Publication: 7th February 2019 – Michael Joseph
Jón Eiríksson buried one wife this year. But how long can his secrets remain hidden?
1686, Iceland. A wild, isolated landscape that can swallow a man without so much as a volcanic gasp, where superstitious Icelanders are haunted by all-too-recent memories of witch trials.
Rósa is leaving her home in Skalholt. Betrothed unexpectedly to the mysterious and wealthy Jón Eiríksson, Rosa travels with her new husband to his isolated, windswept village of Stykkisholmur. Here, the villagers are suspicious of outsiders, and seem fearful of Rosa.
Whispers follow Jón around the unexplained death of his first wife, who he buried in secret in the dead of the night. And Rósa has her own suspicions. Refusing to answer any questions about his first wife, Jón instead gives Rosa a small glass figurine, a glass woman.
Rósa feels a presence in the house, and she can’t shake a dread that darkness is coming. She fears she will be its next victim.
How long before the glass woman shatters?
I really enjoyed reading THE GLASS WOMAN. It’s an historical novel with lot of suspense and also a bit of romance. Set in Iceland where the cold and the long long hours of darkness give a chilling and haunting atmosphere to the story, THE GLASS WOMAN is the story of Rósa, a young woman who, to save her mother from facing a hard winter, accepts to marry Jón, a wealthy merchant, and accepts to move with him to his remote village of Stykkishólmur, leaving behind not only her mother and her home, but also her best friend and first love Páll. After Rósa arrives at her new home, Jón forbids her from talking to the other villagers and she has to spend her days being a “biddable” and “obedient wife”, meaning that she has to worry only about cleaning and cooking for him. Rósa is not easily subjugated and she tries to befriend some of the women of the village, especially because she wants to find out what really happened to Anna, Jón’s first wife.
Rósa is a fantastic character. She is strong and determined and she is one of the few women who could read and write, which was unusual at the time and it was considered a sign of witchcraft. Even though she aims to please her husband, she doesn’t hesitate to disobey his orders. Her fears and suspicions keep the tension always high and her loneliness fit perfectly with the isolation of the village.
The author did well her researches. Her detailed descriptions of the Icelandic landscape, of the harsh weather conditions, and of the traditions and the myths kept me completely captivated. The story is very suspenseful and atmospheric. Page after page, there is this creepy feeling that keeps you on the edge of your seat, expecting for something bad to happen. I was really pleased with the ending of the novel which I found satisfactory, moving, and sad all at the same time.
I’d like to thank Jenny Platt and Michael Joseph for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this atmospheric, chilling, and engrossing novel.
CAROLINE LEA grew up in Jersey and gained a First in English Literature & Creative Writing from Warwick University. From there, Caroline became a teacher of English and drama and was Head of English at a Birmingham boys’ grammar school. She now works and writes from home in Warwick, and is a mother to two young boys. This is her first novel published in the UK.