Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: The Sound of Glass by Karen White

The Sound of Glass
by Karen White
Release Date: May 12, 2015
2015 NAL
Ebook Edition; 432 Pages
ISBN: 978-0451470898
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

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.

My Thoughts
The Sound of Glass pretty much captured my attention from beginning to end; I just really enjoyed that southern South Carolina charm and thought the intertwining relationships and issues were quite believable and enjoyable.  

Merritt is one of those characters whom I actually disliked at the beginning as she was cold, prickly, and just not very nice.  Having come to South Carolina from Maine to check out an inheritance that was left to her husband, she discovered that a change of scene was good for her after his sudden death two years before.  As neither Merritt nor her husband discussed their previous lives, in a some wounds were better left unopened type of a deal, she did not realize that he had family in South Carolina, a grandmother and a brother, who closely resembled him.  Looking at her new home as a refuge, learning her new home came with family left her confused and unsure how to deal with the situation.  Furthermore, her stepmother, only five years her senior, showed up on her doorstep, with her son, Merritt's younger brother, intending to stay permanently.  While I definitely understood Merritt's confusion and disgruntlement, I definitely did not agree with how she handled the situation, and this was why she did not endear herself to me in the beginning.  The new stepmother was a bit much to take as well, although I did love her mommy-isms and her sayings as they were kind of interesting, if rather annoying at times.  

There was a lot of comparisons between Maine and South Carolina, with perhaps Maine coming up a bit short at times, so I did like it when the author mentioned Maine's icy beauties and other advantages to living there; I have been to both states and I definitely have seen beautiful places in both.  I do have to agree with Merritt on one thing though, I don't know how anyone can handle the heat in South Carolina.  

There were a lot of underlying messages in this novel though and some rather deep themes.  Spousal abuse, mental abuse, and physical abuse were main themes in this novel, and the lengths to which some people will go to in order to get out of difficult situations.  Dangerous secrets is another theme, and how the withholding of secrets can lead to much greater problems down the road for people, and the destruction of entire lives for others.  The south, mansion, and gothic are words that just seem to belong together and when you throw in a secret, it certainly doesn't take much to get my attention after that.  Told in alternating POV, we learn Merritt's secret as well as Edith's and the effect this had on Merritt's husband as well as on other characters who appear in the novel.  

The Sound of Glass was an enjoyable read and I definitely loved the atmosphere in this novel.  Merritt grew on me as the novel developed and I learned to like her very much, especially as she opened up and learned to trust those around her.  Despite her over the top personality, I also really liked Loralee, and thought she would be a fun, if exhausting, person to be around.  I wouldn't call the plane crash scenario at the beginning of the novel a mystery though, as it seemed to be more of a puzzle that kind of drew the characters together and made you realize how small a world it really is out there.  While the novel moved a bit slowly, I rather liked that as I guess I was in the mood for something not overly in-depth, but still had a bit of a serious side to it.