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
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Aug 2008, 278 pages
    Aug 2009, 336 pages

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

Sweeping Up Glass
A well written look at life and poverty in the south. the beauty of place and thankfulness for small things make the writing lovely. The story, especially the first part, of how everyday life unfolds for these people and their neighbors and with the pleasure found if ordinary small daily occurrences.

A shift occurs when the mystery unfurls, and the book becomes littered with implausible coincidences that try a realistic reader. One wishes the story could have been told without the mystery, or the mystery written in more believable terms.

Not overwritten, with good character development as well as a descriptive quality of landscape make it a good read.
Gina (08/10/09)

The Gifts of War
I really enjoyed this story! The characters are strongly drawn, and the pacing was satisfying. My only critique? This good story could have been made great with more editing. Choppy transitions interfered with the overall flow. Nevertheless, there really is something compelling about Olivia and her community.
Mary Ellen (08/10/09)

Sweeping Up Glass
This is a powerful story of a woman caught between history and her own difficult family relationships. Olivia Harker Cross is raised on a mountain in Kentucky, an existence that challenges her resourcefulness. A bittersweet first love, coupled with the dysfunction of her mentally ill mother, her estranged daughter and the grandson she cherishes pulls her in many directions. Underlying her life are the mysterious dealings of her father and a group of local men whose racism is brought to light in a startling revelation. A meaningful and explosive story that holds the reader's interest to the last page.
Caryl (08/10/09)

Sweeping up glass
This is a powerful book containing many facets. The book speaks of devotion, love and hatred, of secrets, bigotry and mystery. Sounds like a lot, but the author with great facility delivers all of this with sensitivity and insight uncommon to a debut novel. I found myself drawn in more and more as I read and wanting more when it ended. I look forward to Ms. Wall's next book.
Terrie (08/10/09)

Could Not Put Down
What a surprise! Didn't see where the book was leading until it was right in front of me. I read it in a weekend. If you like a mystery, love story and a part of history, this is your book. Book clubs will have quite a few items to discuss after reading this hard to put down book.
Angela (08/10/09)

I loved this book from beginning to end. The writing is smooth, the characters gritty and real and the embedded secrets are deep. When I started this book I was hooked, but I did not expect the last 100 pages to be so full of twists and turns and so action packed! Towards the end I was reading so quickly I had to force myself to slow down and absorb it all. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story and who cheers for the underdogs.
Wendy (08/10/09)

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.
Trezeline (08/10/09)

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.

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