About this book: (from the publisher) 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.
About the author: (excerpted from her website) Karen White 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. She 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.
Genre: Fiction/Women’s Fiction/Southern Lit
Why I read this book: Because I will read any new novel Karen White writes.
First impressions: Everything about it told me this would be another hit, from front-cover art to back-cover synopsis to hook first chapter.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG
Reminds me of… the novels of Lisa Wingate
Will especially appeal to… women looking for the ideal summer vacation read.
This story matters because…it celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the resourcefulness of unconditional love.
My take: Hang around my blog long enough and you’ll learn I’m a big fan of Karen White. She’s been called “the ultimate voice of women’s fiction.”* Yes. Truly, I consider her writing to be among the finest in contemporary fiction. She delivers consistently pitch-perfect prose, with plot lines that delve deep into real-life issues without becoming melodramatic or macabre. I’ve loved her work ever since inhaling The Memory of Water a number of summers ago. She’s one of the few novelists–along with the likes of Nicole Baart and Lisa Wingate–who manage prolific output while still maintaining excellent caliber.
All that to say, I’m delighted to report that White’s latest did not disappoint. If anything, I liked this one better than her last, which I liked a lot. Hooked from the very first line (oh, I do love a great opening line!), the story–with its layers of mystery and complexity– held me enthralled. Every one of her characters, down to the most minor, is superbly, finely drawn. But I was especially taken with Merritt. So much did I want to see her overcome her circumstances that I chafed when real-life responsibilities pulled me away from her story.
For me, the magic and beauty of White’s novels has always been not only her deep understanding of the human heart, but her lyrical expression of its mysteries. Of which, the The Sound of Glass stands out as a perfect example.
[Tweet “Yet another stunning summer read, a love letter to Low Country #SoundOfGlass @KarenWhiteWrite”]
Thanks to New American Library for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
* source: Fresh Fiction
After words: With each new release by Karen White, I find myself grateful–happy that I can look forward to another outstanding read. But I’m also reminded of other novelists who have, for various reasons, stopped writing fiction. Among these I would include Linda Nichols, Melanie Wells, Bette Nordberg. Who are some novelists you miss?