She Reads: ‘The Sound of Glass’ by Karen White

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I’ve mentioned in other reviews how I am not a fan of love stories, but this week, I found Karen White’s “The Sound of Glass” and it might have converted me. Though this book is very much a love story, it isn’t necessarily a romance. With careful writing, White has interwoven themes of mystery, heartache, the peace that comes with having all of the answers and finding peace with the ones you do not.  

One night, in the hot and humid night air surrounding 1955 Beaufort, South Carolina, a plane explodes across the sky, waking the sleeping residents and raining debris on the Lowcountry below. A suitcase falls from the explosion and lands directly in the middle of Edith Heyward’s backyard garden, sitting upright as if someone had merely set it down and forgotten it. While holding her young son in her arms and trying to figure out what has happened in the night sky above, she sees the leather suitcase and grabs it before returning to safety within the house. As Edith’s curiosity gets the better of her, she decides to open it. 

This begins a chain of events that bring us to the present day in 2014, as Merritt Heyward inherits a family home from her late husband, Cal. They were not married long before Cal’s death and Merritt speaks of Cal’s darker nature and it becomes clear that these abusive tendencies go back through many generations of the Heyward men. 

Merritt has never seen the home before and upon arriving, is met by her stepmother, Loralee, who is only five years older than she is and Loralee’s ten-year-old son. Merritt has not been involved with her stepmother in quite some time and has never even met her half-brother until now. She is increasingly frustrated as Loralee invites herself and her son to stay with Merritt whenever she had initially planned this time to be a time of solitude and grieving.  

As the story progresses, Merritt begins to tolerate and eventually, develops an appreciation for the company of Loralee and her son, Owen, but Loralee is keeping a secret, and has been the entire time. Will Merritt realize that there is something all too familiar about her stories? 

This novel takes us on a journey of the bonds we can develop with those who have shared similar experiences to us, especially when it comes to pain. You will laugh, cry and reminisce over every moment with these women, past and present, as White discusses the aftereffects of domestic violence and the triumph of pushing forward. 

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