Cover Image: The Weather Woman

The Weather Woman

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Member Reviews

amazing book from an amazing author, i loved the river thames freezing over elements and the frost fairs as well as the central plot. sally gardner's latest offering was wonderful to read and she is one of my favourite authors.

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Many thanks to the publishing team for my digital copy for review
I was really intrigued by the blurb and the cover so went into little expectations and I loved it!
So beautifully written and it was just magical to read from start to finish. The pace of the story was well done, you get the right amount of story through chapter that builds this intriguing and enticing story.
Neva characters was multi layered and complex and it highlighted the imbalance during that time and the impact it had and how she was determined to remain strong.
There were a mix bag of characters with each carrying different emotions and challenges which tied the story off nicely.

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I enjoy Sally Gardner's historical novels anyway, but what a glorious portrayal of Regency England this book offered!

Imagine being able to predict the weather but not being believed or having a 'true' voice at a time when this would have been viewed as witchcraft. Neva and her alter-ego 'Eugene' have a fabulous tale to tell as they negotiate their place in society. Neva, orphaned early in the novel, is lucky to end up with a forward-thinking adopted father in Victor Friezland, who helps her curate a variety of personas in order to be the person she is destined to be.

This story has so many twists and turns it makes your head turn at times, but they are cleverly plotted and all tied up beautifully at the end.

You with gasp and cry your way through this novel. There are awful characters and love matches a-plenty. Think 'Bridgerton' with a little bit of magic and illusion.

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This is such a great book. The characters are all so charming and even the ‘baduns’ are rogues that are so well written you’ll love to hate them. I fell in love with this book right from the opening pages as the writing is just so warm and inviting. I loved the sense of history and time and place with this book, but the leading lady Neva’s uniqueness adds an additional charm to this historical story.

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This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand I loved that this was a wonderful blend of historical fiction and fantasy, and the writing was fantastic. Gardner brought the setting and characters to life.

It just felt as though it lost it's way a bit in the second half and the elements that I loved were being buried beneath the romance which I wasn't a huge fan of. Still, there was a lot to enjoy about this book and I can see it's appeal, particularly if you are more invested in the romance than I was.

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There's not a lot of Regency historical fiction. There's a lot of romance, there's Georgette Heyer and not much more as far as I know.
This was a mix of historical fiction with some magic realism elements. Neva is a fascinating character and the plot is riveting and entertaining.
An excellent read, Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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What a fantastic, beautiful book.
Historical fiction with a twist!
This book was engaging and kept me turning the pages with believable characters and a plot line that kept me hooked. More just like this please.
Thank you for this copy to read and review, loved it

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Frozen river, frost fair, brrr!
Atmospheric, I love the cold weather descriptions, cracking ice, thick fog, snow.
The Thames really did become solid with ice, what a sight that must have been.
Neva, circus child becomes orphaned and is adopted by Victor and his housekeeper Elise, she is an exceptional child, intelligent, quick to learn and can predict future weather. Victor and Neva invent a weather machine which is secretly controlled by Neva. Both Neva and Victor make enemies through jealousy and greed, one of the enemies is Aubrey, who is Victor's ex wife's son, he is mad and works with a Lord to extract revenge.
There is love interest for Neva, Cassie and Elise, none of these entanglements run smoothly.
An exciting and fast paced book.
Thank you NetGalley and Sally.

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Neva is born with an unusual ability - to predict the weather. At first she assumes everyone can do this, but as the frozen Thames ice starts to break under the frost fair of 1789, even little Neva can see that she's the only one to have foreseen the event. As she grows, she comes to understand how strange and unique her talent is. Using a mechanical figure made by her adoptive father, she disguises her abilities as being those of the automaton, the Weather Woman, and becomes a success in London's salons and soirees.
But Neva is frustrated that as a woman, she isn't taken seriously by the scientific experts of the day, and creates herself a male alias, Eugene Jonas, who can go where she can't. However, when Henri Denoue, an exiled French count, meets first Neva, then Eugene, he falls in love - perhaps with them both.

This is a lovely, fairly lightweight, but eminently readable, historical novel with a thread of fantasy or magic running through it. Neva's ability is never quite pinned down, but, as one of my daughters has a synaesthetic condition whereby she sees music as colours, that's rather how I understood Neva's visualising of clouds and colours. It doesn't quite matter to the plot which is one of thwarted romance, and adversaries who want to get hold of the Weather Woman for their own use.

