The story is that he has murdered his first wife and buried her late at night. There are certain parts of his property he keeps locked and forbids Rosa to enter: the loft in his home and the "pit-house" [a storehouse?] on his property. He forbids her becoming friends with anyone in the village, especially the herbalist, Katrin. Why? He is an eccentric man, cold, distant and dour. She often Shivery novel set in 17th century Iceland. A young girl, Rosa, marries the headman of another village, Jon. The story is that he has murdered his first wife and buried her late at night. There are certain parts of his property he keeps locked and forbids Rosa to enter: the loft in his home and the "pit-house" [a storehouse?] on his property. He forbids her becoming friends with anyone in the village, especially the herbalist, Katrin. Why? He is an eccentric man, cold, distant and dour. She often hears strange noises above her in the night. From the loft? He has a apprentice, Petur, who has had a terrible childhood. The two are inseparable. Rosa feels evil in the air. She is alone and will it affect her?This novel kept me engrossed and guessing. Another reviewer mention the story's being predictable, but it wasn't to me. There were many twists and turns; around every corner another one appeared. Don't read this one at night!! Highly recommended.
    more
  • Maria Hill AKA MH Books
    January 1, 1970
    I am abandoning this at only 24 pages in. The writing is not for me and compares unfavourably to more skillful writers such as Sally Magnusson (The Sealwoman's Gift). The writing style is overly simplistic for my taste and the romance subplot is already reading as overly clumsy and YA like. So not for me I am afraid.
    more
  • 4cats
    January 1, 1970
    The Glass Woman is one of those novels which grows on you with every page. By setting this novel in 17th century Iceland, Caroline Lea takes us back in time to witness the hardships that her characters face on a daily basis. Rosa marries Jon ensure her her mother's survival even if it means leaving her village and the boy she has known all of her life and has grown to love. She finds herself alone, her husband doesn't want her to make new friends and she finds herself haunted by her husbands fir The Glass Woman is one of those novels which grows on you with every page. By setting this novel in 17th century Iceland, Caroline Lea takes us back in time to witness the hardships that her characters face on a daily basis. Rosa marries Jon ensure her her mother's survival even if it means leaving her village and the boy she has known all of her life and has grown to love. She finds herself alone, her husband doesn't want her to make new friends and she finds herself haunted by her husbands first marriage.This is an evocative and atmospheric novel features characters you will care about and who will remain with you long after you've finished it.. It reminded me of Jane Eyre, The Miniaturist and Burial Rites.
    more
  • peggy
    January 1, 1970
    Another genre i do not usually read. WOW Historical Crime Thriller par excellence. I read this book in one sitting and kept me reading late into the night, I could not put it down. Iceland 1686 where people's lives are steeped in traditions and superstition. Whispers of witchcraft. All set in the freezing cold and ice covered landscape. This book was beautifully written and her descriptions of the scenery and life soon had me transported back to this time. A time where women were less, subservie Another genre i do not usually read. WOW Historical Crime Thriller par excellence. I read this book in one sitting and kept me reading late into the night, I could not put it down. Iceland 1686 where people's lives are steeped in traditions and superstition. Whispers of witchcraft. All set in the freezing cold and ice covered landscape. This book was beautifully written and her descriptions of the scenery and life soon had me transported back to this time. A time where women were less, subservient to their men and each day was an interminable grind. I have not told you any of the plot on purpose. You need to read this book for yourself. This book smacks of Rebecca but so much more. Oh and we have a murder to solve. I can't wait to read more from this author. Loved this book and so highly recommended. I would like to thank the author, Penguin U K and Michael Joseph and Netgalley for the advanced copy in return for giving an honest review.
    more
  • Shalini | Book Rambler
    January 1, 1970
    "On the coast of Iceland in November 1686 a tremor cracked the ice and a body floated to the surface of the sea. One arm was raised and its bone-white fingers waved, as if it was alive." The Glass Woman pulled me in with the promise of a haunting tale set in Iceland. The cover and the title goes perfectly with that imagery however, I am a tad bit disappointed after reading it. The story is set in the year 1686 and tells of a young woman called Rósa who had to leave her home to marry a wealthy s "On the coast of Iceland in November 1686 a tremor cracked the ice and a body floated to the surface of the sea. One arm was raised and its bone-white fingers waved, as if it was alive." The Glass Woman pulled me in with the promise of a haunting tale set in Iceland. The cover and the title goes perfectly with that imagery however, I am a tad bit disappointed after reading it. The story is set in the year 1686 and tells of a young woman called Rósa who had to leave her home to marry a wealthy stranger so that she could provide for her family. Life for a woman was hell in this place and this era. Misogyny reined and I felt so damn uncomfortable (to say the least) reading the way women especially Rósa were treated. The story had the vibe of Rebecca and The Miniaturist but it didn't thrill me as much as I had expected it to. Rósa's character was wonderfully written and I felt as if I was experiencing the story vicariously through her. I liked the writing; it perfectly resonated with the eerie atmosphere of the book. Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for my honest opinions.
    more
  • 4cats
    January 1, 1970
    review to follow
  • Vikki Patis
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely beautiful and brilliant.
  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    The Glass Woman is an artfully atmospheric tale crafted from words that have been chosen with the utmost care and nurtured to perfection.At the centre of an unforgiving landscape isolation and loneliness lie in wait. A person’s fate could easily be decided by a hellish snowstorm, or a treacherous rumour that spreads like ice beneath their feet.Jon and Rosa’s accounts are wholly enveloped by an intense oppression as an ‘unknowing’ silently weaves its way throughout the pages until the truth is am The Glass Woman is an artfully atmospheric tale crafted from words that have been chosen with the utmost care and nurtured to perfection.At the centre of an unforgiving landscape isolation and loneliness lie in wait. A person’s fate could easily be decided by a hellish snowstorm, or a treacherous rumour that spreads like ice beneath their feet.Jon and Rosa’s accounts are wholly enveloped by an intense oppression as an ‘unknowing’ silently weaves its way throughout the pages until the truth is amplified for all to hear. Theirs is a cruel, exhausting and fragile existence, a household held captive by the burdens of obligation and something unspoken which strikes fear in their hearts.Their stories convey anguish and optimism with startling acuity, and despite the maddening whispers that sulk in dark menacing corners I felt a longing to return to their croft during any moment I could spare. Any Icelandic words that were substituted for more familiar ones felt entirely natural and strangely did not require explanation. Without a doubt their inclusion enhanced the authenticity and quality of the narration. I always find that time passes quickly when I’m holding a damned good book in my hands. This was one of those times. I can say no more other than very highly recommended.(I received a copy of this title from the publisher with my thanks, which it was my pleasure to read and review.)
    more
Write a review