Cover Image: The Weather Woman

The Weather Woman

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Member Reviews

"To see things differently is a gift, Neva. It makes you unique."

I’m delighted to be opening the tour of The Weather Woman, the story of an extraordinary young woman trying to find her place in a world that has none for those who don’t fit the mould.

Set in the early 1800s, it centres around a young woman named Neva with an unusual gift. She can predict the weather. But this is Regency England, a place where women are to be seen and not heard. There is no place for an intelligent and educated woman with a unique talent in the male-dominated world of science. So she adopts a male persona and disguise in order to debate with them, and her father creates an automatron called the Weather Woman as the public face for Neva to make her predictions. But while she is happy to be making predictions and enjoys the freedom her disguises bring, it leaves her feeling even more of an outsider and fearing she will never find her place in the world.

“I don't fit the square, I'm too irregular; I'm too angular for the curves. This age is not made for me.”

The story inside these pages is as lush as its gorgeous cover. Sally Gardner is a skilled storyteller, painting pictures with words as she weaves magical realism into historical fiction and mixes in an irresistible love story. The result is an atmospheric and beautifully descriptive tale that has an almost fairytale quality. The characters are richly drawn and compelling, with Neva being particularly memorable, and there are multiple threads that cleverly tangle together in some unexpected ways. I was captivated from the start, though there was a point I felt the story lost a little momentum and my mind started to wander, but it soon picked up and I lost myself in its pages once again.

Enchanting, original, and filled with wonder, I’d recommend this book, especially if you enjoy stories with a magical twist.

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The Weather Woman is a beautifully crafted story. Full of intriguing characters, a little suspense and more than a little mystery, the story flows through Neva’s life. A story about love and acceptance, it was totally understandable that Neva was frustrated at being a woman in this man’s world.
I loved Neva from the very beginning - strong, independent and clever- her mysterious gift is one that fascinates. From the very beginning of her story to the end, magic and mystery surround her and I found many of the aspects of her life very emotional. A beautiful story and one that deserves all of the recommendations. Definitely one of my top read of the year.

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It started well enough, intriguing: a Russian circus family, a Russian clockmaker, a little girl with unusual powers. Almost like the start of a fairy-tale. But soon enough the story descended into yet another novel about women being victims, having to masquerade as male to gain access to science clubs and whatnot. Packing all sort of modern concerns like neurodivergent individuals, LGBT+ characters, human influence on the weather/climate, love stories pushing societal boundaries, with absolutely everything being nicely sorted by the end of it.

I guess this is going to be a success and loved by many, while I am going to be the minority that felt bored and unchallenged by this novel ...

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An enjoyable enough read, this tells the story of Neva an orphaned Russian girl in London in the early 1800s.

Neva has an unnerving gift, her ability to accurately predict the weather. In a time when so much relief on the weather (transport etc) Neva’s talent was extraordinarily useful. She works with her guardian to create an automaton that they hope will change their lives.

I found the pace a bit up and down but did enjoy the atmosphere that Sally Gardner created.

Thanks to Head of Zeus, NetGalley and sally Gardner for the Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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tldr: if you like natasha pulley, this is for you. if you don't like natasha pulley, then it is not.

the weather woman is a historical fiction novel set in early 1800s London with a magical realism spin on it, a la watchmaker of filigree street. it has some pretty atmospheric writing, and i liked the crossdressing element, i wish it could have been explored more.

I did not enjoy the two occurences of insta-love, and the way plotlines were introduced and quickly dismissed without any real ripercussions for the greater narrative. The novel could have benefitted from fewer characters to avoid confusion (some could have been merged since they serve the same purpose in the story).

thank you netgalley for my first arc!

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An atmospheric and unique historical fiction with a touch of magic.
Set in Georgian/Regency England between the frost fairs of 1789 and 1814, we follow Neva who discovers at a young age that she can sing the weather and that this ability makes her 'other'. As she matures, Neva must determine a place for herself.

Neva's adopted father says to her when she is young:

"To see things differently is a gift, Neva. It makes you unique."

But in Regency England, many people would just see Neva as odd, and people fear and reject that which they cannot understand. Neva is "fabulously original" in so many ways, but will that be accepted?

There is also an Anne Lister feel to the story. Neva finds that, as a man, she can express scientific and meteorological ideas without fear of derision. But this deception beings further challenges and misunderstandings.

"An outsider, both as a woman and as a man. The bit of me that fits in nowhere."

