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When Nights Were Cold

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  228 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
As Queen Victoria’s reign reaches its end, Grace Farringdon dreams of polar explorations and of escape from her stifling home. 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 L ...more
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Mantle
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For Whom The Bell Tolls (Vlad Dracula, #1) by Shane K.P. O'NeillJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëRebecca by Daphne du MaurierLegacy of Darkness by Jane GodmanDracula by Bram Stoker
Gothic novels
104th out of 112 books — 184 voters

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Nov 20, 2014 Blair rated it it was amazing
As the Second World War approaches, Grace Farringdon, a lonely and reclusive woman, is sheltering from the world in what was once her family home in Dulwich - now inhabited by Grace and a pair of eccentric lodgers. Estranged from her sister and seemingly without friends, she is haunted by memories of the past, and we soon discover she is a figure of such notoriety that a journalist may be trying to break into her house. She also reveals that she is the only survivor of 'the Society', following w ...more
Apr 13, 2012 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
I was intrigued by the idea of a novel about Edwardian lady mountaineers, and I was even more intrigued when I placed the name of the author. Because I recalled that Susanna Jones specialises in dark storytelling, unreliable narrators, and psychological drama.

I hoped that When Nights Were Cold would be something rather special, and it very nearly was.

When Grace Farringdon was growing up, she and her father followed the polar explorations of Ernest Shackleton and his contemporaries, studying ever
Feb 07, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent novel about the life of Grace Farringdon, a young woman in the early 1900's who wants to leave her stifled life. Eventually she gets to Candlin College, where she meets Leonora Locke, Cicely Parr and Winifred Hooper and starts the Antartic Exploration Society. Looking back on how she is the only surviving member, Grace tells her story and evokes the restrictions on women with great atmosphere. Loved it.
Apr 18, 2012 Chelsea rated it really liked it
Review also seen on: http://nothingbetterthanagoodbook.blo...

Grace Farringdon has always been mesmerized and fascinated with the great explorers and often daydreams that she could one day accompany Shackleton on a voyage to Antarctica. Grace decides that she will attend university against the wishes of her family and the expectations of society. There she meets like-minded women and forms an Antarctica Exploration Society. Soon play acting is not enough and they begin to embark on a life changin
Amy Durreson
I enjoyed this one, albeit with a shudder of relief that I live here and now. From the start of the book, the reader is made aware that the reclusive narrator is notorious for some reason, and the narrative flickers back and forth between her present and her childhood and more adventurous early adulthood. My favourite part of the book was the account of Grace's escape to an early women's college and her friendships with three other students with an interest in the Antarctic. Their small rebellio ...more
Always Pink
Jul 31, 2014 Always Pink rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hell, did this book make me angry! I felt cheated by this one. Probably because I expected something totally different? This is basically just yet another novel about a Victorian heroine being straight-laced by strict parents, and as a result unable to fulfill her dreams, wasting her life dreaming and slowly going mad... A Guardian quote promised "a gripping psychological thriller", which totally led me unto the wrong track. The plot sounded promising, with its Shackleton/arctic exploration angl ...more
Rebecca Foster
Grace Farringdon has always been obsessed with polar exploration and diligently follows the exploits of Scott and Shackleton. When she enrolls at Candlin College she sets up a Ladies’ Polar Exploration society, joined by her friend Leonora Locke, an aspiring playwright and suffragist; Winifred Hooper, a budding botanist; and Cicely Parr, an irascible mountaineer whose parents died in a climbing accident but who continues to climb with her intrepid aunt and uncle.

Disaster strikes during an expedi
Janette Fleming
Aug 12, 2013 Janette Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Shade Point

Hours have passed and I am shivering. I could sit down here until I freeze, let frost be my skin and let icicles hang from my chin, let glaciers creep through London and crush my house. It is how I have lived these fifteen years.

Since her superb debut novel The Earthquake Bird, Susanna Jones has been crafting a place as one of this country's most impressive writers. She excels in dark, psychological mystery. Not procedural mystery, with detectives and so on, but the kind of shar
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
'We could all go mad in the mountains together.'

I love walking in the fells of the English Lake District, and in Snowdonia, and have done since I was a young girl. This book really appealed to me, telling as it does the story of four young women who grasped at their freedom and embarked on daring mountaineering excursions, with dramatic, tragic consequences. For me it lived up to its promise.

