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, Adult

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Ness
    January 1, 1970
    Caroline Lea writes beautifully and creates a believably freezing 1600s Icelandic landscape on which to place her characters. It's an atmospheric tale that mirrors (and references) the sagas of that country. Until I read the Acknowledgements, I had believed the author to be from Iceland, with legend and country woven throughout the tale. It is clear a lot of research has gone into this title and it is all the better for it - it results in a truly rich and evocative story. "A woman made of glass Caroline Lea writes beautifully and creates a believably freezing 1600s Icelandic landscape on which to place her characters. It's an atmospheric tale that mirrors (and references) the sagas of that country. Until I read the Acknowledgements, I had believed the author to be from Iceland, with legend and country woven throughout the tale. It is clear a lot of research has gone into this title and it is all the better for it - it results in a truly rich and evocative story. "A woman made of glass and stillness: perfect but easily shattered."A tiny gift of glass is given to Rósa by her new husband whom she must marry to protect herself and her ailing mother. At the time the reader is uncertain as to whether this is a talisman, a cursed object or a metaphor, or perhaps all three.When I first picked up this book, I did so because it was categorised as both historical fiction and as a mystery/thriller. I agree that it is absolutely historical fiction and I have to say I would not have described it as either a mystery for a thriller, except to the extent that it has a sense of foreboding about it, by way of Jane Eyre. As with that latter title, this is a story of of status, of a woman's place in history and of love in all its guises. In short, I would still have read this book if it had simply been categorised as historical fiction, which is the predominant genre here but don't pick it up expecting it to be, as one reviewer described "unputdownable", or a pacy page-turner. Do expect it to be a well-written title full of detail and dread.Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin UK - Michael Joseph and Caroline Lea for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    The Glass Woman is a haunting story set in 17th century Iceland. It's beautifully written and will keep you on the edge of your seat. I loved this.
  • 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
  • Jennifer Young
    January 1, 1970
    The Glass Woman is set in late seventeenth century Iceland, a place I’m barely familiar with beyond a short break where my tracks passed briefly across those of the protagonists and a time about which I know very little history in my own context, let alone that of anywhere else. And yet the premise was appealing — Rosa, a young woman sent to marry Jon, a rich (relatively speaking) and powerful man who is distrusted and whose first wife is dead. And from the very beginning, I was hooked. The time The Glass Woman is set in late seventeenth century Iceland, a place I’m barely familiar with beyond a short break where my tracks passed briefly across those of the protagonists and a time about which I know very little history in my own context, let alone that of anywhere else. And yet the premise was appealing — Rosa, a young woman sent to marry Jon, a rich (relatively speaking) and powerful man who is distrusted and whose first wife is dead. And from the very beginning, I was hooked. The timeline chopped and changed a bit as the narrative switched between Rosa and Jon and that initially confused, but as I worked out what was happening it made perfect sense as their stories headed towards an inevitable collision and a subsequent separation. In saying what I liked about it, the old problem rears its head: how do I review without giving away too much? I shall have to stay vague. The characters were fantastic — Rosa, submissive to keep herself safe and her village fed; Jon, living in fear of the consequences of a past mistake; Pal, patiently in love with another man’s wife; jealous Pedar, the sullen misfit who works on the farm… they’re just a few of a strong cast of characters. The land and the culture are powerful players too, and the old religion resists the oncoming of the new, and where loving the wrong person or whispering an old song can lead you to death. The harshness of a land that seemingly swallows people up — and sometimes disgorges them again — is wonderfully compelling.I really loved this book. It drew me in, kept me absorbed, reading on and on as the inevitability of human nature came up against traditional society. There’s power, there’s greed, there’s passion and there’s death, all at play in a landscape without mercy, and too many moments of sheer, gut-wrenching drama to pick one out. Wonderful.Thanks to Netgalley and Michael Joseph publishing for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
    more
  • Cathy Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! The descriptive style throughout is beautiful and conjures up perfectly the cold and unforgiving nature of the land in which Rosa finds herself; the landscape is such a powerful presence it becomes almost like a character itself, possibly the most powerful one. The plot is full of twists and turns and the characters are well-drawn and full of depth- just when you think you're starting to figure a character out, you learn some new information which leads you down a different pa I loved this book! The descriptive style throughout is beautiful and conjures up perfectly the cold and unforgiving nature of the land in which Rosa finds herself; the landscape is such a powerful presence it becomes almost like a character itself, possibly the most powerful one. The plot is full of twists and turns and the characters are well-drawn and full of depth- just when you think you're starting to figure a character out, you learn some new information which leads you down a different path. Lea writes in the different voices of the characters, introducing one much later on, which really adds to the depth of the story and your understanding of the characters - as well as surprising you slightly! It is a beautiful novel full of mystery and symbolism - with hints of 'Jane Eyre' and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper', the motif of entrapment runs throughout the text. Lea creates a world where silence and secrecy reigns supreme, one in which brutality is the norm and to be expected at any time. I do not exaggerate when I say that I could not put this book down.
