Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Story of Female Emancipation, 28 Mar. 2012
This review is from: When Nights Were Cold: A literary mystery (Hardcover)
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When Nights Were Cold is principally set in the early part of the twentieth century, and subsequently as Grace looks back on the events of her life. Grace and her sister, Catherine, came from a quite oppressive home background where the woman's place was firmly in the home, preferably looking after her parents.

The two girls react in quite different ways. When Catherine, a talented pianist, is offered a place at the Royal College of Music, her father forbids her to take it up. Catherine knuckles under and accepts the situation. However, Grace is made of much sterner stuff and, in the face of her parents' intransigent opposition, goes off to get a degree, financially supported by her aunt who lives in America. However, this is set in the days when the suffragettes were fighting for women to be given the vote and this was the current political cause on everyone's lips, although far from universally supported. Grace has been inspired by Antarctic exploration at home, and in a spirit of adventure and emancipation, finds her outlet in mountain climbing with three college friends.

It is clear from the girls' initial efforts in Snowdonia, that although one of the trio is an experienced climber, they are hopelessly undertrained and under resourced for this sort of adventure. This does not deter them, and they are soon in the Alps with the object of furthering their mountaineering careers. It is clear from the outset that tragedy is not far away, and both the Amazon description of this book and the notes on the cover, effectively foreshadow this.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story which is told by Grace. Clearly Grace is not entirely frank in her recollections of what happened, and it is up to the reader to read between the lines. It is clear that Grace has a measure of mental problems and this aspect is very well handled by the author. This is quite a short book and I read through it very quickly. There is quite a lot of depth and complexity to Grace as a character, in marked contrast to her sister who comes across as rather insipid and much more prepared to go with the flow. Highly Recommended!
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