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The Year Without Summer

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  49 reviews

In 1815, a supervolcanic eruption led to the extraordinary 'Year Without Summer' in 1816: a massive climate disruption causing famine, poverty and riots. Lives, both ordinary and privileged, changed forever.

1815, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia
Mount Tambora explodes in a cataclysmic eruption, killing thousands. Sent to investigate, ship surgeon Henry Hogg can barely believe his

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Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published February 6th 2020 by Two Roads
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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Louise Wilson
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
The story charts the global effect of the Tambora volcano eruption and the unusual weather that followed in 1815. We learn how there was flooding, drought, crop failure, famine, cholera, typhoid and social unrest.

I knew nothing about the year without summer before reading this book. Among the cast of characters we have Mary Shelly and John Constable. Some stories are told in the third person, others in the first. This is actually six stories of individuals who are connected only by this event
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Louise Wilson
This story charts the global effect of the Tambora volcano eruption and the unusual weather that followed in 1815. We learn how there was flooding, drought crop failures, famine, cholera, thypoid and social unrest.

I knew nothing about the year without summer before reading this book. A long the cast of characters we have Mary Shelly and John Constable. Some stories are told in the third person, others in the first. This is actually six stories of individuals who are connected only by the event
...more
SueLucie
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
We have six stories here, short chapters of each interwoven throughout. None is connected with any other, apart from the fact that they all take place in 1816 in the immediate aftermath of the eruption of the volcano Mount Tambora in Indonesia. The resulting ash cloud disrupted the climate of the northern hemisphere, causing widespread crop failure, famine and civil unrest. Not that anyone knew this at the time - the author’s afterword explains that it is only in the last century that scientists ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
‘Never had there been such a bad year as this.’

In 1815, Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island (then part of the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia) exploded. This powerful volcanic eruption killed thousands immediately, led to the starvation of thousands more, and had a massive impact on the world’s climate in 1816. The Year Without Summer, as 1816 came to be known, caused famine resulting in poverty and riots. Snow fell in the northern hemisphere in August.

‘It was the end of times; he knew of no other
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Michael Cayley
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is less a novel than a set of unconnected stories set in the period after the huge 1815 eruption of Mt Tambora. They include Mary Shelley on her way to Switzerland and John Constable struggling at the start of his career - both accounts very think fictionalised. Others bring out the extreme poverty many people endured, especially with the continuing enclosure of common land and increasing mechanisation of agriculture. Successive chapters move between the different stories.

None of the
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Jemima Pett
This is a book that takes a disparate set of people, and examines the impact of a cataclysm most of them haven't even heard of, upon their lives. While The Times has featured a story of a volcanic eruption in a far-off colony, most (if not all) of the protagonists do not read the Times. The general population has no idea why the weather has gone crazy. Snow in summer, weeks at a time, freezing what crops have struggled through the dim and dreary spring.

In England, things were already difficult.
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Alda Saldan
The Year Without Summer is a historical novel which narrates a year in the lives of six characters, two of them most likely already known to the audience: Mary Shelley and John Constable. All the six stories are independent from each other, but share a common ground: they're all set in the aftermath of the eruption of the Tambora volcano in 1815 in Indonesia and that explains also the title of the novel, as 1816 will be known as "the year without summer". As the reader learns in the afterword, ...more
Catalina
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
A very interesting premise: how a volcanic eruption on the other side of the world can impact 6 different characters; showing the interconnectivity, the globality of the world at a time when most people were very locally focused. A very strong start that immediately draw me in. Such lyrical and suggestive writing style. Particularly skillful how the author manages to create 6 original and so different voices. Different not only in circumstances and experiences but so different in language and ...more
Laura
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the premise - characters linked by the global weather disturbances caused by the Tambora eruption in 1815 - but I found there were too many narrators to invest in. The only one who really came to life for me was Littleport farm labourer Sarah. DNF @ 50%.
Margaret
A most remarkable book, telling how the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island in Indonesia in 1815 had a profound and far reaching impact on the world. It led to sudden cooling across the northern hemisphere, crop failures, famine and social unrest in the following year, which became known as The Year Without Summer and in North America as Eighteen hundred and froze to death. But it wasn’t until the mid twentieth century that volcanic eruptions were shown to affect climate change. ...more
Kitty Pollock
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd
Publisher: John Murry Press, Two Roads
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publish Date: 6 February 2020