    more
  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully atmospheric and absorbing, set in the harsh landscape of Iceland this dark and brooding novel is so wonderfully written. Full of tales of folklore, curses and witchcraft the book is a slow build up of menace and suspicion making a excellent read. Told from two different points of view it’s a book that pulls you in so you can feel the savage iciness and solitude of these lives and their sad but compelling stories.This is a book to savour and not to rush it’s just a stunning haunting r Beautifully atmospheric and absorbing, set in the harsh landscape of Iceland this dark and brooding novel is so wonderfully written. Full of tales of folklore, curses and witchcraft the book is a slow build up of menace and suspicion making a excellent read. Told from two different points of view it’s a book that pulls you in so you can feel the savage iciness and solitude of these lives and their sad but compelling stories.This is a book to savour and not to rush it’s just a stunning haunting read and I loved it.My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
    more
  • Gytha Lodge
    January 1, 1970
    A superb, atmospheric thriller that is beautifully written and totally compelling. I would describe it as like an Icelandic Rebecca but with much more complexity to it. The story of Rosa, an educated, independent woman finding herself alone and constantly oppressed as a new wife in an isolated village immediately draws you in, and I was desperate to uncover the mystery surrounding Jon's previous wife, Anna throughout. The characters are absolutely believable and well-drawn, and the landscape of A superb, atmospheric thriller that is beautifully written and totally compelling. I would describe it as like an Icelandic Rebecca but with much more complexity to it. The story of Rosa, an educated, independent woman finding herself alone and constantly oppressed as a new wife in an isolated village immediately draws you in, and I was desperate to uncover the mystery surrounding Jon's previous wife, Anna throughout. The characters are absolutely believable and well-drawn, and the landscape of Iceland makes for a powerful additional character. Rosa is a fantastic character and the book was impossible to put down from the moment she appeared on the page. Her inner struggle between duty and independence was gripping and perfectly described. Add in a hefty and fascinating dose of witchcraft and a society at a turning-point, and you've got a pretty perfect thriller.
    more
  • ebookowl
    January 1, 1970
    Fiction doesn't often get me lump-in-the-throat emotional but Caroline Lea's beautifully written The Glass Woman sucker-punched me right in the feels.Finding herself unexpectedly betrothed to wealthy widower Jon Eriksson, Rosa is sent to the remote village of Stykissholmur, where villagers are wary of outsiders, to join her husband.But Rosa has suspicions of her own. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. What's more, he will not speak of it. Instead, he gives her a small Fiction doesn't often get me lump-in-the-throat emotional but Caroline Lea's beautifully written The Glass Woman sucker-punched me right in the feels.Finding herself unexpectedly betrothed to wealthy widower Jon Eriksson, Rosa is sent to the remote village of Stykissholmur, where villagers are wary of outsiders, to join her husband.But Rosa has suspicions of her own. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. What's more, he will not speak of it. Instead, he gives her a small glass figurine. Rosa does not know what it signifies.The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There's an evil here - Rosa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers, or the land itself?Alone and far from home, Rosa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim...Alternately narrated by Rosa and Jon, this story is set in an isolated, windswept land haunted by witch trials and steeped in ancient sagas. The author's done a wonderful job of capturing both the beauty and wilderness of the brutal landscape, and of a period in Icelandic history when traditional beliefs and Christianity collide.Unlike many of the mysteries I tend to read, this isn't a crime-thriller. Rather, there's a mysterious undercurrent running through the novel. What became of Jon's first wife? What's creating the noises in the loft that Jon keeps locked and Rosa's forbidden to enter? Is this a ghost story, a saga or something else? I enjoyed not knowing and getting lost in the story.Lea's writing evokes strong imagery, which brings both the setting - 17th century Iceland - and her characters to life. Powerless and cast adrift, married to a man she barely knows, and now living in a new village that thrives on gossip, jealousy and suspicion, Rosa's isolation and fear is palpable. Jon is more complex and difficult to get a handle on but, as the novel progresses, all we think we know about him is cast into doubt. Initially unable to warm to him, by the end of the book he was a character I was pleased to've misjudged. The novel's conclusion, in particular, is incredibly and unexpectedly poignant.Engrossing from the first page until the last, The Glass Woman is a wonderful, suspenseful story that I have no hesitation in recommending.Note: Many thanks to the author, Michael Joseph, Penguin UK and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this title in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThis was one of those books I picked up on a whim based on a very pretty cover and a blurb that made it sound like just my type of read and boy was I right. There was something so compelling about the writing that from the very first page I was hooked and more or less devoured the whole thing in a day. It has a wonderful mix of historical fiction and murder mystery with a little bit of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.
