A Woman Made of Snow Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Scotland, 1949: Caroline Gillan and her new husband, Alasdair, have moved back to Kelly Castle, his dilapidated family estate in the middle of nowhere. Stuck caring for their tiny baby, and trying to find her way with an opinionated mother-in-law, Caroline feels adrift, alone, and unwelcome. But when she is tasked with sorting out the family archives, Caroline discovers a century-old mystery that sparks her back to life.
There is one Gillan bride who is completely unknown - no photos exist, no records have been kept. The only thing that is certain is that she had a legitimate child: Alasdair's grandmother. As Caroline uncovers a strange story that stretches as far as the Arctic circle, her desire to find the truth turns obsessive. And when a body is found in the grounds of the castle, her hunt becomes more than just a case of curiosity. What happened all those years ago? Who was the bride? And who is the body?
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 29 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 06, 2022|
|Publisher||Dreamscape Media, LLC|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #43,028 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#618 in Historical Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
#668 in World Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#941 in Cultural Heritage Fiction
Top reviews from the United States
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This is an intriguing story set in several different locations and settings and periods, and from several different points of view. But it is not confusing and nor does the writer do this to show off her skills, it is simply the best way to tell the story. The only help I needed was to look at a couple of maps and I do wish the publishers had included these. The historical and occupational research involved is impressive but not in the least overwhelming as it merely illustrates the story and ensures we understand.
It's not presented as a 'whodunnit' type of historical mystery so don't be disappointed if you make a huge leap in understanding halfway through the story. I thoroughly enjoyed having the mystery gradually revealed, the characters beginning to understand and all the loose ends sorted out for the reader.
Elisabeth Gifford offers a myriad themes and topics in each of her novels and the publishers are wise enough not to spoil the surprise by listing them in the blurbs. So nor will I.
Many emotions were invoked in me in reading about the appalling and more often than not ignorant opinions of people towards people of other races and culture. Predominantly it is the Eskimos in this story. Some lovely writing. 4 stars.
Top reviews from other countries
The future of the castle is in the balance, its upkeep becoming untenable – and Caroline undertakes the task of researching its history, to increase its appeal for potential buyers but also in the hope of solving the mystery of one of the Gillan ancestors, a wife erased from family history, Alasdair’s great grandmother. A flood uncovers a body in the grounds of the cottage – the body of a woman, its age giving a possible link to the mysterious missing ancestor – and the story becomes dual time as we revisit the Gillan family in the 1870s and the full story is slowly uncovered.
At first, the earlier story is that of Charlotte and Louisa, orphaned and spending their summers with the family – Charlotte is spirited and unconventional, a talented artist, who yearns in vain to be noticed by Oliver, the family’s son, whose only interest is in the beautiful Louisa. Separated from them both by the machinations of his mother and her social aspirations, Oliver pursues the woman he still hoped to make his wife – only to find that Louisa has aspirations of her own, and his courtship is doomed to failure. That drives him, a medical student, to join a whaling ship as the ship’s doctor – his extraordinary story then becomes the book’s main focus is the hardships of his journey to the Arctic, with a few unexpected experiences and discoveries along the way.
The author’s story-telling really is quite exceptional – I found the whole story enthralling and entirely immersive as it moved seamlessly between Caroline’s attempts to solve the mystery (while continuing to struggle with that relationship with Martha) and the twists and turns of the family’s history in the late 1800s. The part of the story that will stay with me the longest will be Oliver’s Arctic journey – entirely compelling, the descriptions are stunning, the vivid depiction of life on board, the constant edge of danger, the cold you can feel in your bones. But I was also gripped by the unfolding family drama – in both the historical thread and Caroline’s story – underpinned by society’s expectations, the changing roles of women, the prevalent prejudices and norms of the time, and the depths to which they drove some of their actions.
The characterisation is quite superb – the various women (especially Charlotte – her character is simply fascinating), but also Oliver with his naivety and uncertainty as he embarks on his great adventure. The book’s emotional touches are particularly astute – at heart, this is a developing love story that tears at your heart, makes you rage at every wrong and injustice, that makes you ache at the impossibility of a happy ending. The mystery that drives the story is compelling too – the many red herrings, the dripping of clues that slowly allow the identity of that body to be discovered. The research behind the writing must have been immense – not just the realities of life on the whaling boat and its perilous journey, but all the small detail, the importance of the Dundee whaling industry to the production of jute, and the wonderfully replicated social scene of the times.
When I reviewed the author’s last book, I really struggled to find the words to convey how much I loved it – and once more those words have proved difficult to find. But Elisabeth Gifford’s writing is truly exceptional – I’ll never forget this book, and I’ll certainly always remember the way it made me feel.
Another interesting aspect of the story was that of the relationships between the daughters-in-law and their mothers-in-law both in the distant past and the late 1940s. Although expectations were quite different in the two time scales, Caro’s relationship with her mother-in-law Martha was still sometimes rather fraught. I have to say that I did feel quite sorry for Martha at times but equally could understand how Caro as a new wife and new mother was feeling.
I also enjoyed the parts of the story set in the Arctic. It was fascinating to read about the whaling trade and the experiences of both the Scottish whalers and the Inuit people. Although I whole-heartedly disapprove of the whaling industry, it was interesting to read about what a harsh life it was for the Scottish sailors, away from home for so long and at the mercy of the elements.
A Woman Made of Snow is both a beautifully written love story and a absorbing mystery. The author writes so well about the different time periods in her book and combines atmospheric settings with a very compelling tale.
Caro is a young women, coming to terms with motherhood and living in the shadows of her husbands family & the hierachy this entails.
Then a body us unearthed after a storm and Caro takes on the challenge of finding out who it is and the events that led to the tragic incident.
This is a very different read than my usual, but I enjoyed it. I liked that it moved seemlessly back and forth between eras. It is a sad but enlightening story of adventure, culture and strong family ties.
Well worth a read.