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Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall

>> Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 319
Support Your Local Library Challenge #41

I’m not going to attempt a plot summary of this one because I couldn’t do it justice without getting convoluted. So this time I will fall back on using the blurb on the back of the book.

Olivia Harker Cross owns a mountain, or thinks she does, in Pope County, Kentucky, a land where wolves – Olivia’s wolves - howl in the night. But someone is killing the wolves of Big Foley Mountain, and Olivia is beginning to realize how much of her own bitter history she’s never fully understood: Her mother’s madness, now building toward a fiery crescendo. Her daughter’s flight to California, leaving her to raise Will’m, her beloved grandson. And most of all, her town’s rage, for Olivia has real and dangerous enemies.

Now this proud, lonely woman will face her mother and daughter, her neighbors and the wolf hunters of Big Foley Mountain. And when she does, she’ll ignite a conflict that will embroil an entire community–and change her own life in the most surprising ways.

This debut novel impressed me a lot. Olivia’s voice is real and powerful. She tells her story with some brutal honesty. She’s had a hard life growing up in backwoods depression era Kentucky. What Olivia doesn’t know is that the truth she knows may not be the actual true story of what has happened in the past or what is happening in the present.

What she does know is that she loves her grandson so much it hurts and she loves her home and the wolves her grandfather had brought to Big Foley Mountain just as much. She knows she doesn’t feel love for, nor does she feel any love from her mother.

The characters in this book are well written and while some are frightening, others touch your heart. Tiny little Love Alice Hanley and her husband Junk Hanley are good hearted people who although they are only allowed to shop at Olivia’s store on Wednesdays and are not allowed to be served an ice cream at the drugstore, are better friends to Olivia than most of the white folks in town.

The story has a bit of Olivia’s family history, a bit of mystery and a whole lot of tension and suspense. The conflict builds and grows to a final confrontation that leaves the last third of the book begging to be read in one sitting. You’ll not quickly forget the characters in this book.

Thank you to Literary Feline whose review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty convinced me to request this book from the library

Rating 4.5/5


Diane 9/02/2009 1:31 PM  

Excellent review. I hope to get this one and read it soon. Thanks again

Cheya 9/02/2009 3:18 PM  

Interesting title - does the story help you understand why it has that title? A 4.5 rating, huh? Better put it on my list.

Sherri 9/03/2009 12:18 PM  

Sounds like a really interesting book! Thanks for the review!

SuziQoregon 9/03/2009 2:40 PM  

Diane: thanks, and I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

Cheya: yes, the title is definitely in the story.

Sherri: It was very interesting. Once I got partway in I was hooked!

Literary Feline 9/07/2009 7:02 PM  

I am so glad you liked this one, Suzi. Your review is so much more concise than mine--and says it all. I definitely agree with your about wanting to read that last portion in one sitting. That's what I ended up having to do.

SuziQoregon 9/08/2009 7:35 PM  

Literary Feline: thanks again for recommending this one - I really enjoyed it. As for a concise review - falling back on the book cover blurb helped a lot.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

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