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The Year Without Summer: the new novel from the author of The Words in My Hand

Guinevere Glasfurd

3 Reviews

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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Historical fiction

In 1815, a supervolcanic eruption led to the extraordinary 'Year Without Summer' in 1816: a massive climate disruption causing famine, poverty and riots. Snow fell in August. Lives, both ordinary and privileged, changed forever. By the Costa shortlisted author of The Words in My Hand.

In 1815, a supervolcanic eruption led to the extraordinary 'Year Without Summer' in 1816: a massive climate disruption causing famine, poverty and riots. Snow fell in August. Lives, both ordinary and privileged, changed forever. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. The artist, John Constable, sought refuge in Suffolk. As crops failed, the dispossessed rose up in rebellion, threatening to burn the old order to the ground.

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.

1816.
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 Britain, 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 racked with riots - rebellion is in the air.

For fans of David Mitchell and Andrew Miller, THE YEAR WITHOUT SUMMER tells the story of a fateful year when temperatures fell and the summer failed to arrive. It is a story of the books written, the art made; of the journeys taken, of the love longed for and the lives lost. Six separate lives, connected only by an event many thousands of miles away. Few had heard of Tambora - but none could escape its effects.

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Praise for The Year Without Summer: the new novel from the author of The Words in My Hand

  • Vivid, vibrant, hard to put down. Who'd have thought a book about calamitous climate change could also be such a joy to read? - Hilary Spurling

  • The Year Without Summer is an astonishing, riveting accomplishment. With a masterful grace and poetic beauty, Guinevere Glasfurd crafts a story that, although steeped in a particular historical moment, resonates profoundly for the times we live in now. A truly remarkable book about a remarkable year in history. - Emily Rapp, author of THE STILL POINT OF THE TURNING WORLD

  • In 1815, a volcanic eruption in Indonesia brings ash and ice, ushering in strange storms and political turmoil. The old ways disappear and there is a hunger for justice and equality. The Year Without Summer is a worldwide canvas peopled by passionate individuals who long for a better future, each one brought to life in vivid, heartbreaking detail. - Marianne Kavanagh, author of FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE

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Guinevere Glasfurd

Author Guinevere Glasfurd was born in Lancaster and lives near Cambridge with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel, The Words in My Hand, was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa First Novel Award and Authors' Club Best First Novel Award and was longlisted in France for the Prix du Roman FNAC.

Her second novel, The Year Without Summer, written with support from the MacDowell Colony Foundation, publishes early 2020 and tells the story of the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption and the catastrophic events that followed. Awarded grants from the Arts Council England and the British Council for her novels, her writing has also appeared in the Scotsman, Mslexia and The National Galleries of Scotland.

She is currently working on her third novel, a story of the Enlightenment, set in eighteenth century England and France.

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