Reader reviews and comments on Sweeping Up Glass, plus links to write your own review.

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Sweeping Up Glass

by Carolyn Wall

Sweeping Up Glass
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2008, 278 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2009, 336 pages

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There are currently 40 reader reviews for Sweeping Up Glass
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Susan (08/10/09)

Sweeping Up Glass
When Poisoned Pen published this last year I looked forward to an interesting, offbeat mystery. So I was surprised that this is not a mystery in the conventional sense at all. Sure, there are (very) bad guys and good guys, but no actual detectives, amateur or otherwise. We don't know until late in the book not just who done it, but what they did. Perhaps that's why Poisoned Press sold the book to Delta.

Still, this is a wonderful story. It's got interesting characters that are easy to care about, and the plot is about things that matter. This is a tasty and nourishing meat-and-potatoes book, not just a fluffy confection.
Patricia (08/10/09)

Haunting and compelling
Starting literally with breaking glass, Carolyn Wall, continues the metaphor throughout her haunting and compelling novel, Sweeping up Glass. Olivia Cross is figuratively sweeping up the glass of her confusing past and struggling present as the novel builds to a shattering climax. This story of tragedies, many types of love, and final triumph is one of the best I have read in a long time. Haunted by the wolves' howl, I was sorry to see it end, and I intend to recommend it for my book club after it comes out in August.
Gwendolyn (08/10/09)

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. Everything’s fine in this unconventional family until poachers start killing the Alaskan silver wolves brought to Kentucky by Olivia’s 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. Olivia’s unique voice is the center of gravity for this novel; it’s 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, Olivia’s voice cannot compensate for this novel’s 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 I’ve read recently. Although the rest of the book didn’t 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.
Iris (08/10/09)

Sweeping Up Glass
Carolyn Wall can be compared to an artist only her medium is words. With very few words she has the ability of painting vibrant pictures that set the stage for a beautiful, multi-layered novel that is not only well written, but easy to follow. The characters are well developed and the plot is compelling and moves along flawlessly. From cover to cover, this was a difficult book to put down. Not only do I highly recommend this book, I look forward to future works by this author. I would rate this book a 5 plus.
Beth (08/10/09)

Sweeping Up Glass
It has a powerfully, sometimes uncomfortably, realized setting; characters who seem drawn from life; and a wide-ranging plot, bursting with complications. The title captures the book’s theme: a heroine forced to clean up the shards of her own and other people’s messes. I thoroughly enjoyed this read!!
Gigi (08/10/09)

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.
Kathleen (08/10/09)

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.
Ann (08/10/09)

Sweeping Up Glass
The voice of Olivia Harker Cross draws the reader in the struggles of the depression as well as the horrors of prejudice and segregation. The plot line is certainly broad and wide in scope as life is. I felt that the conclusion was somewhat forced and rushed. Even so, the book is an excellent read and provides a plethora of themes for thought and discussion. I would heartily recommend it to others adults as well as teens.
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