The Glass Woman

A riveting read, the story feels like a fairy tale, but reads like a gothic novel. The perfect blend of tale and caution, The Glass Woman is likely to be a new gothic classic.

READ IF YOU…

  • Want a foreboding atmosphere
  • Want a wintry Icelandic setting
  • Like retellings

TitleThe Glass Woman | Author: Caroline Lea   Rating: 4/5

Loved it.

Set in Iceland, during autumn and winter, and later, spring, the story unfolds into magic.

Set in Iceland in the late 1600s, The Glass Woman is about Rósa Magnúsdóttir, a 25-year-old woman who marries an older man, Jón Eiríksson. Jon is wealthy, but lives far away from the village Rosa grew up in. But with her father dead, and her mother sick, Rosa feels the best way to help her mother is to marry Jon, who would then send money and goods back to Rosa’s mother and their village.

As a wedding present, Jon gives Rosa a “a woman made of glass and stillness: perfect but easily shattered,” to wear around her neck. Rosa does, but she can’t help but wonder who the glass woman is fashioned after: the artist’s imagination, or Jon’s previous wife, who died and was buried in the middle of the night, witnessed by no one but her husband.

There were certainly elements of Jane Eyre, which I loved, since it wasn’t expected when I first picked up the book. Rosa marries a strange, wealthy man, and hears noises at night coming from the attic. When she’s falling asleep, she senses a presence in her room, standing beside her bed. It’s reminiscent of Bertha in Jane Eyre, locked up in the attic by a husband who doesn’t know how else to deal with her.

But as you’ll find out, Rosa’s husband is no Mr. Rochester who, though he wronged Jane, did it to find happiness. Rosa’s husband is a but more nuanced than that, which added a delicious element to the story.

I also got some Daphne du Maurier Rebecca nods, with the husband who may or may not have been involved in his wife’s death. A wife, who was beautiful and well-liked, but who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

A riveting read, the story feels like a fairy tale, but reads like a gothic novel. The perfect blend of tale and caution, The Glass Woman is likely to be a new gothic classic.

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