Set in Natal in the nineteenth century among the settlers and the homesteaders and the sugar-cane farmers, Claire Robertson’s masterful new novel Under Glass tells the story of Mrs Chetwyn, who arrives in Port Natal from India in 1856. She is with her eldest daughter and her ayah, and has been travelling for eleven months to join her husband, already deep in the hinterland.
Her father-in-law has staked them their passage, a sum for settlement and an arrangement for the purchase of land, but there are conditions to his generosity that will have a lasting effect on the Chetwyns, specially on their fifth child, Cosmo, born years later.
It is on the Chetwyns’ sugar-cane farm that the reader begins to understand that there is something strange about Cosmo, something that must be kept secret or hidden.
At once a deeply researched historical novel and an intriguing mystery, Under Glass is a high-stakes narrative of deception and disguise that will appeal to a range of readers of literary fiction by one of the country’s finest novelists.