Grace Farringdon is a young woman in the early 1900's who is determined to escape a life of marriage and
Hilary Atkins
I have never read anything by this author before and was not encouraged by the cover saying "a gripping psychological thriller". However, I didn't feel this book was a psychological thriller and it certainly wasn't gripping for me.

On the positive side, the book covered some potentially very interesting topics and had any of these areas (as described by previous reviewers) been developed I probably would have enjoyed the book. However they were not and the tantalising glimpses before the author c
Mar 16, 2013 Raven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Susanna Jones has always ranked highly with me being that 'The Earthquake Bird' is one of my all time favourite reads but I couldn't help feeling a wee bit deflated by what promised to be an excellent novel. The central premise of the story of four women forging themselves into a characteristically male pursuit of mountaineering did initially peak my interest but I found them all rather dislikeable and had very little empathy with any of the deceased or our storyteller Grace. The mysterious myst ...more
The novel is told in flashback by Grace Faringdon, the surviving member of the mountain climbing and Antarctic exploration society she formed at University.

There were originally four members of the group, the fate of the other three is gradually revealed to the reader through the narrative.

The flashback accounts date back to the years immediately preceding WW1, but are told from many years later (around 1940). Grace is, by then, living alone - a recluse - in her old family home. She is an extrem
Mar 15, 2015 Sho rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A while ago I read How To Climb Mont Blanc in a Skirt, and before that I had read a few books about explorers and mountineers - particularly Scott, Amundsun and Franklin. My interest in those explorers was partly awakened by my reading of the Swallows and Amazon series as a child. So when I saw this novel on offer for Kindle I felt I must give it a try.

And it gripped me from the very first page. It's the story of Grace Farringdon and her desire to climb the Matterhorn. The basic story jumps from
Apr 29, 2014 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Every so often, it’s rather nice to get away from the publication deadlines and the pursuit of the latest releases, and to read a book because someone said “I really enjoyed it”. OK, so that someone was Sophie Orme at Mantle, Pan Macmillan, and she might not be entirely impartial – When Nights Were Cold was published by Mantle in March 2012 - but there was something about this book that drew me in, firstly from the description, then from the moment I started to read.

It’s a fascinating story, on
Right from the start, Susanna Jones struggles with the voice of her first-person narrator. Grace Farringdon feels awkward and self conscious, not because she is, but because the author doesn't know her and can't portray her. There is something quite inauthentic about Farringdon's voice throughout part one as she recounts her home life and university. Something changes into part two though, and the second half of the book is much better. It's not that the writing improves dramatically, more that ...more
seanat (elka)
Feb 29, 2012 seanat (elka) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

Nothing like reading about Arctic explorations and snowbound mountains from the comfort of your own centrally heated living room :)

Grace Farringdon is a young woman fighting against her destiny pre-determined by society and her gender. Rather than marry well or stay at home and care for her parents, Grace is obsessed by the exploits of Scott and Shackleton and is determined to study at university and become an Arctic explorer. Grace fights against these limits to live her dream and along with 3
Jul 05, 2012 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short novel set in Edwardian England in the years approaching the First World War, this follows the exploits of Grace Farringdon and a small group of like-minded friends at a ladies’ college whose interest in following the expeditions of the last great explorers becomes an expedition society of their own.

I should confess that one reason I read this was for the fact that the college featured was partly based on Royal Holloway, my old alma mater. There were a couple of references that made me s
A.J. Waines
Dec 31, 2013 A.J. Waines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a straight-forward psychological thriller - in fact, I was slightly disappointed to get to page 100 and find it was largely an account of strain within a family, in the early 1900's, where the protagonist wants nothing more than to join an Arctic Expedition and prove that women can climb mountains, too! The style, however, is compelling - I don't normally read 'historical' novels, but I liked the evocative imagery and the troubled and unreliable landscape inside Grace's mind. The read ...more
Victoria Young
2.5/ 5