The descriptions of the automatons were fabulous. Automatons may be considered quaint and a little silly in view of modern robotics, but at the time they were the height of sophisticated mechanics and held audiences mesmerised.

A beautifully descriptive novels in all aspects. The feel of the era definitely comes to life in the fashions, the architecture, the drawings rooms of the rich and the gambling dens and brothels of the underbelly of London.
But most gorgeously rendered of all are the passages relating to the weather. The weather becomes its own character.

Neva is totally captivating and her story was entrancing from beginning to end.

Thank you to Net Galley and Head of Zeus for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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A gorgeous read set in Regency era England, about a young woman who has a strange gift for predicting the weather. An absolutely beautiful, captivating story with unforgettable characters.

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This is so a beautifully written story about the hardship of being an extraordinary woman in the men's era. In old times two things determined your place in this world: your gender and the wealth of the family in which you were born. The best place to be was a son of a wealthy family of power. Worst - being an intelligent woman in any family. Why? You´d have to read the book.
This is a story about a highly intelligent woman, who doesn't fit into her era. Seems like all of her life will be a struggle. Fortunately, she finds happiness and love. That's all I can tell about the plot without giving away too many details.
My only problem with this book is that some things are being perceived from our modern, XXI-century point of view. For example, there are a few passages regarding air pollution and that it's quite possible that this has an impact on the weather. Well... the book ends in 1812 and I´m sure nobody was thinking this way back then. So I would suggest better proofreading before publishing because these things are important.
And yet I really enjoyed this book. Even though there was too much romance to my liking I still liked it.

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This is a strange little book, I'm still not quite sure what to make of it but I did enjoy it. The character of Neva in particular was what kept me hooked. Quite a different take on a regency romance as well. It has a balance between a magical quality really grounded in reality.

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Well written historical fiction. Set in London and based around a woman who can predict the weather. Good story, great characters, although the second half of the book felt drawn out. Thanks NetGalley for the ARC

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Sally Gardner is very well known for her children’s and young adults’ fiction and ‘The Weather Woman’ feels very much like the latter although it is marketed as an adult novel. Granted, the use of profanities and the sex scenes are not typical of the YA read – I suppose it just depends on how liberal a library’s reading policy is as to whether or not many teens will read this.
They should! Gardner has created a very likeable heroine in Neva Friezland. Not only can she predict the weather but she also knows herself well and understands that the Regency world into which she has been born will not allow her to flourish unless she takes matters into her own hands.
Her adopted parents recognise her singularity of mind and allow her to assume a male persona as she ventures into society so that she may debate with men and play chess. As her friend, Henri Dênou, recognises, ‘The world is lopsided … we put value on things that have no value at all: sex, colour, beauty – all transient, and in these we imprison women and enslave men.’ Gardner has taken the current discussion of gender identity and made it a very natural part of her narrative.
There is much to enjoy in this historical novel, not least the descriptions of Thames life and the fantastical performances that the Weather Woman gives to high society. Half way through the novel, the focus is on Neva’s inheritance and the plot becomes more thriller-like in tone as Neva and her friends work out how to thwart those keen to snatch what is rightfully hers. However, the final section of the book feels unnecessarily drawn out and the whimsical ‘river voice’ which concludes the novel did not work for me.
My thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus, Apollo for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

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This was a great read. Excellent plotting and beleivable characterisation even though the story is pretty unbelievable. I found this unputdownable, it had a superb sense of time and place . It really was a very enjoyable read.

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Absolutely beautiful, brilliant and engrossing, Sally Gardner proves she is an extraordinary storyteller with this twist on regency fantasy. With sharp and vivid characters and enchanting scenes The Weather Woman has quickly become one of my books of the year.

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The Weather Woman was a pleasurable historical fiction read. Neva was an engaging character from start to finish and the plot was original and interesting. The pacing started slow, but then settled. To me, the end seemed a little rushed in comparison, but it was a satisfying conclusion nonetheless. The world building and period setting came across well. There were only a couple of times when a line of dialogue niggled at me a bit, where the word existed in that era but perhaps not in that particular usage/phrasing. But it was only once or twice and it is a very minor complaint. In all other respects, this was an enjoyable read that it sure to please fans of historical fiction with a slight magical twist. It gets four stars from me.

