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When Nights Were Cold: A literary mystery [Kindle Edition]

Susanna Jones
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

As Queen Victoria’s reign reaches its end, Grace Farringdon dreams of polar explorations and of escape from her stifling home with her protective parents and eccentric, agoraphobic sister.



But when Grace secretly applies to Candlin, a women’s college filled with intelligent, like-minded women, she finally feels her ambitions beginning to be take shape. There she forms an Antarctic Exploration Society with the gregarious suffragette Locke, the reserved and studious Hooper and the strange, enigmatic Parr, and before long the group are defying their times and their families by climbing the peaks of Snowdonia and planning an ambitious trip to the perilous Alps.



Fifteen years later, trapped in her Dulwich home, Grace is haunted by the terrible events that took place out on the mountains. She is the society’s only survivor and for years people have demanded the truth of what happened, the group’s horrible legacy a millstone around her neck. Now, as the eve of the Second World War approaches, Grace is finally ready to remember and to confess . . .



From one of the finest writers of the psychological thriller comes this beautifully woven, deeply unsettling historical novel; powerfully atmospheric, shivering with menace and reminiscent of the very best of Sarah Waters.


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Review

‘Superior psychological thriller . . . Jumping between the past and the present the reader gradually begins to realise that the picture is not so straightforward . . . Ultimately, however, When Nights Were Cold is a novel about a soul that has frozen over. Some years ago the husband and wife team Nicci French wrote an excellent novel called Killing Me Softly which also centred on events that happened far up on a mountain, away from civilisation, amid the ice and snow. This book is a worthy successor. Ice in veins and all that’ Daily Express

‘An unsettling tale of turn-of-the-century lady adventurers. Susanna Jones specialises in chilling tales with ambiguous narrators, somewhere between straightforward crime and psychological speculation . . . This all-female environment is vaguely unsettling, and Jones relishes its disquieting atmosphere . . . There is an air of hectic derangement to the story, a cackling foreboding; every figure appearing as a type – none more so than Grace, an arch dissembler. Right up to its tingling showdown on the Matterhorn, this claustrophobic, disturbing books excels’ Sunday Telegraph

‘A vivid, shivery tale of obsession and emancipation in Edwardian England . . . Eerily atmospheric, Jones' novel is a pitch perfect study of the volatile emotions that can transform friendships' Marie Claire

‘Grace Farringdon is that most interesting of fictional characters: the unreliable narrator . . . in a tense and compelling piece of storytelling, the author shows us the ultimate confrontation between these two women. A rich, rewarding read’ Sunday Express

Review

‘Grace Farringdon is that most interesting of fictional characters: the unreliable narrator . . . in a tense and compelling piece of storytelling, the author shows us the ultimate confrontation between these two women. A rich, rewarding read’ Sunday Express

‘Superior psychological thriller . . . Jumping between the past and the present the reader gradually begins to realise that the picture is not so straightforward . . . Ultimately, however, When Nights Were Cold is a novel about a soul that has frozen over. Some years ago the husband and wife team Nicci French wrote an excellent novel called Killing Me Softly which also centred on events that happened far up on a mountain, away from civilisation, amid the ice and snow. This book is a worthy successor. Ice in veins and all that’ Daily Express

‘An unsettling tale of turn-of-the-century lady adventurers. Susanna Jones specialises in chilling tales with ambiguous narrators, somewhere between straightforward crime and psychological speculation . . . This all-female environment is vaguely unsettling, and Jones relishes its disquieting atmosphere . . . There is an air of hectic derangement to the story, a cackling foreboding; every figure appearing as a type – none more so than Grace, an arch dissembler. Right up to its tingling showdown on the Matterhorn, this claustrophobic, disturbing books excels’ Sunday Telegraph

‘A vivid, shivery tale of obsession and emancipation in Edwardian England . . . Eerily atmospheric, Jones' novel is a pitch perfect study of the volatile emotions that can transform friendships' Marie Claire

‘This atmospheric mystery is set in early 1900s London, where Grace Farringdon's dreams of adventure lead her to form a controversial exploration society at a women's college. Ambition leads to tragedy and, 15 years on, Grace is still living with an onerous secret' Glamour first-class page-turners

‘Susanna Jones is one of my favourite authors (I still have my battered proof of her fantastic 2001 debut The Earthquake Bird) and her new novel When Nights Were Cold (Mantle), a tale of obsession and emancipation, is absolutely terrific . . . Completely gripping tale of madness and obsession, set at the turn of the century. Grace Farringdon escapes her stifling Edwardian home in Dulwich for a women’s college where she forms an Antarctic Exploration Society with three other like-minded women and they plan an ambitious trip to the Alps. Very highly recommended’ Ones to Watch, The Bookseller

‘Jones's fourth novel is an atmospheric, beautifully controlled account of intense female friendship and ambition. And it's also a gripping psychological thriller – the missing link, were one ever inclined to hunt for it, between Rosamund Lehmann's Dusty Answer and Joe Simpson's Touching the Void. Recommended’ Guardian