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

A truly wonderful book that moves the heartstrings and leads you to question the climate issue of the present. Glasfurd has chosen to write a historical novel about the year known as, the Year Without Summer: 1816. In the Sumbawa Islands, Indonesia, Mount Tambora stood at14,100 feet but the 1815 eruption reduce its hight to 9,350 feet while
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Kevin
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book slow going but ultimately a worthwhile read. The eruption of Mount Tambora affected the whole planet and the book looks at various lives that were affected by it, but the disconnect between those lives left me feeling the format became rather stuttering and it became a slower read than I had hoped, never fully settling into a rhythm.

The story of Sarah Hobbs illustrates one of my favourite aspects of the writing in this book - it has a slightly dated style. There's something
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Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

In a time when there is so much confusion and uncertainty about the potential for devastation from climate change, looking back just over two centuries to 1816 can give us an idea. In her new novel, The Year Without Summer, Guinevere Glasfurd does just that. Ash fallout from a huge volcanic eruption in Indonesia changed weather patterns around the globe, albeit only for months rather than permanently, but the effects were catastrophic. This
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Mrs Joan Marriott
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This eagerly awaited novel resonates clearly with our present worries about climate change. When you realise that a massive volcanic eruption in 1815 can have such a knock-on effect to different parts of the world a year (and more) later.
Guinevere Glasfurd's research is immaculate and far reaching. She takes six characters, based on real life figures, from different walks of life and presents their stories relating to this momentous year.
The novel Frankenstein had its inception in a Europe
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Jacey
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
In April 1815, Mount Tambora on the Island of Sumbawa (Indonesia – then the Dutch East Indies) erupts, the cataclysm killing thousands. Ships surgeon Henry Hogg is on the British ship sent to investigate. It's the largest volcanic event in recorded history. The lush island paradise is now solid ash, the surrounding sea solid with pumice. But the explosion isn't an isolated incident. Volcanic activity continues for six months and doesn't settle down for three years. The ash cloud rises into the ...more
Siobhan
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
The Year Without Summer is a historical novel following the stories of six characters and how their lives are affected by the eruption of the volcano Tambora in 1815. The eruption caused global climate disruption and famine, and the novel looks at different ways this affected people and the political and artistic mood. From a ship surgeon close to Tambora to a farm labourer fighting the injustice of going hungry whilst the farmers get everything, the six characters are very different. two are ...more
Vivienne
My thanks to John Murray Press Two Roads for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Year Without Summer’ by Guinevere Glasfurd in exchange for an honest review. It was published on 6 February.

“1816 - one event, six lives, a world changed”

The event actually takes place in 1815 with the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia. This novel weaves together six stories, each exploring the lives of individuals who experience an aspect of this event as its ash cloud blocks the sun and
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Anjana
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has an interesting premise. I had never heard of the volcano eruption before, and it was fascinating to see the endless repercussions so long ago. I have actually been on a geo tour where the guide told us we were above what was estimated to be the mouth os a volcano, and the dimensions of it were so visually staggering that it sent chills down my arms. This tale begins excitingly. We see the events through the eyes of someone who almost saw the eruption and the direct impact on the ...more
Tina Price
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a description of the turmoil across the world following the Tambora eruption of April 1815, the story of the upheaval being shown through the lives of a number of individuals in different settings. The immense eruption was recognised as the trigger for a period of sudden cooling across the Northern Hemisphere. This rapid change brought about crop failure, leading to extensive famine, prices rises for basic foods and, ultimately, social unrest which became the trigger for the social and ...more
Teresa Cornelius
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd
Having read and loved The Words in My Hand I was very excited to read the latest novel by this author. It begins in 1815 with the eruption of Mount Tambora. The eruption was so huge that it had a devastating effect upon the world’s climate, raising the temperature by 1 to 2 degrees and causing worldwide famine and changes to the weather such as snow falling in August. The terrible aftermath of this eruption has parallels with the destruction which we
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Tina Price
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a description of the turmoil across the world following the Tambora eruption of April 1815, the story of the upheaval being shown through the lives of a number of individuals in different settings. The immense eruption was recognised as the trigger for a period of sudden cooling across the Northern Hemisphere. This rapid change brought about crop failure, leading to extensive famine, prices rises for basic foods and, ultimately, social unrest which became the trigger for the social and ...more
Elite Group
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting account which somehow lost cohesion.