As with Gardner's teen/YA books, there's a fantastic capturing of the period. Neva is very different to Austen's heroines, or the marriageable daughters of Bridgerton, not wanting to settle quietly into marriage and child-bearing, but to further her scientific curiosity, and her story explores the difficulties facing her.

Contrasting with the quiet domestic setting of Neva's adoptive family, are the grand houses of the 'bon ton', dingy lawyers' offices, seedy boarding houses, with characters to match - in fact a whole slice of Regency London from the high to the low.

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This book was a celebration of what it means to be different. It showed characters who didn't fit in with society but still find a life and a home in a beautiful unconventional family. It shows acceptance and found family and gives hope to anyone who sees the world differently.

I really liked the book for the most part. I liked the characters and the way they interacted with society. I liked Neva and her male persona. But the ended didn't hit quite right. I felt that so many things fell into place in the story, all the legal stuff just sort of righting itself by chance more than anything else and so I found it hard to believe that the characters were in any actual danger. Everything had worked out so far so why shouldn't they continue to work out? It just ruined a book that I was really enjoying up until that point.

I was glad to see there was a mention of someone living in a gender that they were not assigned at birth while Neva was learning how to act and behave as a guy. I felt that was a good head nod to the trans community. But I was disappointed that the only other LGBTQ+ representation was the villains in a very unhealthy relationship. Especially in a book that's so much about respecting what is different, I expected me.

I also felt that the author leaned too much into giving people a happy ending with a partner and children. It really felt as though the only happy ending was through marriage and kids.

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*The Weather Woman* by Sally Gardner falls into one of my favorite sub-genres: early modern creepy fantasy, alongside *The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock*, *The Familiars*, and *The Miniaturist*. I have a YouTube video about this sub-genre which you can watch on my channel. Now technically, this book starts in the *late* early modern period and continues into the *early* modern period, but I think it still counts.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMdbWLwGrwQ](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMdbWLwGrwQ)

*The Weather Woman* follows Neva, a young Russian girl suddenly orphaned in London who can predict the weather. She is taken in by a craftsman of clocks and automatons and together they seek their fortune by combining their respective talents in the Weather Woman, an automaton who predicts the weather, and present it to stunned audiences. Unfortunately for the entrepreneurial family, there are agents who wish them harm. When Neva falls for a man related to one of her ill-wishers, their situation only worsens.

*The Weather Woman* was strongest in its commitment to found family and fostering relationships based on mutual respect. There were several instances where the characters could have fallen into petty jealousy and backstabbing in the hands of a lazy writer, but lucky for us, Gardner is not a lazy writer. She gives her characters real conflict-resolution skills and reserves the truly petty behavior for her villains (who are complicated and not cartoonish).

> Poverty makes criminals of us; opportunity in the form of shoes is the only way to walk out of it.
>

Gardner’s villains are also complicated and layered. There are several instances where characters who seem like they have good intentions fall into villainy instead and characters who initially have villain vibes turn out to be thoughtful and, if not kind, then decent. The story is mostly character-driven, but there is just enough plot-based drama for it to feel thrilling and adventurous.

*The Weather Woman* is what I had hoped *The Ladies of the Secret Circus* had turned out to be. If you are a fan of Jessie Burton, Stacey Halls, Elizabeth MacNeal, and Caroline Lea, then you will probably enjoy this book.

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The premise of this book sounded really interesting to me. A woman who can predict the weather with amazing accuracy. But is it a blessing or a curse. It certainly seems that given the historical setting it is something that may work against the young lady in question.
Once I got into the book (which didn't take long) I was hooked on the story and found it difficult to put down.

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Thrilling and utterly compulsive! An incredible read, impossible to put down. Incredible storytelling! Recommend you read this book! A propulsive read that never let me go from start to finish!
Top-drawer romantic escapism!
The book was well written in that it stirred up all sorts of emotions while I was reading it and made me want to keep turning the pages to find out what would happen next.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

I really enjoyed this book. It's a little slow at first and you have to accept Neva's weather magic, but then the plot really comes alive. All the relationships between the characters were totally believable and I completely understood Neva's frustration at not being able to be herself because of societal norms. A great book for those who like a bit of magical realism with their historical fiction.