I don't often give very low reviews, but this book was frustratingly boring despite the promising concept. Grace Farringdon is a woman ahead of her time- an Edwardian girl desperate to study at university and fascinated by the pioneering explorers (Shakleton, Scott, Mallory etc) pushing the boundaries of the known world. The author uses cuts between the 1900s and 1930s to set up the mystery element of the plot- we know Grace is the only survivor of her four-woman mountaineering expeditions
Jun 05, 2014 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would.
It was interesting, well-written and very absorbing.
The main character, Grace, was an unreliable and not entirely likeable protagonist, and yet the story seemed to be enhanced because of it.
I thought the descriptions of what life was like for women at that time, and how they were viewed were excellent. Indeed I found this book hard to put down and read it in just a couple of sittings.
I would definitely recommend this book and shall look for more
Alistair Dunlop
Aug 25, 2015 Alistair Dunlop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a different read. The story jumped back and forward in time and sometimes the events being described were real, historical and even imaginary. It could have been confusing but Susanna Jones manages to keep the story going and the different strands gradually come together.
Even to those like myself who have never felt any desire to climb a mountain, this is a book worth reading. The characters are well formed, perhaps not the kind of people you meet every day, but we all know someone who beh
Nov 11, 2014 Sophie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This novel is very well-written: the descriptions, and a lot of the dialogue, are superb. My main gripe was simply with the storytelling. This is described on the back cover as 'tense' and 'gripping', when really the story structure lets you know almost from the beginning how things will turn out. So there isn't any tension to it, really, except in the choice of interpretations of the events.
Jan 02, 2013 Bee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grace Farringdon is a young woman fighting against her family and her Edwardian destiny to marry or stay at home caring for her strict parents. Grace harbours an obsession by the prospect of becoming a female mountaineer and so alongside 3 unlikely friends from university, she sets up the Arctic Exploration Society. We learn from the outset of the book that Grace is the only ‘surviving’ member of the society and what follows is an incredibly well written and believable account of single-white-le ...more
Cat Freckleton
Sep 14, 2012 Cat Freckleton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story set in the early 1900's when woman sought emancipation and the power to vote. It is written from the point of view of young woman called Grace who longs to become an explorer and mountaineer and escape the confines of her suffocating life at home. She does this with the help of three like-minded friends who she meets at an all girls college and from there her dreams take shape. What happens next is the premise of the book. You are told at the beginning that Grace is the only survivor ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Gerda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read with some insight in what it must've meant to live as a well-to-do woman early in the 20th century. A bit over the top in the mountaineering aspect, I really can't believe, especially in those days, you go climbing with such a lack of experience.
As the book progressed it turned more into a whodunit, which kept me captivated till the end.
Jul 15, 2014 Tara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected more from this book. It felt like it was about nothing, with occasional flashes of being interesting. Slow moving, with a dull denouement and very little that I would classify as a psychological thriller. Nothing special and nothing worthy of the cover blurb.
Jul 27, 2015 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catherine wants to be a concert pianist, Grace wants to be a polar explorer, their parents want them both to stay home. Grace is the more determined and does manage to leave home and attend a ladies college, where she meets other determined women, including a climber.
The story is narrated by Grace some years later and living in the family home. We know there has been some disaster in the past which haunts her and one comes half way through the book.
At first Grace's real life and her fantasies ab
Sanne Bouman
Mar 25, 2013 Sanne Bouman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Grace Farringdon groeit op in Londen aan het begin van de twintigste eeuw. Grace probeert haar beklemmende familie te ontvluchten door te gaan studeren aan de universiteit, waar ze al snel met drie gelijkgestemden het Genootschap voor Zuidpoolonderzoek start. Het uiteindelijke doel: de Zuidpool bereiken.
Om zich voor te bereiden op deze tocht, maakt het gezelschap expedities in de Alpen. Vijftien jaar later woont Grace als een kluizenaar in haar ouderlijk huis, en alleen zij weet wat er tijdens
Apr 03, 2015 Christopher rated it liked it
A very good read with some great characters and interesting relationships between them. It was good how it managed to switch from one decade to another without giving away what exactly was going to happen. I did have a slack jaw moment at the end and it was quite emotional.
Diane Dunn
Mar 20, 2016 Diane Dunn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it when I pick up a book cos I love the cover and it turns out to be a really good read. Grace Farringdon born in the early 1900's has a passion for adventure and freedom at the time when women were fighting for the vote.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 28, 2015 08:55AM  
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"Susanna Jones was born in Hull in 1967 and grew up in Hornsea in East Yorkshire. She studied drama at Royal Holloway, University of London and then spent several years abroad, including two years in Turkey and five years in Japan. She taught English in secondary schools, language schools, a steel corporation and worked as an assistant editor and presenter for NHK Radio.

In 1996 she studied for an
More about Susanna Jones...

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