The Year Without Summer
1816 - one event, six lives, a world changed
by Guinevere Glasfurd
Pub Date 6 Feb 2020
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'SUPERB...BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN...UNFORGETTABLE' FT Weekend
'SKILFUL' Sunday Times
'RICH, INTRICATE, IMPRESSIVELY REALISED' Observer
'VIVIDLY REALISED' The Times
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.
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 Suffolk, 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 beset by riots - rebellion is in the air.
The Year Without Summer is the story of the books written, the art made; of the journeys taken, of the love longed for and the lives lost during that fateful year. Six separate lives, connected only by an event many thousands of miles away. Few had heard of Tambora - but none could escape its effects.
'VIVID, VIBRANT, HARD TO PUT DOWN' Hilary Spurling
'INGENIOUS AND ABSORBING' Kirsty Wark 'ASTONISHING, RIVETING, MASTERFUL, POETIC' Emily Rapp Black
'A WORLDWIDE CANVAS BROUGHT TO LIFE IN VIVID, HEARTBREAKING DETAIL' Marianne Kavanagh