Book Review: The Glass Woman by Alice McIIroy

theglasswomanI’m pleased to welcome Alice McIlroy to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Glass Woman. 

When you wake up without your memories, who can you really trust?

Pioneering scientist Iris Henderson chose to be her own first test-subject for an experimental therapy, placing a piece of technology into her brain. At least, this is what everyone tells her. Trouble is, Iris is now without her memories so she doesn’t know what the therapy is or why she would ever decide to volunteer for it.

Everyone warns her to leave it alone, but Iris doesn’t know who to trust. As she scratches beneath the surface of her seemingly happy marriage and successful career, a catastrophic chain of events is set in motion. Secrets will be revealed that have the capacity to destroy her whole life, but Iris can’t stop digging.


Iris wakes up in a hospital bed with no idea how she got there. Her memories are gone.

A man named Marcus claims to be her husband. She’s been told that she’s part of a pioneering therapy that inserts a piece of technology into her brain. When she can’t remember anything, who can she trust and who would do this to her?

Wow. That’s the first thing I want to say. It’s going to be hard to talk about this novel without spoilers. I will do my best but proceed with caution.

This novel pulls you in from the first page and grips you and before you know it, it’s hours later and you still want to keep going to find out what happens. I read this in pretty much one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down.

theglasswomanThe premise for this novel terrifies me. Poor mental health can feel like a prison but the idea of something in my brain regulating what I remember sounds just as claustrophobic. I could really see this book playing out like a Black Mirror episode. It felt like a mixture of that, Before I Go To Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It does raise an interesting question – would you go through this procedure in exchange for forgetting horrible memories?

This book does tackle some serious themes. I won’t go into them (major spoilers) but it’s done in an interesting way that makes you think.

Iris is an enigma. Her sense of fear and anxiety jumps off the page. Marcus is also a mystery but I was unsure whether I could trust him. Pluto scares the hell out of me and that really made me question our reliance on technology. Im not sure I’d want to wake up in hospital with that beside me.

Alice McIlroy does a great job of building suspense and tension. Discord is spread through the novel with so many twists and turns.

The Glass Woman is a story of mystery, betrayal and tragedy. This is one brilliant debut novel and I can’t wait to see what Alice McIlroy does next.

Thank you to Alice’s publishers for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 



About Alice McIIroy: 

Alice McIlroy’s writing has been longlisted for the Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction and Grindstone International Novel Prize.

Her debut novel, The Glass Woman,  was published on 2nd January 2024 by Datura/Angry Robot Books.

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Click here to buy The Glass Woman on Waterstones and Amazon UK


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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