    more
  • Pat Welte
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this book and the storyline. I liked the characters and cared about them and what happens to them. It was interesting to read about how they lived in such a long ago time. Well done!
  • Shaz Goodwin
    January 1, 1970
    Harsh climate, superstitions and the best intentions ... create a lot of tension!Review coming soon!
  • Vanessa Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Iceland in the seventeenth century was a wonderful setting for this story. The detail of the landscape, the way of life and the scattering of Icelandic words really brought it to life. Rosa's selfless decisions and strength made for inspiring reading, and the slow uncovering of what really happened in Jon's life made this book a page-turner. I'll be looking out for the author's future books.
    more
  • Joanne Liddement
    January 1, 1970
    When her father dies, Rosa, a young icelandic woman marries a wealthy widower, Jon who moves her to her new home, a community far way from her birth town, and a new life of isolation.Rosa soon finds all is not as it seems, with a suspicious community and strange sounds coming from her new home's loft space. And so begins Rosa's quest to find out the truth as to what became of Jon's previous wife.I enjoyed this atmospheric period mystery, set in 17th century Iceland and the characters were writte When her father dies, Rosa, a young icelandic woman marries a wealthy widower, Jon who moves her to her new home, a community far way from her birth town, and a new life of isolation.Rosa soon finds all is not as it seems, with a suspicious community and strange sounds coming from her new home's loft space. And so begins Rosa's quest to find out the truth as to what became of Jon's previous wife.I enjoyed this atmospheric period mystery, set in 17th century Iceland and the characters were written in a believable way, with superstition and distrust of strangers a main theme.I would definitely read more from this author, as it was well researched, with a satisfying ending.I just reviewed The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea. #TheGlassWoman #NetGalley [NetGalley URL]
    more
  • Gail
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely devoured this book from the minute I dived in until I raised my head from the final page. It was the perfect book to settle down and read with, with a blazing fire and a burning candle on a very cold and wet winter’s day. Briefly, the wonderful Rosa lives a very poor but happy life with her mother in a little village, Skalholt, Iceland, in 1686. She has a very close relationship with Pall, who is a distant relation. She receives a proposal of marriage from a visitor to the village, I absolutely devoured this book from the minute I dived in until I raised my head from the final page. It was the perfect book to settle down and read with, with a blazing fire and a burning candle on a very cold and wet winter’s day. Briefly, the wonderful Rosa lives a very poor but happy life with her mother in a little village, Skalholt, Iceland, in 1686. She has a very close relationship with Pall, who is a distant relation. She receives a proposal of marriage from a visitor to the village, Jon, who has recently lost his wife, Anna. He is rich and she knows her ailing mother will receive food from Jon, so very reluctantly she accepts the proposal. Petur is sent to accompany her on the long journey to her new home in Stykkisholmur which is a little village steeped in superstition and strange traditions. Rosa makes it her mission to find out what happened to Anna, and has her own suspicions which could put her in danger. I detested Jon for most of the book, not least because he seems so distant from Rosa who tries so very hard to please him, but as I began to read his story I came to warm to him. I will say no more except to say after a slow start, the plot thickens and a sense of menace and danger is always in the air. I did, however, hope for a little more witchcraft. The bitterly cold, vast landscape of Iceland was so beautifully brought to life in this gem of a book which I will never forget. The characters will long remain in my memory. Wonderfully written and I loved it. With many thanks to Penguin, Michael Joseph via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an ARC.#TheGlassWoman #NetGalley
    more
  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this book on a suggestion email offering only to a few selected people. I was lucky enough to be granted access to this book.What a deep story told from both protagonists you learn of the catholic religion brought to the Icelandic people and their distrust and fear of not only outsiders but of gossip.People living desolate, cold and harsh lives on bear minimum and eking out a living out at sea and on the harsh land.Rosa a woman who loves but forced to marry another and moving away fr I picked up this book on a suggestion email offering only to a few selected people. I was lucky enough to be granted access to this book.What a deep story told from both protagonists you learn of the catholic religion brought to the Icelandic people and their distrust and fear of not only outsiders but of gossip.People living desolate, cold and harsh lives on bear minimum and eking out a living out at sea and on the harsh land.Rosa a woman who loves but forced to marry another and moving away from her own people to join her husband and his people. Trying to live with strangers and be meek and a pious woman when all she needs is warmth, love and comfort.Jon her husband is also the leader of this small village who works hard for his people but distant with Rosa.A spellbinding story draws you in till the very end, I felt for every character in this book and their struggles and pain a wonderful tale I will endeavour to have other people read too.
