Thursday 13 February 2020

The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd @GuinGlasfurd BLOG TOUR Guest Review by @jaustenrulesok #BookReivew

1815, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia
Mount Tambora explodes in a cataclysmic eruption, killing thousands. Sent to investigate, ship surgeon Henry Hogg can barely believe his eyes. Once a paradise, the island is now solid ash, the surrounding sea turned to stone. But worse is yet to come: as the ash cloud rises and covers the sun, the seasons will fail.
In Switzerland, Mary Shelley finds dark inspiration. Confined inside by the unseasonable weather, thousands of famine refugees stream past her door. In Vermont, preacher Charles Whitlock begs his followers to keep faith as drought dries their wells and their livestock starve.
In Suffolk, the ambitious and lovesick painter John Constable struggles to reconcile the idyllic England he paints with the misery that surrounds him. In the Fens, farm labourer Sarah Hobbs has had enough of going hungry while the farmers flaunt their wealth. And Hope Peter, returned from the Napoleonic wars, finds his family home demolished and a fence gone up in its place. He flees to London, where he falls in with a group of revolutionaries who speak of a better life, whatever the cost. As desperation sets in, Britain becomes beset by riots - rebellion is in the air.
The Year Without Summer is the story of the books written, the art made; of the journeys taken, of the love longed for and the lives lost during that fateful year. Six separate lives, connected only by an event many thousands of miles away. Few had heard of Tambora - but none could escape its effects.

The Year Without Summer by Guinvere Glasfurd was published on 6 February by Two Roads Books.

As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I'm delighted welcome Louise Wykes to my blog today with her review of the book.

You can find Louise on Twitter @jaustenrulesok

Louise's Review of The Year Without Summer 

The Year Without Summer was published in hardback and e-book on 6th February 2020 ny Two Roads. I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to review and Anne Cater for agreeing to host my review.

The Year Without Summer is a fast paced and emotionally involving piece of historical fiction. The book takes the reader back to 1815 and the eruption of the Mount Tambora in Indonesia and then moves the action forward to 1816 with scenes from England, Europe and Vermont and how these different places have all ultimately been affected by the events following the volcano eruption the previous year. There are six points of view contained in the book and I think the amount of narrators helps keep the pace of the story moving well as you keep turning the pages to find out what happens next, even if you ultimately realise that there are not many happy endings to be had.

I really enjoyed the fact that the author uses a mixture of real historical figures e.g. author Mary Shelley and artist John Constable and so called “ordinary people” although I think one of the characters is actually based upon a real person with facts that have been altered for dramatic effect. I did find that some of the stories I wasn’t as involved with as a reader (which is what I usually find in a book if there are multiple viewpoints used- there is usually one or more characters you are invested in one or more of the character’s viewpoints)

Like the best of historical fiction, I found that this book has piqued my interest in a period of history I didn’t know much about including the eruption of the volcano in 1815 and its after effects and the long reaching consequences of the Napoleonic war and the Enclosure Acts which enclosed open fields and common land in the country, creating legal property rights to land that was previously considered common. It has made me want to pursue further reading into the history and I’ve even requested a biography about Mary Shelley from the library to discover more about her fascinating, if tragic life! I also admired how the author showed the interconnectedness in life across all classes. No one was immune, all areas of society suffered albeit in differing ways.

I am so glad to have discovered an author whose work I wish to devour and if you are looking for an enlightening and emotion packed read I can suggest no better than this wonderful book.

Louise Wykes @jaustenrulesok - February 2020 

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