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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted 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.

©2019 Caroline Lea (P)2019 HarperAudio

Critic Reviews

"A perfect, gripping winter read. I loved it." (Sophie Mackintosh, Man Booker longlisted author of The Water Cure)

"Memorable and compelling. A novel about what haunts us - and what should." (Sarah Moss, author of Ghost Wall)

What listeners say about The Glass Woman

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Beautiful Masterpiece

Eloquent writing style. Began as a strange mystery and eventually the complicated relationships between the characters unfolded, revealing all kinds of secrets. It was a very unique story that was mostly unpredictable. Beautiful ending. I normally hate historical fiction and love to read mystery/suspense books. But this book was truly masterful and thought provoking. The author did an amazing of creating the atmosphere and the narration was some of the best I've ever heard.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Grim but ultimately worth it

A friend encouraged me to read this novel because she knows I love a good tale, particularly Victorian fiction. 17th century Iceland must’ve been one of the most challenging places to be alive, but also stunningly portrayed here. You will find echoes of Jane Eyre with 1000 twists. The final quarter of the novel is transcendent. Keep going, it’s worth it! The narration is excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely breathtaking

One of the best most meaningful stories of listened to in a long time. The narration is beyond incredible. You MUST listen to this and share it will all your loved ones!!!!!!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Painfully slow

This is the second book in succession that I have found to be painfully slow. The writing is good, the story has all the elements for a suspenseful read, but the pacing is glacial. Credit to the audiobook publisher for using narrators who are comfortable with the language of Iceland. It added authenticity.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

such a heavy book about longing and pain

acceptance love and duty
very heavy book so much suffering ..journey to self acceptance against
the fear of death

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Lovely, Haunting

The narration is as lovely as the interesting tale that is told. The plot proves surprising even after much has been foreshadowed. How the story will end is not predictable.

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Just not for me

I think the book was pretty good; I just think this wasn’t my story. I did finish it and was glad I did, but I wouldn’t read again. I think many will love it. I thought the narrator(s) we’re good, especially with the accent and language.

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Awful

Boring and brutal—a really bad combination. I couldn’t finish it. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

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  • AJ
  • 12-28-21

Whispered mumbling narration

Its really hard to understand the storyteller. They whisper read so much I could hear my parts without reminder and listening again.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent and aching.

A beautifully written and beautifully narrated tale of love and superstition and the old ways and Christianity and ignorance set in 1686 Iceland. Evoking many conflicting emotions in me, I am glad to be finished with the book, glad to have experienced it and know it will linger with me.