    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
  • Elli (Kindig Blog)
    January 1, 1970
    When Rosa, an educated priest’s daughter living in a small town with an ailing mother is proposed to by a rich Bóndi she says yes to help her family and her community survive the harsh winter. But how exactly did his first wife die and why does his home hide so many secrets?In The Glass Woman Caroline Lea paints a beautiful picture of 1600s Iceland in both its culture and its people. I was actually surprised to read in the authors note at the end that she is not actually from Iceland and has onl When Rosa, an educated priest’s daughter living in a small town with an ailing mother is proposed to by a rich Bóndi she says yes to help her family and her community survive the harsh winter. But how exactly did his first wife die and why does his home hide so many secrets?In The Glass Woman Caroline Lea paints a beautiful picture of 1600s Iceland in both its culture and its people. I was actually surprised to read in the authors note at the end that she is not actually from Iceland and has only visited the country once! The book is meticulously researched, with Icelandic words, phrases and folklore woven seamlessly throughout the narrative. It is also filled in nicely with atmospheric descriptions and interesting characters that really give you a feel of being there. I only wish the glossary of Icelandic words was more easily accessible on the Kindle version although you could guess most of them as you went along.The setting is a good choice, as is the time it is set in – with old Gods and folklore being replaced by the Bible and the accusations of witchcraft flying around the community. The country is vast and nature is wild and unpredictable, but the villages and communities are small which creates a balance of claustrophobia and intense loneliness all in one. The plot is interesting and I liked how it jumped perspective between Jon and Rosa in places as well. As characters they felt well-rounded and interesting. I liked the progression of the plot, I loved the imagery of the Glass Woman trinket and the ending was nice – leaving a standalone story that stays with you after you finish it.I did however, feel the book dragged a little in places - it felt repetitive and this wasn’t helped by similar phrases being used over and over again. For example; many objects are pressed into Rosa’s hand so hard that they imprint on her palm, often she falls over and damages her wrist, feels a surge of tenderness to someone or imagines her fate is tied to an object. I also felt the timeline dates at the top of chapters were a little confusing – particularly the early Jon chapters which although were dated a month after the main timeline were actually flashbacks into Jon’s past.Overall The Glass Woman is a beautifully written story which paints a well-researched and entrancing portrait of ancient Iceland - it just felt a little repetitive in places. Thank you to NetGalley & Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.For more of my reviews go to www.kindig.co.uk
    more
  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderfully atmospheric book with a great story and interesting characters. We follow Rosa as she leaves her home and mother to travel to be with her new husband Jon after the death of his first wife. There are rumours that this death was not as natural as it was deemed and Rosa is especially wary when Jon discourages her from associating with the other villagers. He and his assistant Petur watch her every move, ensuring that she sticks only to the tasks allocated to her, refusing her This is a wonderfully atmospheric book with a great story and interesting characters. We follow Rosa as she leaves her home and mother to travel to be with her new husband Jon after the death of his first wife. There are rumours that this death was not as natural as it was deemed and Rosa is especially wary when Jon discourages her from associating with the other villagers. He and his assistant Petur watch her every move, ensuring that she sticks only to the tasks allocated to her, refusing her entry into the upstairs room even when she starts to hear strange noises coming from it. Things get spookier as the bad weather sets in and Rosa gets even more scared of her situation. Finding help from a friend, she tries to make sense of her place in Jon's world as she also battles the spirits that haunt her.The story contained within this book has been told before but there are changes and it's the setting that really makes it stand out. For me it was refreshing to read a book set so far in the past as to strip life down to its basics rather than the technological age in which we live today. Its remoteness, its poverty and wary villagers all added to the claustrophobic and cloying nature of the story which is told in multiple timelines and by different voices. This method of storytelling kept things fresh for me and, as it was indicated who and when, it never got mixed up.The tension builds up nicely throughout the book and the story also gave up a few shocks along the way as it twisted towards its conclusion with relationships between the characters also changing accordingly as it progressed. There's quite a lot of description in the book but all of it is relevant (as opposed to padding) as it adds a whole layer onto the story. As I often say in this situation, the setting is almost a character in its own right, so integral it is to the plot. Add in the magic, myth and mysticism that goes with it and you get a heartbreaking story well told. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
