Chrisanne K. (Cape Coral, Florida)
I can't get no ..Satisfaction
I love great narratives and characters that ignite passion and a plot that is dappled with factual fiction and this book has all that...however, it comes up short. I do think that it was delivered hastily and could have...should have... delved deeper into its own story...Instead of leaving me wanting more it has left me wanting to know more and knowing that it can't happen...kinda like waking in the middle of a great dream.
Karen E. (Salt Lake City, UT)
Unique and Enjoyable Characters
There were things I enjoyed about this book. The flavor of the writing and the uniqueness of the characters were very enjoyable. But it didn't quite live up to expectations as the story progressed. There seemed to be holes in the plot. One minor aspect that bothered me was that there was never a date given. I guess some things are assumed, but I like to know in what time period a story is set, especially when it covers several decades. I think this writer will grow - I would read another book from her to see if that has happened.
Christine H. (Canton, OH)
Sweeping Up Glass
I found this book to be a very easy read, easy to follow, and well written. The author kept my attention making me feel very much part of the story with her description of the area of Kentucky where the story took place. The suspense at the end in particular made me not want to put the book down.
This book would be an especially good book for summer reading, on vacations or just to pass a rainy weekend. The story would be appealing to the young adult/older teen however, the sexual descriptions in the last chapter may be objectionable to some.
Theresa R. (Sierra Madre, CA)
There aren't too many books that can grab my attention right away, but this was one of them. The writing style was great - the author's character portrayals and her descriptive prose made this a very easy read and kept me wanting more. I think this would be a great book club read as it would garner a lively discussion!
Gwendolyn D. (Houston, TX)
A compelling protagonist but a flawed plot
In the backwoods of Kentucky, Olivia Harker Cross struggles to raise her grandson while living with her cantankerous mother and maintaining the family grocery business. Everythings fine in this unconventional family until poachers start killing the Alaskan silver wolves brought to Kentucky by Olivias grandfather. As Olivia investigates the poachers, she uncovers decades-old secrets and must protect her family from the resulting dangers.
The story unfolds from the first-person point of view as Olivia narrates current events and mixes in memories from her childhood. Olivias unique voice is the center of gravity for this novel; its a constant and compelling force:
"All in all, I have a crazy ma'am who owns a hundred dusty Bibles, a leggy boy with a too-soft heart, and no man to bed down with. And an Alaskan silver dying on my kitchen floor."
As engaging as it is, Olivias voice cannot compensate for this novels awkward plotting. The action in the final third of the book feels contrived, loaded with convenient coincidences and overly dramatic scenes. This final section, which reads like a thriller, is out of character with the pacing and style of the first two-thirds of the book. As I mentioned in a prior post, Sweeping Up Glass has the best first chapter Ive read recently. Although the rest of the book didnt live up to the initial promise of the first chapter, Sweeping Up Glass is an enjoyable and worthwhile read, particularly for those who like reading mysteries.
Janice M. (Holland, MI)
Sweeping up Glass
This is one of my favorite reads so far this year. The story and characters are memorable making the book hard to put down. It takes place in Kentucky when segregation was accepted. There are many threads that get connected in the end - a mother who was committed to an asylum only to return home and wreak havoc, lynching, young love lost, prostitution, living a hard scrabble life and poaching, just to name a few story lines. I will be recommending this book to my reading groups and can't wait to read it again.
Wendy R. (California)
Carolyn Walls novel begins in the future and quickly steps back into the past where the reader learns about Olivias childhood, setting the stage for the events to come. What begins as a quiet novel picks up intensity in the second half, particularly in the final 100 pages or so, as everything comes to a head. It almost seemed like two different novels in a way: the first half being more of a life story and the second being the suspense-filled mystery. And while I could fault another novel for this, I actually thought it worked quite well. The transition happened gradually and the story threads were interwoven from beginning to end.
The novel is set in the late 1930s, at least in terms of the current story thread. The time period plays an especially important role in the novel. Life was hard all over the United States at that time and in the decades preceding it, people struggling to make ends meet. In Pope County Kentucky, where the novel is set, it was no different. Carolyn Wall captures the desperation of the times as well as the adaptability of the people. People bartered with food and services when they could not pay. Segregation was commonplace and racism ran rampant.
Told in the voice of Olivia, the narrative is uncomplicated, her wry humor coming out now and then. The pages are filled with characters well worth getting to know, and Olivias story is one that will surely touch the readers heart. The secrets uncovered are chilling and the resolution is satisfying. The novel is as complex as Olivia Harker. Sweeping Up Glass is a love story, a mystery, and historical novel that touches on social issues that still reverberate today.