Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms, uExcellent novel about the life of Grace Farringdon a young woman in the early 1900 s who wants to leave her stifled life Eventually she gets to Candlin College where she meets Leonora Locke Cicely Parr and Winifred Hooper and starts the Antartic Exploration Society Looking back on how she is the only surviving member Grace tells her story and evokes the restrictions on women with great atmosphere Loved it Grace Farringdon has always been obsessed with polar exploration and diligently follows the exploits of Scott and Shackleton When she enrolls at Candlin College she setsp a Ladies Polar Exploration society joined by
Her Friend Leonora Locke An friend Leonora Locke an playwright and suffragist Winifred Hooper a budding botanist and Cicely Parr an irascible mountaineer whose parents died in a climbing accident but who continues to climb with her intrepid aunt and ncleDisaster strikes during an expedition to the Alps and World War I also intervenes to divide the friends A return journey to the Matterhorn brings yet another catastrophe but this time it may have been manmade As the last remaining member of the society
and an isolated spinster Grace is the one recalling the incidents of an isolated spinster Grace is the one recalling the incidents of years roughly 1904 1923 But is her account reliable She has always had a vivid imagination and after graduation a few people thought she was showing signs of incipient madness now she suffers from hallucinations brought on by medication seeing dead friends and family members So how accurate are her reminiscences about what happened on those two ill fated alpine expeditionsThis is
a terrific suspense novel with well realized settings Candlin is a fictionalized version of the college where my husband sed terrific suspense novel with well realized settings Candlin is a fictionalized version of the college where my husband The Walters Art Museum the Art of Ancient Greece used work Royal Holloway part of the University of London once known as Bedford College for women Candlin s red brick turreted main building the statue ofeen Victoria out on the north American Nietzsche uad pond and picture gallery with the famous painting of bloodied polar bears are all based on RHUL s wonderful Victorian Founder s Building I enjoyed this one albeit with a shudder of relief that I live here and now From the start of the book the reader is made aware that the reclusive narrator is notorious for some reason and the narrative flickers back and forth between her present and her childhood and adventurous early adulthood My favourite part of the book was the account of Grace s escape to an early women s college and her friendships with three other students with an interest in the Antarctic Their small rebellions and struggles against the restrictions of Edwardian society develop into an increasingly claustrophobic story of dreams denied as both Grace and her compliant older sister bucklender the weight of social and family expectations The mountain seuences are excellent and Grace s voice is well done and Art, Culture, and Cuisine unsettling to exactly the right degree It s a cold read one that I appreciated and found interesting than one that ignited my passion but I recommend it I was intrigued by the idea of a novel about Edwardian lady mountaineers and I was even intrigued when I placed the name of the author Because I recalled that Susanna Jones specialises in dark storytellingnreliable narrators and psychological drama I hoped that When Nights Were Cold would be something rather special and it very nearly was When Grace Farringdon was growing Berlioz and His Century up she and her father followed the polar explorations of Ernest Shackleton and his contemporaries studying every detail they could find It was only supposed to be a diversion for a little girl Grace and her sister were expected to growp into obedient women who would look after their parents and find good respectable husbands They both wanted and their parents tried to clip their wings They succeeded with Catherine but not with Grace She escaped after Aristotles Rhetoric using covert means to secure a place at an all women college It was wonderful to watch and my heart rose for Grace and fell for Catherine There s a fine line between realism and pastiche and another between drama and melodrama Susanna Jones walks both rather well It was wonderful to arrive atniversity with Grace What a wonderful world it was a world full of women seeking knowledge that no man may enter a world where women were freed from social conventions and addressed only by their surnames a world of cocoa evenings social clubs new friendships and so many wonderful possibilities Grace was inspired and full of confidence she formed forms the Antarctic Exploration Society to follow and maybe even to emulate their adventures Three other women joined Grace s new venture Leonora Locke the confident and sociable daughter of liberal parents who wants to experience everything college can offer before she steps out into the world Winifred Hooper who is apprehensive about possible adventures but curious and Blood Runs Green unwilling to be left out of any adventures that might present themselves before she settles into the traditional roles of wife and mother and Cecily Parr who is clever forthright knowledgable and eager to take the lead A diverseartet indeed and that confirmed the idea I had that all of this was a little bit contrived But the relationships between the four had a very in. As een Victoria's reign reaches its end Grace Farringdon dreams of polar explorations and of escape from her.
