Book Review: A Woman Made of Snow by Elisabeth Gifford

About the Book:

A gorgeous, haunting and captivating novel of a century-long family mystery in the wilds of Scotland, and one woman’s hunt for the truth.

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 dealing daily 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 killed her?

Published by Atlantic – Corvus

Released 16th November 2021

My Thoughts:

Historical fiction that features a century old mystery set in a Scottish castle. Could there actually be a novel more perfectly suited to me than this? I think not. And what a treat this one was from start to finish. Gorgeously written and pitch perfect to both of the eras of its setting, I absolutely loved this novel with its family secrets and skeletons rattling around in the closets (or buried on the grounds, as they were).

I found the exploration of the mother-daughter-in-law relationship quite fascinating. The use of multiple character perspectives allowed for a more engrossing story where we could see the internal struggles from both the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, affording us a unique insight into where the communications between each were breaking down, despite best intentions from both parties. It gave me much to think on as I approach the years where my children are all becoming adults.

‘For in the breaking and remaking that it takes for two families to come together, they would learn to welcome a new little earthquake, a small and unique person who’d need everyone to rethink the world all over again.’

I really can’t recommend this novel highly enough and I also can’t fault it at all. Hauntingly atmospheric and utterly engrossing, fans of historical fiction and age-old mysteries are sure to adore this one as much as I did. I can’t wait to read more by this author – and I just happen to have a couple more by her already on my shelves!


Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: A Woman Made of Snow by Elisabeth Gifford

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