Watching Glass Shatter (2017) by James J. Cudney is a very riveting book that keeps you engaged from start to finish. Part family drama, part mystery, the book is filled with memorable characters which everyone will have their own favourites from because all the characters are very rounded and have their own distinct personality traits and ways of dealing with situations.
A word that springs to mind with this book is psychological. Told in the third person through the eyes of each main character at different points, the reader gets a real inside into the complexity of human nature and how problems occur between people coming from different perspectives. That element of the book is very interesting. The book’s main character is Olivia Glass who has just lost her husband Ben in a car crash after they have been married for 40 years. However Ben has a secret which he has been holding back from Olivia for many years and leaves behind a letter containing the secret: that one of their five sons isn’t their birth son and he switched the baby Olivia had given birth to who died with another baby after their births. However he doesn’t reveal which of the sons he switched the baby for. And so begins the mystery. Olivia goes to visit each of her sons before she finds out.
Olivia is on a journey. And that seems pretty apt because I went on a journey with her. Throughout most of the book I couldn’t stand her. That isn’t to say I didn’t think she was a good character but I just didn’t particularly like her. She has many flaws ranging from prejudices to been controlling to thinking that she lives perfectly while everybody else doesn’t. I don’t want to give too much away but I did like her by the end. She was big enough to admit her mistakes and she was more human and compassionate by the end. In short, I’m saying give her a chance even if early on she’ll probably drive you mad.
Secrets are a huge part of this story and each of the five sons have their own secrets which they have been keeping from Olivia and from each other too. In the interests of giving nothing away, I’ll leave it at that. But secrets is a huge theme of this book as is the family dynamics caused by secrets.
The five sons are Zach who works in The Atlantis Lair in Brooklyn who has a daughter but is no longer with the mother of his daughter and who in the past has had drug problems but is now getting his life back on track, Teddy who is the eldest son, works for the family business and is married to Sarah and has been trying to get her pregnant unsuccessfully for a while, Matt who is under more stress than he’s letting on and is married to Margaret who he has three daughters with and who is pregnant with their fourth child, the baby of the bunch Ethan who gets engaged to Emma but hasn’t long to live and my favourite character Caleb who lives in Maine with my other favourite character his husband Jake and they are planning to adopt their first child together. Each of the brothers comes across very likable in their own ways and as a reader you are wishing them all to be a lot closer because they seem like great guys. Jake is my favourite of the other halves but the others are nice too. I think Margaret’s great too but Emma and Sarah come across well too.
This book is very well-written. It has a mix of a John Grisham feel with the mystery element without someone been killed and a Barbara Taylor Bradford feel with the whole family dynamics and family drama. A lot of work has clearly been put into this book and the writer is very talented. You definitely won’t be disappointed if you purchase this book.
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