Advance reader reviews of Sweeping Up Glass

Sweeping Up Glass

by Carolyn D. Wall

Sweeping Up Glass
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Aug 2009
    286 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

Page 1 of 8
There are currently 53 member reviews
for Sweeping Up Glass
Order Reviews 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.
  • Wendy R. (California)

    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.
  • Kathy (Brookfield, CT)

    Very Enjoyable
    "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.
  • Gigi K. (Lufkin,, TX.)

    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.
  • Ken Favell (Mukwonago, Wisconsin)

    Sweeping Up Glass is a winner!
    Christine Wall's Sweeping Up Glass has to be one of the finest novels that I've read this year. This is a story filled with heart, most of it generated by its wonderful narrator Olivia Harker Cross, an honest hard-working Kentuckian. Olivia's grit and determination reminded me of another Kentuckian Gertie Nevells, Harriette Arnow's main character in The Dollmaker.

    From its opening pages I knew that Sweeping Up Glass was going to be a special story. The reader finds Olivia distraught at the heartless killings of wolves on her land. The carcasses are left with one ear cut off. Olivia's determination to find the guilty party amidst the continuing sacrifices she makes for her family set up what is to follow.

    I think the novel's most memorable relationship is the one between Olivia and her young grandson Will'm. She's raised Will'm like a son ever since her daughter abandoned him for better things in Hollywood. Olivia's love for Will'm knows no bounds. Thanks to Olivia's vigilance we see him growing into a kind, sensitive, compassionate young man.

    Sweeping Up Glass is an absorbing story of grief, hardship. love and hate with characters that ring out with the resonance of truth. I loved it! A perfect selection for reading groups.
  • Sharon W. (Two Rivers, WI)

    Sweeping Up Glass
    When I first started reading the book, I wasn't sure that I would like it. After I got into it a little more, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt like I was living there with them. Everyone involved had a very hard life. It almost read like a memoir instead of a novel. It was a hard book to put down, once I really got involved in it.
  • Erica L. (Plaistow, New Hampshire)

    Extraordinary Debut
    Carolyn Wall does a fabulous job with her debut novel, Sweeping Up Glass. I could not put this book down and couldn't wait to get out of work to read more. The characters were so clearly described that I wish we could have learned some of their stories as well. This book could have been far longer because there are so many side stories that remain a mystery. Carolyn could write an entire new novel from Ida's prospective, there are so many questions to answer about her past. It would be a great book for book groups because there are so many different angles and points of view to discuss.

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.