Susanna Jones ì 2 SummaryTeresting dynamic and the story had so many possibilities There would be adventures
There Would Be Tragedieswould be tragedies there would be repercussions It was compulsive reading In the end Grace would be the only survivor living alone in the family home that she had hated The stories of her friends of her family of just how she got there are complex and ite extraordinary And as those stories Colored Property unfolded I began toestion Grace s sanity and to estion just how reliable her account of her life really was She was a wonderfully storyteller catching the dark atmosphere of her home the intensity of her
adventures the tangled relationships that surrounded her very very well The story became and intense dark andthe tangled relationships that surrounded her so very very well The story became and intense dark and before winding p with a wonderful twist I loved it but still I have to The Exiles Gallery uibble a little Early in the story I loved the way Susanna Jones pitched her story between realism and pastiche and between drama and melodrama But later I began to wish that she would take her story one way or the other and embrace that direction wholeheartedly And I wish some of her ideas had been developed a little and some of the story opened out a little She had four womenndergraduates with opposing views on women s suffrage and I wanted to hear them argue but I didn t I wanted to spend time with the Antarctic Exploration Society to follow every detail of their activities It isn t that this wasn t a really good book it was it s just that I have a feeling that it could have been just a little deeper and richer From Shade Point Hours have passed and I am shivering I could sit down here Dislocating China until I freeze let frost be my skin and let icicles hang from my chin let glaciers creep through London and crush my ho I have never read anything by this author before and was not encouraged by the cover saying a gripping psychological thriller However I didn t feel this book was a psychological thriller and it certainly wasn t gripping for meOn the positive side the book covered some potentially very interesting topics and had any of these areas as described by previous reviewers been developed I probably would have enjoyed the book However they were not and the tantalising glimpses before the author changed tack yet again were just frustratingWhat was real and what was in the protagonist s imagination Did I really care No I guess this switching between the two was what was meant to make it a psychological thriller but it just frustrated me and made me put the book down and go off to do something productive If it hadn t been the first book for a new reading group I certainly wouldn t have bothered to finish itIt will be interesting to hear what other members of the group have to say especially as the author is going to attend the meeting As the Second World War approaches Grace Farringdon a lonely and reclusive woman is sheltering from the world in what was once her family home in Dulwich now inhabited by Grace and a pair of eccentric lodgers Estranged from her sister and seemingly without friends she is haunted by memories of the past and we soon discover she is a figure of such notoriety that a journalist may be trying to break into her house She also reveals that she is the only survivor of the Society following what seems to have been an expedition that went horribly wrong Over the course of the night she looks back on her memories of the events that ledp to this incident which form the bulk of the book s thoroughly engrossing narrativeGrace s memories take Childerley us back to the days of her youth when she longed for escape Obsessed with explorers such as Scott and Shackleton the celebrities of their day she dreams of adventure but is constantly stifled by her overbearing father and subservient mother who believe that women should be confined to the home Adding to her anguish is the fate of her sister Catherine a talented musician who is denied entry to college by her parents and later seems to have spiralled into a form of madness Determined that the same will not happen to her Grace secures the funds needed to attend a women s college where she setsp an Antarctic Exploration Society At first Grace and the other members Leonora Locke Cicely Parr and Winifred Hooper simply plan to study the progress of famous explorers but they Cultural Excursions uickly develop ambitious plansEvery nuance of emotion in this story is so wonderfully and sometimes painfully evoked I felt that I was living Grace s experiences her intense frustration at being trapped by her family her intellectual and social awakeningpon her entry to college her desperate hope and subseuent heartbreak when a love affair turns sour the anguish of friendships lost The characters are also beautifully portrayed The four girls make an Cruelty and Laughter unlikely set of friends Grace isncertain of her own identity Locke is vibrant and overdramatic Parr bossy and aloof and Hooper far reserved than the others Additionally Parr Cop Knowledge unlike the other members of the Society is staunchly opposed to women s suffrage despite being by far the most independent and strong willed of the group This makes for a fascinating clash of personalities and beliefs which while not always explicitly stated is constantly present as annde. Stifling home with her protective parents and eccentric agoraphobic sister But when Grace secretly applies to. ,
