Thank you to James J. Cudney for providing a copy of his book Watching Glass Shatter for review.
Ashley and I have been following James’ blog for quite a while now. I really enjoy reading his blog posts, especially his ‘365 Daily Challenge’. You should definitely check out his blog, if you haven’t yet.
A few weeks ago, he finally published his first full-length novel and I was excited to pick it up.
The Glass family lost his patriarch, Benjamin Glass, to an unexpected death. Before Olivia, Benjamin’s widow, and her five sons get ready for the opening of the will, Olivia receives a letter from her late husband, confessing a shocking secret that will not only shatter the life of one of her sons but the life of the entire family.
Determined to figure out which son Benjamin is referring to in the letter, she decides to spend a week with each of her sons during the course of the summer. Olivia will soon find out that Benjamin is not the only family member with a shocking secret.
Watching Glass Shatter is definitely a different kind of story. I had a hard time placing the book in a certain genre: it was dramatic, funny, sad, shocking. It had all of it and them some.
Another difference are the characters in this story. It not only focuses on one, but six different people. Olivia and her sons, Teddy, Matt, Zach, Caleb, and Ethan, are all the main characters.
Each one of the characters is different from the next and I really enjoyed getting to know every single one of them in their respective chapters. My favorite people in this book were probably Caleb and Ethan, especially Caleb. I had a big laughing out loud moment when Olivia visited his son for the first time in his house in Maine.
Speaking of Olivia. She was probably the character I disliked the most. Let me tell you why: she was shallow, uptight, demanding, arrogant, self-centered, controlling, small-minded, selfish, snobbish, a perfectionist, and someone who wanted things her way – and only her way. She was so busy being the chairwoman of too many charities that she lost the focus on her sons. Each of them was struggling with something major and life-changing but she just didn’t see it. What kind of mother doesn’t know what’s going on in their children’s life?
Olivia changed for the better in the course of the story which I was glad about, but she will remain a really unlikable character in my eyes.
As I mentioned earlier, the focus was on all six people. Every character was given their own chapter in which his, or in Olivia’s case her, story was told. Although it was great getting to know them, there was something missing, which was probably due to the fact that the chapters were oftentimes cut too short and the reader wouldn’t learn about certain things that happened. Let’s take the visit to one of her sons as an example: we would only read about her arrival day, but the events happening after that wouldn’t be mentioned at all, they would only shortly be mentioned at the end of the chapter, or as a recall in the beginning of the next. I prefer experiencing the events while reading, instead of reading about it in retrospect.
I’m pretty sure this is ‘picky-Sabrina’ speaking, but I didn’t quite understand the fuss about Benjamin Glass being the so-called ‘patriarch’ of the family. I don’t know why, but all of the family members saw him as a leader: “This team needs its coach“. I honestly don’t agree with it. I think that all family members should be put on the same level and be treated as equals, especially since all five sons were adults. There shouldn’t be one ‘guy’ or one ‘woman’ who holds together the family. I think everyone should play the same part. I also think that everyone is responsible for their own actions. The death of Benjamin Glass was not the trigger for his sons’ secrets and their struggle with life, although Olivia liked to see it that way. Plus, I think that Benjamin Glass didn’t do a good job with playing the ‘patriarch’. With keeping a major secret from his wife and his family, didn’t make him a leader in my eyes. Plus, all of the sons were keeping their own big secrets. Wouldn’t a happy and intact family have no secrets at all?
Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into the story. In the beginning of the story the sentences were too wordy and had one too many adjectives to describe things and situations. I had to look up a lot of translations for words I didn’t know, which really distracted me from what was going on, which made me reread several passages over and over again.
I also think that some of the conversations between the characters were too formal. It seemed staged, unnatural, and not how actual people would interact with each other.
James Cudney’s debut was a decent read. There were things I really liked and enjoyed, whereas other things I didn’t like as much, which is why I gave Watching Glass Shatter a solid 3-star rating.
If you want to get know the Glass family, use the links below to purchase your copy.
See below for blog tour and author info.
Be sure to check out interviews with James Cudney, Watching Glass Shatter giveaways, and other cool stuff on the recently published blog tour posts:
About the author:
I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I spent ~15 years in a technology career in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. After leaving my position in 2016, I directed all my energies towards re-invigorating a focus on reading, writing and publishing.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current genres include family drama / saga, contemporary and mystery fiction. My first novel, Watching Glass Shatter, was published in October 2017. I am currently in the process of writing my second novel, ‘Father Figure,’ which will be released in early 2018.
Connect with the author: