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.
I love historical books with a strong sense of research and history underpinning the narrative and because of this, I was thrilled to be invited to take part in The Glass Woman blog tour.
I love the fact that this novel is set against the backdrop of the seventeenth-century Icelandic witch trials which is something that I didn’t really know that much about and I found myself totally immersed in its austere and beautiful portrait of such a fascinating episode in history. I feel honoured to close the tour for this book and I hope that you will check out the other fab bloggers on the tour that you might have missed in order to see what they all thought of this stunning read.
I found myself becoming absolutely obsessed with Iceland after reading this book and it’s definitely climbed to one of the top spots in my Travel Bucket list. Reading about Rosa’s story made me desperate to see these locations for myself an I was absolutely delighted to discover that the fabulous #TheBookTrail had worked hard to produce a wonderful guide to all of the locations in this unforgettable read. Make sure that you click the link below and find yourself transported there so that you can imagine Rosa’s landscape in all its majestic beauty.
The Book Trail – The Glass Woman’s Iceland
Rosa herself was a fantastic character to travel backwards in time with through this immersive and beautiful novel. She is an unforgettable character and even though we are divided by centuries and many miles, I really connected with her and the difficult situations that she found herself in. The Glass Woman is a beautifully gothic tale featuring a landscape that’s as wild and unpredictable as some of the characters in it. This is a country where the people’s lives are dominated by suspicion and fear and Rosa’s perilous situation is vividly evoked by Caroline Lea as you travel with her to the remote and insular village of Stykkisholmur.
The section of the book where we travel with Rosa to meet her betrothed Jon Eriksson and see her come to terms with the life she has undertaken is absolutely superbly written and really brought this restrictive and blinkered worldview to life. Seeing their hypocrisies and double standards from an outsider’s perspective really throws these ideas into relief and Rosa’s experiences definitely makes you feel like you can feel her loneliness and trepidation as she enters into this bargain for the sake of her mother, even though the circumstances around Jon’s first wife’s death are vague and filled with rumour. The situation is barely imaginable and it is brought very vividly to life due to the skill of the storytelling here.
I don’t like spoilers so I don’t want to spill too much about the secrets at the heart of this story. After arriving in this godforsaken place, Rosa’s unusual ability to read and write set her apart from other women around her and are no guarantee of her own safety as the dark Icelandic nights draw in. You may well see things in the novel that Rosa cannot yet understand, which I feel strengthens our relationship with her as readers – I loved the fact that we are able to feel a permeable evil here through the narrative which gives you a real insight into things that went on, in this part of history and I was totally captivated by this atmospheric wintry read.
I could not put it down once I’d started and I have recommended it to so many people since finishing it because it’s so unusual and hypnotic. I almost felt bewitched by it as I felt myself being pulled back into the darkness and terrors of 17th century Iceland
I think the fact that Caroline Lea is also a poet really made this novel come to life for me – the imaginative and beautiful use of language never threatens to overwhelm the narrative but it’s wonderful to read. I knew very little about this fascinating and compelling country before I started reading this book – but as I’m sure you can tell, I’ve been totally bewitched by it. I’ve already ordered some Icelandic Sagas in translation and I can’t wait to read them for myself.
Caroline Lea is a wonderful new voice – Rosa’s character is deftly conjured and the characters spring to life right off the page. I felt myself right there at several points in this novel – and had my heart in my mouth at times, wondering what on earth was going to happen next. I loved this book and I think that you will definitely love The Glass Woman just as much as I did. Treat yourself to a copy here
Thanks to Jenny Platt for inviting me on the tour; I thoroughly involved my visit to Rosa’s world and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys something a little bit different and loves immersing themselves in another time and place – if you love something a little bit different, you’ll be intrigued by this melancholy and brooding world and will be just as sad as I was when you’ve turned the final page and have to re-engage with reality.
Doesn’t it look absolutely stunning in my #OnTheShelfie
Writer On The Shelf
Caroline Lea was born and raised in Jersey. She gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University and has had poetry published in The Phoenix Anthology and An Aston Anthology, which she also co-edited.