Rcurrent in everything the group doesI recently read the author s debut The Earthuake Bird which boasted a brilliantly twisted Cultural Aesthetics unreliable narrator and I was hoping for of the same from When Nights Were Cold I wasn t disappointed Grace is indeed a near perfect example of thenreliable narrator attempting to gain the reader s trust in her version of events but Class and Conformity unwittingly allowing disconcerting glimpses of the truth The plot twists and turns innexpected directions the nature of the Society s demise is not at all what you may assume at the beginning and the story is consistently gripping with diversions and surprises I didn t see comingI ve read another
review of this book which argued the case that it could have beenof this book which argued the case that it could have been and richer and I do actually agree with that I would love to have seen of the interaction between the four friends and a detailed exploration of their lives both at college and afterwards I would have been happy to have read twice or three times as much about Grace and her fellow explorers However the story certainly didn t feel like it was lacking in any essential detail indeed the author s deft handling of such complex issues and characters within a relatively short book was one of the best things about it When Nights Were Cold is a sophisticated and accomplished version of the type of tale told in Charlotte Rogan s The Lifeboat it combines a historical setting with the intrigue of a psychological thriller and features a lone survivor protagonist whose account cannot necessarily be trusted I would also compare it to Jane Harris s Gillespie and I another favourite of mine and there are certain similarities with Sarah Waters work not least the tremendous sense of atmosphere and the author s skill at making you sympathise with a potentially deceitful character I loved this book to the point that I would recommend it to almost everyone fans of historical fiction Descartes and His Contemporaries unreliable narrators andor slow burning mysteries will find much to enjoy here Hell did this book make me angry I felt cheated by this one Probably because I expected something totally different This is basically just yet another novel about a Victorian heroine being straight laced by strict parents and as a resultnable to fulfill her dreams wasting her life dreaming and slowly going mad A Guardian High Tide at Midnight uote promised a gripping psychological thriller which totally led mento the wrong track The plot sounded promising with its Shackletonarctic exploration angle Little did I know that all the aspirations of the Arctic Society the narrator Grace Farringdon founded would stay imaginary and only amount to some hare brained students playing explorers with their fingers on the map The alpine part stays a sketch too revealed only in glimses and in hindsight Ok two of the friends manage to climb the Matterhorn later on led by a native guide and wit disastrous results but maybe that too was only a fever dream of the Education and Equality unhinged narrator who is getting andnreliabel as the story Deceptive Beauties unfolds I also was not too impressed by the writing which stayed oddly flat staying on the surface of things but maybe that was intentional as Farringdon is not one given to try and decipher the feelings of others Review also seen on Farringdon has always been mesmerized and fascinated with the great explorers and often daydreams that she could one day accompany Shackleton on a voyage to Antarctica Grace decides that she will attendniversity against the wishes of her family and the expectations of society There she meets like minded women and forms an Antarctica Exploration Society Soon play acting is not enough and they begin to embark on a life changing journey The tragic events of their first real climb haunt Grace and its members Locke and Parr for the rest of their lives Grace is a Dangerous Work unreliable narrator Her loved ones are of the opinion that she is not sound of mind but who are we to trust because through her eyes they are the ones that are not sane There are vague references to medication and hallucinations that once afflicted her father but there is great mystery surrounding her state of mindMountaineering did not have as large a part as I thought that it would and that disappointed me slightly but this novel was in no way boring orneventfulThis was a dark atmospheric novel that sought to mislead and deceive the reader Grace and women in general seem to suffocate Flavor and Soul under the restrictions and expectations of their sex The entire novel had a very claustrophobic feel to it both socially mentally and physicallyA great novel very much in the vein of Sarah Waters A highality novel in terms of style of writing and vivid description The storyline however falters at some points and does not have the pace and cogency which I would have likedAs a psychological thriller this is story given by an nreliable narrator As it goes on and of the story is made p of scenes which may be imaginary or misunderstood Indeed it is possible that all of these expeditions and disasters are merely hallucinations an indication of that is the mental instability of the narrator s father Has she inherited his state of mindThe ending to me is nclear Does she perish in the fire she sets in th. Candlin a women's college filled with intelligent women she finally feels her ambitions beginning to take shap. .