I was very keen to read Glasfurd’s second book, “The Year Without Summer,” after reading mostly praiseworthy reviews. It shows how one catastrophic event in 1815 impacted on six main characters.

From the outset we learn how a massive eruption in 1815, from Mount Tombora in Indonesia, caused absolute devastation in this area and far beyond! Countless numbers of people were killed and the horrendous ash spewed forth, as the ripples spread
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Kim
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A most unusual novel that had me hooked from the start. The Year Without Summer granted readers glimpses of the global impact from a catastrophic Indonesian volcanic eruption in 1815. Europe experienced epic rain and flooding whilst America is bone dry, suffering the worst drought in memory.

In this brilliant novel we trail after real characters around the world - writer Mary Shelley and John Constable, to name a few, along with fictional characters - who must navigate the difficulties of the
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Brian
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Year Without Summer explores the impact of the devastating earthquake that took place on the Indonesian island of Tambora in 1815, an event that affected the weather as far away as Europe and North America.

Ranging across a variety of locations, the novel follows the fortunes of Henry, the surgeon on a ship dispatched to investigate the event; the painter, John Constable as he travels between London and Suffolk, struggling to make enough money to get married; the writer, Mary Shelley in
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Ophelia Sings
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Many years ago, my daughter (then aged seven) was convinced she would be a volcanologist when she grew up. The Tambora supervolcanic eruption of 1815 was one of her childhood obsessions, and by extension, became a bit of a fascination of mine, too. My daughter's career choices changed as she grew and volcanology's loss turned out to be coding's gain, but my interest in the Tambora eruption didn't wane. So The Year Without Summer was a fascinating prospect indeed.

Here are six tales charting the
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Amanda
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
A fictional account of a fascinating moment in history.

The effects of the 1815 eruption of the Tambora in Indonesia were felt worldwide for three years after the event. Snow fell in summer, biblical floods washed Europe, while North America was hit with drought. Crop failure and famine led to social unrest, and the failure of monsoons gave rise to cholera and typhoid epidemics.

Glasfurd draws on her research to imagine half a dozen or so of the lives of those affected, including artist John
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Helen French
It is 1815 and a supervolcano has erupted in Indonesia. Our story begins in the aftermath, leading to 'the year without summer' that was 1816, as global temperatures reduced.

It's a fascinating and true premise, particularly timely at the time of writing after eruptions in New Zealand and the Philippines.

The story is actually six stories of individuals across the world, connected only by the event, each of them facing a world that has been subtly - or not so subtly - affected by the volcanic
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Lucy
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having so enjoyed Guinevere Glasfurd’s first book, I was looking forward to this and it did not disappoint.

A volcano has erupted, one of the biggest eruptions ever recorded, and this event is real.

Glasfurd constructs a host of narratives around this incident, with many of the impacted characters wholly unaware of the event; John Constable is striving to make a living from painting, while desperate to marry his sweetheart, with his story set in a dismal, grey summer; Sarah is a farmhand, living
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~bookworm~
This book was not what I expected, that's not to say it wasn't interesting.

We follow the stories of author Mary Shelley, the painter John Constable, a poor farm labourer in the Fens, a ship's doctor, an American preacher & a Napoleonic soldier
There were times when I found the format confusing, as unlike most books of this type there really was no connection between the stories. I think I was waiting for something to happen that would bring some sort of interaction or a cohesion to the
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Jen
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
The Year Without A Summer is a unique exploration of one year in history, as seen through the eyes of six characters scattered across the world.

I enjoyed the interwoven narratives, although I wish there was more order to their arrangement. The writing is variable: in some characters' mouths, Glasfurd's words sing, but in others they sound a little stilted. Farmhand Sarah and ship surgeon Henry have the strongest sections – they best reflect the turmoil of the year and it felt like their stories
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“A sharp, spring shower could be expected at this time of year, but not rain so brutally blunt. It came at him and, hours later, at him still; an insult of rain.” 0 likes
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