The Glass Woman : A Novel
Author(s): Caroline Lea
Shortlisted for the Historical Writers Association Debut Crown Award
In the tradition of Jane Eyre and Rebecca—The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea in which a young woman follows her new husband to his remote home on the Icelandic coast in the 1680s, where she faces dark secrets surrounding the death of his first wife amidst a foreboding landscape and the superstitions of the local villagers.
“Gripped me in a cold fist. Beautiful.” —Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton
“An Icelandic Jane Eyre.” —Sunday Times, London
Rósa has always dreamed of living a simple life alongside her Mamma in their remote village in Iceland, where she prays to the Christian God aloud during the day, whispering enchantments to the old gods alone at night. But after her father dies abruptly and her Mamma becomes ill, Rósa marries herself off to a visiting trader in exchange for a dowry, despite rumors of mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death.
Rósa follows her new husband, Jón, across the treacherous countryside to his remote home near the sea. There Jón works the field during the day, expecting Rósa to maintain their house in his absence with the deference of a good Christian wife. What Rósa did not anticipate was the fierce loneliness she would feel in her new home, where Jón forbids her from interacting with the locals in the nearby settlement and barely speaks to her himself.
Seclusion from the outside world isn’t the only troubling aspect of her new life—Rósa is also forbidden from going into Jón’s attic. When Rósa begins to hear strange noises from upstairs, she turns to the local woman in an attempt to find solace. But the villager’s words are even more troubling—confirming many of the rumors about Jón’s first wife, Anna, including that he buried her body alone in the middle of the night.
Rósa’s isolation begins to play tricks on her mind: What—or who—is in the attic? What happened to Anna? Was she mad, a witch, or just a victim of Jón’s ruthless nature? And when Jón is brutally maimed in an accident a series of events are set in motion that will force Rósa to choose between obedience and defiance—with her own survival and the safety of the ones she loves hanging in the balance.
“Piercing…. Devastating and revelatory.”
“Gripped me in a cold fist. Beautiful.”
“A fantastic, atmospheric debut.”
“A perfect, gripping winter read. I loved it.”
“This evocative debut is compelling with a brilliant twist.”
“Memorable and compelling. A novel about what haunts us—and what should.”
“A mesmerizing and visceral tale of faith and resilience, love and agency, and the corrosive effects of our deepest secrets.”
“Lea crafts deeply intriguing characters while bringing to life their harsh landscape. Full of emotion, mystery, and suspense, this unique love story will keep readers guessing until the very end.”
“A young woman caught in a loveless marriage faces dangers real and imagined in 17th-century Iceland…. A haunting novel delivers chills… amplifying the impact of both an alluring but hostile landscape and a closed society on a vulnerable young woman.”
“Crackles with tension. Moving and atmospheric, I couldn’t put it down.”