    more
  • Michael Cayley
    January 1, 1970
    I love Iceland and came to this book with high hopes. Unfortunately they were insufficiently met.Set in Iceland in the late 17th century, this novel open with a body of a woman brought to the surface amid the floating ice near a remote village. Most of the rest of the story takes place in the months before this. Rosa, from another remote community, marries Jón, a relatively well-off crofter and headman of the village, to save her mother from starvation and illness. She finds herself caught in a I love Iceland and came to this book with high hopes. Unfortunately they were insufficiently met.Set in Iceland in the late 17th century, this novel open with a body of a woman brought to the surface amid the floating ice near a remote village. Most of the rest of the story takes place in the months before this. Rosa, from another remote community, marries Jón, a relatively well-off crofter and headman of the village, to save her mother from starvation and illness. She finds herself caught in a loveless marriage, in a home with locked rooms and outbuildings and secrets, facing the hardness of both her husband and his right-hand man Pétur. The villagers are hostile and little is said about the fate of Jón’s previous wife Anna. Slowly the novel builds towards violence.I found parts of the story a bit too predictable. The Icelandic setting was not sufficiently used - the book could have been set in almost any remote community in Northern Europe. In the background is the witch-hunting craze which afflicted much of Europe at the time: the book associates this with a suspicion of women who could read or write, and, while we cannot be absolutely certain, this seems unlikely in a country which has for centuries valued literacy. Most of the victims of the witch hunts in Iceland were men, but you would not realise this from the novel. There are also some mistakes. In particular, the book presumes that there was a permanent community at Thingvellir, the site of the Icelandic parliament, but in fact there was at most one farm: when they held the parliament, people set up temporary dwellings.The first half of the book could also have been substantially shortened. The portrayal of Rosa’s isolation and of the way her husband seeks to keep her from entering the locked areas of their homestead is too lengthy and repetitive.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me have an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those books that stays with you long after you've finished reading it. The characters, general plot and writing style are amazing! You get dragged into 17th century Iceland head first and it definitely doesn't let you go easily. Lea's descriptive writing is top notch and something that I fell completely in love with.Rosa is a character that you bond with easily enough and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her character growth through the book, from meek and feeble to being strong enough This is one of those books that stays with you long after you've finished reading it. The characters, general plot and writing style are amazing! You get dragged into 17th century Iceland head first and it definitely doesn't let you go easily. Lea's descriptive writing is top notch and something that I fell completely in love with.Rosa is a character that you bond with easily enough and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her character growth through the book, from meek and feeble to being strong enough to admit to a crime she didn't commit to protect a husband she didn't love. You can easily feel through the writing what it would have been like to live in the era as a woman, not having the rights we have now and being solely reliant on a husband to provide for you, choosing your friends and what kind of life you should leadThe true evil in this book is ultimately the church and religion, making people feel that their beliefs and feelings went against god. As soon as someone admitted to another belief system it was deemed witchcraft and the penalty was burning at the stake. You cant come away from reading this book without experiencing some kind of emotion, knowing that this in fact did happen and many people were killed just for expressing beliefs others didn't agree with. I went through a rigmarole of emotions reading this book from pity at Rosa's decision to marry a man she didn't love for her mother, the fear of not knowing what or who was in the locked attic and the sadness at the inevitable but still slightly heartbreaking ending. Overall, I enjoyed this book, thought I think there were parts where it dragged slightly and I felt like some of the plot twists were lacklustre. Lea makes up for it with her amazing writing skills and fantastic and believable characters.
