Sweeping Up Glass
by Carolyn Hall


Delta Trade paperbacks, 2008. ISBN 978-0-385-34303-9.
Reviewed by Judith Helburn
Posted on 09/09/2009

Fiction: Historical; Fiction: Mainstream

What a find—a lucky one at that since our public library cataloger placed this fine novel in mysteries. Yes, there is a mystery, but not the whodunnit kind. This is the story of Olivia Harker Cross living in poverty amidst the beauty of the hills of Kentucky. She is the offspring of a mentally unbalanced mother and a father who is the local, but self-taught, veterinarian. Why is someone killing the wolves on her mountain? Why do some in the community exhibit such animosity towards her?

Sweeping Up Glass moves back and forth between Olivia's growing up years and her present, during which time she cares for both her unstable mother and her beloved grandson, Will'm. Olivia's doubts and fears, hopes and search for answers draw the reader into a drama taking place during the Great Depression. Her passion for truth is unstoppable.

Wall's debut novel is pregnant with emotions—love, hate, fear, self-doubt, strength and great sorrow. Olivia's relationships with her mother, her father, her grandson and her local community, black and white all ring with realism and grace.


Carolyn Wall has taught crative writing to more than 4,000 children in Oklahoma. She also operates a national prison-writing program. She at work on her secondd novel. Visit her website.

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