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 811 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mantle; Main Market Ed. edition (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I3PD8I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #90,890 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Explores many boundaries, almost a great novel 31 Mar. 2012
By Janie U VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Grace is desperate to be a rebel. She is trying to get away from her parents and the traditional world surrounding them. Her father has encouraged her interest in polar exploration but cannot cope whe she decides to leave the family home and start to explore herself.
The story is narrated by grace from the end of the story as a retrospective look about why everything turned out the way it did.
The version I read had a beautiful cover with the words "Grace Farringdon Journal" - unusual when this is not the title of the book. From this I expected a date based diary format but it wasn't. Graces thoughts ramble through her story, giving a challenging but great fun read.
Susanna jones never gives the reader an easy ride and this book is no different, the characters are unsympathetic and difficult to like but all very well drawn and interesting, perfect for the story.
There are dark undertones although it is a more straight forward story than others I have read by this author which was a little disappointing. I expected more intrigue, although there is always the seeds of doubt about how much of the story Grace is inventing.
Throughout the story Grace slips into madness and the question running through the book is whether it is her madness or that of the people around her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Icy adventure 1 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
*spoilers*

Remember `Alive', the story of a team whose plane crashed in the snowy mountains. They finally resorted to cannibalism to survive. It raised a lot of questions. As it was based on a true story you couldn't bring yourself to consider what you would do in order to stay alive.

I'm not saying this is the same, a very different scenario indeed. Grace is an empathic character indeed. Tied by her family's problems she has this burning need to break out, to go somewhere and do something formidable. When she goes to Candlin she finds other women with the same needs and along with suffragette Locke, they form a group to go the Antarctic. No mean fete in the year this was written, they didn't have Goretex and paraffin heated stoves to cook on. They do make the trip and out of the whole expedition party she is the only one to return. She is trapped by the truth of what happened and she can't face the outside world and its questions.

There will come a time for recollection and confession. In the telling of the tale the psychological element is really ramped up. It holds you until you know and in the end you will either feel pity or horror.

Very well done, tightly written and it certainly compels you to the end.

Shiversome.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Opening in the first years of the twentieth century, awkward, obsessive Grace dreams about exploring the Antarctic. In the present, Grace is confined to her family home, full of lodgers and ghosts - but the question of what is `real' and what only exists in Grace's mind haunts this intelligent and impressive novel.

This is a quiet book, built on interiority and subjectivity rather than big, bold dramatic events which do take place but which don't necessarily drive the narrative. I found this very atmospheric, redolent of the dreadful claustrophobic narrowness of women's lives in the pre-war years, despite the rise of feminism in the suffragette movement.

The tensions simmering between the four women, between Grace and her parents, Grace and her sister, the relationships between men and women are reproduced with subtle skill, and the question of what is `real' gradually takes over the narrative.

This reminds me of a (post) modern take on Virginia Woolf, with its play of repression and fantasies of liberation. There is something deeply ambiguous about the book which I liked a lot - is the world `outside' of the mountains ultimately a source of freedom for these women, or just another way of confining them within a deeply conservative, patriarchal system?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Quite Unsettling 1 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this book about six months ago, and although there were some problems with it, I have to admit it left an indelible impression on my psyche, atmospheric and strange, it stays with you.

As a first offering from Jones it shows incredible promise. I feel kind of bad even mentioning any short-comings because it is so much easier to be an armchair critic than it is to write an enduring tale of ambition and madness in a time of repression and exploration for women, but some of the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, not quite so charicaturish.

Ultimately though, it was quite refreshing to read a book about adventurous brave women, whose lives don't necessarily just revolve around their romantic interests, I wish there were more books along these lines. I look forward to reading other offerings from Susanna Jones.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern woman trapped in Victorian era 5 July 2012
By Mark Shackelford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Grace Farringdon is a frustrated "modern" woman - trapped in the Victorian era. She rebels against society's expectations for her (marriage, children, er... that's it) and manages to get a place at a ladies college. There she teams up with a few other like minded women, and they found the "Antarctic Exploration Society", to follow in the footsteps of her hero, Ernest Shackleton [no relation].

The story brings to life the (now) inconceiveable attitudes of an era when women were so restricted that riding a bicycle, or voting, or even having an opinion was frowned upon (if not worse!) - and as for getting a proper education!

A thoroughly interesting book, exploring a time of great social change for women (suffragettes etc.), in parallel with a highlyrisky set of adventures.

Good fun
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Helen
Have not had time to read it yet.
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars It lost me at times.
Ok
Published 3 months ago by ronald wasden
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving thoughtful book - took a while to get into ...
Moving thoughtful book - took a while to get into, but by the time they moved into the accounts of the expedition, I was hooked!
Published 3 months ago by A. Brooks
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice
This is not my normal read but the description caught my eye. It's a good story that meanders and unravels gradually but I didn't find any great wow factor, I finished it because I... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Madness, Murder and Mountaineering
I disliked Jones's 'A Missing Person's Guide to Love' but decided to give this book a go due to the glowing reviews it received. It's certainly an arresting story. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Kate Hopkins
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard going
I really struggled to finish this book. Didn't really understand what was going on. Not at all gripping or thrilling.
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
There was something about this book that drew me in, firstly from the description, then from the moment I started to read. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Welsh Annie
2.0 out of 5 stars less than the sum of its parts
Having bought this book to read on a long rail journey, I was in the position of a captive audience so stuck to this book in preference to not reading anything. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ferry Felts
2.0 out of 5 stars quite odd...
....the same insanity that gradually crept into poor grace must have rubbed off on me and made me want to finish it. Sort of glad i did.
Published 18 months ago by TLK
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow Read!
Great service but the book was a little disappointing. I enjoyed the first book Water Lily so much and couldn't put it down but this one was a little disappointing.
Published 23 months ago by Jules
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