Review: The Sound of Glass

May 22, 2015 book review, family, fiction, Karen White, NAL, southern lit 5

The Sound of Glass

  • Written by:  Karen White
  • Published by:  NAL, an imprint of Penguin Random House, May 12, 2015
  • Length:  432 pages
  • Source:  Publisher sent an advanced copy for review consideration

Summary:   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.(publisher)

My Thoughts:  The Sound of Glass is the story of three women.  Edith Heyward, Merritt Heyward, and Loralee Conners.  Their ties to each other are the men they have loved.  Edith is the grandmother of Merritt’s now deceased husband, Cal.  Edith was married to Calhoun, had one son C.J., and wound up raising her two grandsons Cal and Gibbes.  When Edith passes away she leaves the family home to Cal, unaware that he preceded her in death and his widow Merritt is ready to start new in Beaufort SC.  Merritt arrives unaware of what awaits her, the secrets a family has tried to hide for nearly 60 years.

The third woman is Loralee, stepmother to Merritt and also a widow.  Merritt counted Loralee out years before. She wasn’t ready to accept that her father, who had lost his wife when Merritt was just 12, should find love again.  Loralee is nearly everything Merritt isn’t.  She’s a southern woman from Alabama, a woman who loves big hair, high heels, and never without make up.  Merritt tries to be kind because there is Owen, her 10 year old half brother.

This book had me voraciously reading it from the start. Perhaps it was the women, or the mystery standing between the past and present, or quite honestly just the writing of Karen White.  Each character is fully fleshed out.  We learn what makes them tick, what point in their lives they changed, for the better or worse.  Edith and Merritt both became more closed off, what forced them into those major changes in personality?  Loralee is like a gem of southern wisdom and tales.  She keeps a pink notebook, her Journal of Truths, writing down all the lessons she wants to share with her son.  Many are the lessons her own momma gave her, she often speaks of these to Merritt, so much so that Merritt often grows weary of hearing yet another story.

The setting is so beautiful, and I found myself googling more information about Beaufort SC and the Low Country.  I feel like I need to make my own pilgrimage and think of these women and what eventually brought them together  and made them a family.

I highly recommend The Sound of Glass,  I can’t begin to fully explain how much I loved it.  This is the first book I’ve read by Karen White, though I have her books both on my shelf and e reader.  I plan to read many more of her books, because I am convinced that Ms. White can weave a story that will entertain me and leave me wanting more.  Grab this book now and enjoy!!

Thank you to Craig Burke for sending me this early copy, and I’m excited because I get to listen to Karen talk about The Sound of Glass tonight at The Vero Beach Book Center.


After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O’Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moon was published in August, 2000. Her books have since been nominated for numerous national contests including the SIBA (Southeastern Booksellers Alliance) Fiction Book of the Year, and has twice won the National Readers’ Choice Award.

Karen is a New York Times bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a bestselling mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Her eighteenth novel, A Long Time Gone, was published in June 2014 and debuted at #24 on the New York Times list. Her next novel, The Sound of Glass, will be published in May 2015 by New American Library, a division of PenguinRandomHouse Publishing Group.

Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, dancing, and avoiding cooking. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and a spoiled Havanese dog (who appears in several of her books), Quincy.(Author website)

5 Responses to “Review: The Sound of Glass”

  1. Audiothing (@Audiothingbooks)

    I was so pleased to find it at Audible, I hadn’t expected an audiobook so soon. I’ve started to listen and can truthfully say that it’s a wonderful, absorbing tale, I want to know what happens next, but nor do I want it to end!
    Great review

  2. Bec.

    And as for that Karen White, she’s to blame, I’ve got nothing done today because I’m listening to her darned book. Somebody STOP me!

  3. Trisha

    I love characters. I especially love them when the author makes them complex and real and deep and believable, so it sounds like this is a book I would enjoy.

  4. litandlife

    I had downloaded this from NetGalley but then didn’t pay attention and it was archived before I could get it read. I was so disappointed and now, hearing how great it was, even more so!

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