Rated of 5
by Wendy Highly Recommended
Carolyn Wall’s novel begins in the future and quickly steps back into the past where the reader learns about Olivia’s 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 1930’s, 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 Olivia’s story is one that will surely touch the reader’s 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 Trezeline Sweeping Up Glass
What a wonderful mystery. I could not turn the pages fast enough. In a small town in Kentucky, Olivia Harkins lives with her grandson. Everyone assumes she knows something that she really does not know. A mother who doesn't understand her and a father that has died, make her life difficult to say the least. Racial prejudice adds to the story. Olivia runs her store and sews quilts. But there is much more going on.
You will really enjoy this book. To say more will destroy the mystery. Besides being a mystery, it is a study of US history and family relations. It is a very good book.
Rated of 5
by Priscilla It began so well!
I enjoyed reading this book and meeting the rural Kentuckians. The novel was going along so well and then it wasn't. The story took off in too many directions, plots and sub-plots, and never came together. I reread the book and still found much of it implausible. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but this is fiction! An implausible ending tacked on to a story of poverty, racism, hardship.
That said, you would not be wasting your time if you read this book. Nuggets of simple truths and wisdom are there. The gritty character of Olivia is memorable.
Rated of 5
by Sheryl Complex characters, compelling story
This compelling book is full of complex characters whose lives all touch and dramatically change one another as the story unfolds. Although a little slow to get started, the development of the characters require this leisurely pace and add to the drama of the story. Full of interlocking themes of love for humans, animals, and the land, and hate in all its guises and complexities, it offers a very multi-faceted look at the human condition, its challenges and joys, and the ultimate battle between good and evil. While the themes aren't new, the story is compelling, surprising, and enjoyable.
Rated of 5
by Sandra Sweeping Up Glass
Carolyn Wall has a lot of talent. She is very good with words but needs to hone her story telling skills. She rambled through most of the novel then bombarded the reader with huge happenings at the end.
I found the generational repetition of the detached mother syndrome very interesting and think she could have developed a good novel based on that. She tried to tell too many stories at once.
Rated of 5
by Marie Sweeping Up Glass
Carolyn Wall's novel would present itself well at a women's group book club. The discussion could be spirited in exploring the following aspects presented in the novel: love, hate; honesty, deception; good, evil; sanity, insanity; courage, cowardice; benevolence, animosity; murder, mystery, and prejudice. All of this in 319 pages--an ambitious undertaking, indeed.
There are characters to be admired as well as those to be abhorred but nevertheless unforgettable since they could well exist anywhere. The dysfunctional relationship between Olivia and her mother Ida, between Olivia and daughter Pauline are sad and remain unresolved.Then there are characters to be protected--the wolves and their offspring, Will'm, Olivia's grandson, the "coloreds" and Olivia's father Tate.
In the novel, Wall hints at "the mystery"and gives subtle clues; however, by the time the mystery is solved for us, the novel ends--almost too quickly.
Overall, an interesting read with characters to analyze, incidents to marvel at, and hard times to ponder. I recommend this debut novel.
News Corp will officially split into two companies June 28(May 24 2013) As expected, News Corp has announced it will officially split its publishing and entertainment businesses on 28 June.
Its board approved the...