Tuesday 3 December 2019

Review by Kathy Hoyle of “The Glass Woman” by Caroline Lea

The Glass Woman is a stunning debut from Caroline Lea, taut and atmospheric from the very first page. 

Set against the unforgiving claustrophobic landscape of an Icelandic winter, the reader cannot help but be pulled into this dark and isolated world of secrets and superstition. 
The year is 1686. In the remote Icelandic village of Stykkishólmur, the ice cracks, and a body is pulled from the water. The villagers have their suspicions, there is talk of murder, witchcraft and punishment … and newcomer Rosa is determined to find the truth. 

Rosa’s heart belongs to Páll, but when Jón Eriksson passes through their village and asks for her hand, she cannot refuse. A girl must be dutiful and pious and Jón is not the sort of man to take no for an answer. Desperate to help her ailing mother and knowing that Jón will provide for them both through the harsh Icelandic winter, Rosa agrees.

Rosa is afraid. The women of Stykkishólmur refuse to talk, save for whispers of Jón’s first wife, Anna and her mysterious death. Rosa must stay in the house, forbidden by Jon to be anything other than his dutiful wife, trapped and afraid. Then there is Petur, Jon’s strange but trusted friend, who seems intent on catching her out. Rosa must find answers. 
What are the noises she hears in the attic above? Why do the villagers fear Jon so? And what happened to Anna, his first wife?

In this tense and powerful story, Lea weaves a brilliant tale of mystery, witchcraft secrets and lies. This debut novel is rich, dark and poetic, with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing all the way to the end.  

About the Reviewer  
Kathy Hoyle is an MA graduate of Creative Writing from the University of Leicester. Her Flash fiction and short stories have appeared in various Online Zines. She has been shortlisted for The Exeter Short Story Award, The Fish Publishing Short Memoir prize and the Ellipsiszine Flash Fiction Collection Competition. She will write for chocolate. 

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