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Set aside your preconceptions and walk the clouds with Neva, the mesmerising heroine of The Weather Woman. Set in Regency London at the very end of the 18th century, this novel has it all - magic, mystery, romance, gambling dens , the aristocracy and the poorest in society, all astonished by the ability of the Weather Woman to accurately predict the weather. This book is so well written and the characters well-developed. Sally Gardner has produced a wonderful novel.

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Firstly a huge thank you to Netgalley and head of Zeus for the chance to read this.

I loved loved loved everything about this book, the characters, the secrets, the history.
Already preordered my a copy.

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4.5 stars - Thanks NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

Delightfully odd! This book broke my heart over and over in the most beautiful way.

Set in early 1800s London, Neva is a young Russian girl who can accurately predict the weather. Orphaned at a young age and taken in by a clockmaker, he helps her reach her full potential by disguising her as a boy and making her his apprentice. Together they create “The Weather Woman” - an automaton to utilise Neva’s ability without endangering her identity. Full of angst, secrets, grief, and happy reunions; this book is simply breathtaking.

This book discusses topics of gender equality and gender identity in a really lovely way. Neva “becomes” a man during her transformation into Eugene (an act that is aided by trans side character Mr. James) and Henri accepts that Eugene is a part of her as much as Neva is. Neva as a woman rejects the idea that she has to fill a particular role and often questions why Victor feels The Weather Woman is necessary when her predictions should be helping people rather than entertaining the wealthy elite.

I highlighted so many passages; there’s lots of beautiful descriptions of feelings as weather or talking about the nature of life and love. It sweeps you away visually and really makes you think. It did take me a bit to get into but once she grew up I was hooked and couldn’t put it down!

Definitely read if you like historical fantasy with a side of romance!

*There is on-page sex but I wouldn’t call this book spicy at all.

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I absolutely loved the opening chapters of this novel -starting in 1789 when a great cold settles over London and a frost fair is set up on the River Thames. The descriptions of the city, the river, the fair and the characters are wonderful and tale of Neva and her irresponsible parents who run a stall using an trick bear to win chess matches really draws the reader in.
The story goes on, Neva is adopted by Victor Friezland and her extraordinary ability to read the weather develops. Victor won't allow Neva to express this skill, instead he builds her a weather woman machine so that she can continue to foretell the future. Neva also uses a male disguise to move about a society which does not recognise the position of women and certainly does not recognise their place as equal to men as scientists. All is well until Neva, whilst in disguise, falls in love with a young man.
The cast of characters in this book cross the social boundaries from lords to gamblers and business men to landlords. All are beautifully described and noticeably different to each other. As a reader I was completely immersed in the period.
The story comes full circle at the end with another frost fair on the Thames that threatens to take some of the major players from us. Gardener's descriptions of the ice cracking, the booming and the explosions as it crashes against the bridge supports, and the panic of those watching place the reader in the middle of the scene.
A very enjoyable read and great sense of time and place. Huge thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for an arc copy in return for an honest review.

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Everything about this book was good, the writing, the storyline, the character development, the setting, There literally wasn't anything I didn't like and I thought the book was full of such descriptive language and imagery. I loved it.

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Taking place in London during the early 1800s, we are introduced to a very special little girl, Neva. She has a gift, one that cannot be truly explained with any logic or science.

This small child can predict the weather.

But how?

The weather is seemingly unpredictable, changeable, it has no master to tell it what to do.

However, as unlikely as it seems, Neva really does have the ability to truly understand these forces of nature.

Remarkable, but in an age where women are meant to simply marry and look after their husband, home and children, this unique child is forced to hide her talent.

Not wanting to waste such expertise, her father comes up with ways that she can still use her genius whilst essentially remaining anonymous.

I was captivated from start to finish.

Sally herself has a true talent, writing, the words within this book are quite honestly hypnotising.

The perfect word to outline this novel is inventive.

When Neva described how she saw the weather, she described it as 'walking on clouds' and I could really picture it in my mind. The colours mentioned were quite vivid to me.

There is the bonus of a budding romance within the pages which I was definitely happy about, if you read my blog regularly, then you know how much I adore a love story.

Gardner managed to weave it into the story gently, it didn't take away from the main subject that was the visions of the upcoming forecasts.

The Weather Woman is the tale of a young woman who I guess was born in the wrong time because in this day an age a talent as strong as that would be celebrated and utilised by everyone regardless of their gender.

A charming story that in the end warms the heart.

Beautiful historical fiction.

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