    more
  • Jacky Montgomery
    January 1, 1970
    I read the synopsis and thought it looked like it had promise – so much so that I didn’t notice it was set in the 17th century, so when I realised upon reading I have to say I was disappointed. However, I carried on and was quite quickly swept away with the story and easy reading style and found it didn’t really matter that it was historical, although I dare say that was down to the writing style and the fact that the speaking parts weren’t written in a 17th century manner (it always took me hal I read the synopsis and thought it looked like it had promise – so much so that I didn’t notice it was set in the 17th century, so when I realised upon reading I have to say I was disappointed. However, I carried on and was quite quickly swept away with the story and easy reading style and found it didn’t really matter that it was historical, although I dare say that was down to the writing style and the fact that the speaking parts weren’t written in a 17th century manner (it always took me half a play to get my head around the prose in Shakespeare’s performances )The story opens with Rosa and Pall enjoying the summer and each others company. She realises she is in love with him but he doesn’t appear to reciprocate those feelings, so when the winter looms and Rosa sees a way to save her Mother for another year by marrying Jon Eiriksson and moving to a village far away she sees this as her only real option.On arrival in Stykkisholmur the murmers, rumours and ostracisation by most of the villagers only seem to confirm that she has made a mistake – the main rumour being that Jon killed his first wife.I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it has opened my eyes to maybe accepting other books that I may otherwise have passed over due to being set in the past.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an homest review.
    more
  • Angelique
    January 1, 1970
    I normally would have abandoned this being in 17th century Iceland, but the reviews seemed good so I gave it a shot.I found the ye olde fake-y English obnoxious. Because it sounded like badly translated fiction. The story was okay, but it could have used another draft to par down and punch up. It also took about 40% of the book to warm up and for it to get going.I liked all the characters, Rosa and her mom. I found Jon awful to begin with, when it turns out he is just gay and I honestly, could h I normally would have abandoned this being in 17th century Iceland, but the reviews seemed good so I gave it a shot.I found the ye olde fake-y English obnoxious. Because it sounded like badly translated fiction. The story was okay, but it could have used another draft to par down and punch up. It also took about 40% of the book to warm up and for it to get going.I liked all the characters, Rosa and her mom. I found Jon awful to begin with, when it turns out he is just gay and I honestly, could have used more of that then him being a prickly Christian.I also didn't like how the symbolism was really spelt out for me. Yes, she has a glass woman, it says enough. Yes, she is trapped just like the trapped animal, I can see it myself.But saying all this, I was fairly entertained and it was a decent read. Lea is a good author, but like others, I was annoyed by the Icelandic language. I understood that Lea visited and researched in Iceland, but it got in the way of the story and it was like she was trying to prove that to me the reader.Also, I had forgotten who Gudrun was by the end.I would read more by Lea and look forward to see what she writes next. And I'm rounding up to 4 stars, because I wasn't bored during the entire book.
    more
  • Melanie Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't sure what to make of this book at first. It was very much a slow burner, with a lot of scene setting and intrigue but not much happening at first. It certainly wasn't one that would bring to mind that old cliche about not being able to put it down.Then, part way through, it shifted to a dual narrative. Suddenly we had a different, first person, perspective to go along with the original, third person, viewpoint. Not only that, but this new perspective was months ahead in the narrative.Su I wasn't sure what to make of this book at first. It was very much a slow burner, with a lot of scene setting and intrigue but not much happening at first. It certainly wasn't one that would bring to mind that old cliche about not being able to put it down.Then, part way through, it shifted to a dual narrative. Suddenly we had a different, first person, perspective to go along with the original, third person, viewpoint. Not only that, but this new perspective was months ahead in the narrative.Suddenly, the book gripped me and didn't let go. Now I really didn't want to put it down, because I wanted to know how this character had got from the point we were seeing him at from his wife's point of view to the point he was clearly at in the future, first person perspective.Loose ends were tied, mysteries were explained, hearts were broken and mended and it ended beautifully. It was definitely worth sticking with it.
    more
Write a review