Review: The Sound of Glass

Book Title: The Sound of Glass

Book Author: Karen White

Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

Synopsis: “It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life—and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death—Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old half-brother.

Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.”

This is my first time reading anything by Karen White, but it definitely will not be the last.  There were so many things that I loved about this multi-dimensional story, I’m not really sure where to begin with my review.  The first thing I’ll say is: don’t let the pretty cover fool you–this isn’t a quick “beach read”.  Part mystery, part family saga, part southern literature, and with a dash of romance added, this story has something for everyone, and deals with many difficult topics.

Merritt lost her husband two years ago, and she has now inherited his family’s estate in South Carolina.  She is eager to “start over” in a new place after having experienced much past heartache.  On the day that she moves into her new home, her step-mother, Loralee (only five years her senior), and a ten year old half brother (Owen) she has never met before, show up on her doorstep.  Merritt has never liked her step-mother, and essentially cut all ties with her (now deceased) father once they were married, so it was with great reluctance that she allowed Loralee and Owen to stay with her in her new home.  While the initial agreement was for the pair to only stay with her a week, it becomes clear that they both slowly grow on Merritt and she comes to enjoy their company.

While Loralee keeps the real reason for her intrusion on Merritt’s life a closely guarded secret, it was pretty obvious what was really going on early on in the story.  As much as I wanted to initially write Loralee off as just an annoying gold digger, like Merritt, I eventually grew to appreciate her.  As Merritt attempts to move on from her painful past, she discovers that there is much she didn’t know about her late husband and his life before they met.  And with the help of his younger brother, Gibbes, they begin unearthing some long buried family secrets.

This book is told from the alternating perspectives of Merritt, Loralee, and Edith (Merritt’s deceased husband’s grandmother), but each woman has their own voice and the story flowed nicely.  I would highly recommend this book to fans of Sarah Addison Allen, or anyone who enjoys novels with strong female characters.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

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