The Icy Barber

 by Glennis Leith

An unusual, short book set in the Shetlands in 1844-46. The author successfully creates a mid-19th century atmosphere through lovely use of language and structure. She has clearly undertaken a significant amount of research. The story is quite simple. It revolves around Inga and her husband, a whaler, who disappears with a whaling vessel, Falcon. These two key characters have the rest of the village with which to contend. Not everyone is sympathetic.
The author follows Inga and her fortunes, good and bad. In the basic, subsistence economy of the Shetlands of this time harsh weather of the winter months can exert a powerful influence on the characters and plot. When Inga is accused of witch-craft it is gloves off. There is an underlying tension maintained throughout the book that makes a simple story an engrossing yarn. Worth reading!
My only criticism is the name of the book. It is explained, but is a bit obscure. A small gripe.