Sweeping up glass can be hazardous and difficult
A community gripped by fear exhibits inappropriate and unhealthy behaviors. An unspeakable secret is at the core. One brave girl and admiration for her father unravel the secret and change the course. A fast read that tempts you to read it in one sitting would appeal to anyone between sixteen and one-hundred sixteen.
Rated of 5
by Kathy (Brookfield, CT)
"Sweeping Up Glass" is one of the best debut novels I have read recently. The author does a wonderful job of drawing one into the lives of the characters. Definitely recommend for book clubs.
Rated of 5
by 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.
Rated of 5
by 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.
Rated of 5
by Beverly (Huntersville NC)
More Than A Mystery
In the first chapter the "body" is that of wolves that Olivia and her grandson Will'm feel responsible for. The "mystery" is who is killing the wolves and why? But to me this book was much more than the mystery but about the lives of Olivia and others in the town of Aurora in the late 1930's in Kentucky. As you start reading you are drawn in the story and before you know it you are hooked on Olivia and her life - why she and her mother Ida are at odds with each other, why is a father buried by the outhouse, and other questions. You feel the pain of living in Kentucky during the depression and the life struggles, the class and race differences.
I did think the story was a little "rushed" at the end as it works towards the conclusion and some of the "secrets" that were withheld from Olivia did not quite seem believable to me, especially those around the race relations.
I think this book was much more than a "mystery" and was more of a historical or womanist novel with a mystery element.
And oh - what a wonderful book club selection this would be to discuss all of the mystery and relationship elements in this story.
Rated of 5
by Elinor (Roswell NM)
Kentucky Mountain Immersion Sweeping Up Glass is just a mite slow starting, which I attribute to the introduction of, and meeting, the myriad characters; however, the story soon picks up speed and never slows down. The author's descriptive writing thoroughly immersed me in the Kentucky mountain civilization of the early 1900s and the strong protagonist earned my utmost respect. I cannot help but wonder how much of that life still exists today.
This would be an ideal book club choice, sparking much discussion.
Rated of 5
by Ray (Selden NY)
Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn D. Wall
Carolyn D. Wall has put together a novel that has every appearance of Southern Gothic but ends up crossing genres into mystery, thriller as well as Gothic romance. The central character, Olivia, is well-drawn out and is forced to deal with unpredictable relationships in addition to unearthing mysteries and secrets that overwhelm her.
The story was definitely not predictable and I feel Wall has a voice that will appeal to a wide audience. I hope she gets that chance!
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