Fiction Book Reviews

Historical Fiction | The Glass Woman | Caroline Lea

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I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you today for The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea.

Book cover of The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea.

1686, Iceland.

An isolated, windswept landscape.

Rósa is newly betrothed to Jón.

The villagers look on them with suspicion – they don’t trust outsiders.

They whisper dark threats.

There is an evil here, Rósa can feel it.

Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming.

She fears she will be its next victim . . . 

This stunning new novel is a rich and captivating tale of superstition and salvation, love and fear – for fans of The Binding, The Miniaturist and The Silent Companions.

The Glass Woman is published by Penguin\Michael Joseph 7th February 2019 in digital, hardcover and audiobook formats.


I was drawn into this harsh world from the beginning – the prologue intrigued me and I wanted to go back a few months to find out how, why and who.

With days of travelling between each village, rumours circulate with the arrival of merchants.  Before Rosa even sets off for Stykkisholmur with Jon’s apprentice Petur, she’s aware of the secrecy surrounding him.    

Nothing feels stable or safe in this Icelandic community of 1686.  Undercurrents and secrets had me alert to the slightest change and yet, the shape of the majority of the story is solid and heavy. 

Rosa’s fear is palpable and it’s her reactions that lead us through most of the story.  I found it really easy to identify with her.

When I began to feel the story had settled and I knew what was happening, Jon starts narrating in the 1st person ahead of where we are with Rosa and disrupts everything.  I had lots of questions and spending that time getting to know Jon put a completely different spin on everything for me.

Not only is this set in a harsh climate but the small community, with their superstitions, judgements and abuse all contribute to make a person either strong and resilient or weak and dependent.  In the Glass Woman we see our characters moving between both strength and weakness. 

There’s a particular quote from the story that sums it all up rather well:

The truth is water, or steam; the truth is ice.

If you like your stories suspenseful and tense with mystery and superstition, The Glass Woman should be on your reading list.

Recommended read from me.

Caroline Lea grew up in Jersey. She gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Warwick and worked as a teacher before writing her first novel, WHEN THE SKY FELL APART. She currently lives in Warwick with her husband and two young children.

Connect with Caroline Lea

Twitter @CarolineleaLea

Read all posts in the historical fiction genre on Jera’s Jamboree.

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

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