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Neva is rescued by her adoptive father, Victor, as a tiny girl after her parents are killed. The clockmaker dotes on his little girl, who appears to have a striking talent: she can predict the weather (and 'sing the rain') in a way that defies logic, religion and science. As she becomes more determined to use her skill to help those for whom the weather poses a risk, Victor realises that Regency society will never accept the words of a young girl, no matter how accurate she is. So he designs an automaton, the Weather Woman, to deliver her forecasts. Soon, Victor and Neva are the toast of London high society- but Neva wants something more, even if she is unsure how she will ever get it. With a supporting cast of amazing characters, we move with her as she grows into her abilities and navigates her way through a sexist society and maneouvres her way through the maze of the Georgian class system.

This is such a delightful novel that I would never have picked up had I not been offered a review copy. There's everything- a couple of dastardly villains, a few gorgeous love stories, and a death involving live herring. There's a dash of magical realism mixed in with one of the best senses of places I've ever read. This is a perfect novel for reading on a rainy day.

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Neva has always known she is different, she can sing the weather. After her parents' death Neva is adopted by Mr Friezeland and as she grows up they create 'The Weather Woman' to harness Neva's talents. However in order to succeed Neva has to adopt a male disguise. Henri Denoue is the son of guillotined parents, he may be a Comte but he has no money. When Neva and Henri meet so begins the strangest of love stories.
This is a lovely piece of historical fiction, not too taxing but gentle and enjoyable. the setting is great, post-French Revolution but with the threat of Napoleon looming and Regency London is well-imagined. OK, the reader does have to suspend belief a lot but that is the point, it is light escapist reading and no bad thing at that.

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A truly epic and complex tale weaving many strands together to a make a fascinating and absorbing read.

Neva has the gift of reading the weather, but it sadly doesn't save her parents being killed in a tragic accident. This fateful event changes everything and when Victor Friezland adopts her she is for the first time, loved and celebrated for who she is. But it's the nineteenth century and so, the rest of the world must remain in the dark about her gift.

Neva falls in love with Henri, but a misunderstanding separates them for many years and in that time, a lot changes. With much at stake, Neva must do all she can to show the world she is Victor's rightful heir and protect those she loves.

A strong supporting cast makes this a really atmospheric and dramatic story with intrigue, romance, passion and above all, love. Of one self and others is really what matters more than anything..

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So so good! I loved this story (though have to start by saying the title isn't particularly inspiring).

Neva is the Weather Woman of the title, she has been able to predict the weather very exactly since she can remember. Although she wants to be able to use this hidden talent to help others, sailors, fishermen etc. she can see she could be seen as a danger in the views of early 18th century society.

This book is packed with fascinating and lovable characters: Neva's adopted father Victor, a clockmaker who fashions the Weather Woman, an automaton able to reveal Neva's predictions; Neva's 'aunt' Elise, Victor's love - a woman of intense comfort, but fierce and independent; Henri, fascinated by Neva and a potential love interest; and Eugene Jonas, Neva's alter ego and a character in his own right.

This is a book about women, boundaries, love, creating your own family, all set amid the fascinating elements of the society of the time.

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Having previously read I, Coriander and The Red Necklace, I knew that I would be in for a gripping treat with a novel by Sally Gardner and this didn’t disappoint.

Neva is a very modern heroine, despite the historical setting of the novel. She is very much her own person, gender fluid in a way that reminded me a little of Woolf’s Orlando. The child of feckless parents, Neva is taken in by a fellow countryman, growing up in an unusual but loving environment, where her ability to hear and see the weather is recognised.

There is much that is charming and enjoyable in this novel, with some beautifully etched characters and a great deal of heart. I can happily forgive Gardner’s determination to give all of her characters an ending but did feel that the 3rd quarter dragged a little. Definitely an enjoyable read and I can think of lots of friends to recommend it to.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Apollo Fiction, for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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This book has automatically become one of my top reads of the year, I already want to re-read it ❤️

I loved reading about the frost fair on the Thames, the timeline in the novel has always been ‘my era’ and through the author’s descriptions I could hear and see the ice cracking and the panic around.

Neva is one of the most interesting characters I have met, from her ‘skills’ to the way she had to deal with the social restraints at the time.

I would highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction with a touch of fantasy, I am looking forward to reading more by the author.

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