Rating : 4/5
Genre : Contemporary, Mystery, Family drama
Date of Publising : October 8th, 2017
In my teenage years and the early twenties, I used to hog on novels with family drama like it was the new Harry Potter series. My friend and I used to keenly wait for the release of the next Jeffrey Archer book and enjoyed to the hilt the emotional exuberance adorning the pages. However, with the onset of blogging and discovering new authors, somewhere along the way I started to ignore my comfort read. When James Cudney announced his debut novel Watching Glass Shatter, I read the blurb of the novel and was thrilled to read the book as it offered plenty of family drama and a strong female protagonist too. Although I was positive that I would enjoy the book, what I did not expect was for this book to make me reminisce about the old Jeffrey Archer novels and ponder as to why I ever did stop reading this genre. Cudney, through his debut novel, has wonderfully portrayed the trials and tribulations of a matriarch struggling to come to terms with the sudden loss of her husband and the mounting responsibility on her to honor her husband’s dying wishes and to do right by her five sons. I immensely enjoyed the book as it had its share of strong female characters (not just the protagonist) along with an intriguing plot. Moreover, it was indeed a pleasure to review the debut book written by a fellow blogger!
The wealthy Glass family has lost its patriarch Benjamin Glass in a tragic accident. His wife Olivia and their five sons are struggling to accept the loss of Ben when Olivia receives an unexpected letter from her husband’s lawyer that contains a devastating secret about one of her sons. However, Ben has withheld the name of the son in his letter and Olivia must figure out who is it that Ben has mentioned about. Olivia decides to spend a few days with each of her son before revealing this fateful secret. The time spent with her sons reveal new secrets and troubles that run deep beneath the calm and poised exterior of her sons. In the absence of Ben, it falls upon Olivia to sort their lives as well as hers and bring peace back to the family. Is she up for this task?
James Cudney has succeeded in creating an ever-lasting impression on the readers’ mind through the Glass family. The title is a clever play on the word “Glass” by the author with all pun intended. The story narrated from a third person point of view gives us a deep understanding of the main characters through their thoughts and actions. This approach of narration makes us feel closer to the characters and identify with their emotional turmoil. The chapters are arranged in such a way that the readers first get to understand the deeper fears and insecurities of each character before they are revealed by the sons to the matriarch Olivia. The troubles and concerns of each character are so varied that it is overwhelming to see Olivia struggle through these as well as her own personal grief. What stood out for me in the book was the sophistication with which Cudney evolved his characters as new understanding between them rekindled old bonds that were lying dormant. Olivia’s transformation was exceptional as she changed to become a more open and approachable version of herself which was beautiful to read as for me, initially, she appeared to be a control freak and conventionalist.
The plot was undeniably intriguing and the author has added to the mystery by cleverly removing any clues as to who the son addressed in the letter was. However, what added color and vibrancy to the main narrative were the subplots in the novel. The sub plots in themselves were mature and realistic which added more personality to the story. The sensitivity with which these were handled indeed flaunted Cudney’s maturity as a writer adept in handling a complicated theme. Also noteworthy was the inclusion of hilarious situations and witty dialogues that added textures to an emotional tale. The quality of writing was exceptional as Cudney succeeded in keeping the readers on their toes, laughing with the family sharing their happiness and shedding a tear or two with the unexpected loss and heartbreak of the characters.
Overall, Watching Glass Shatter, the debut book of James Cudney, is an introspective tale of bereavement, love and heartbreak that makes us believe in the healing power of family. It is a wonderful family saga that is deeply emotional and fills the readers with delight, laughter and torment. This will be a great read for people who love mystery and drama concealed in a great plot and good writing.
About the Author
James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com