Thank you so much to Penguin Random House UK for an ARC of this spectacular book. I absolutely devoured it. I’m somewhere in the middle of the blog tour and have included an image of the schedule for anyone who needs to know more about this book – because trust me, you need it in your life.
The Glass House is a constantly moving story that keeps you paying attention from the first page to the last. When Slyvie’s beloved mother has a stunning, potentially life changing accident, her search to keep her going amidst the craze of her own life ends up giving her answers to her beginnings. Answers that maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t quite ready for…
I have a feeling that this book will be added onto that list we all mentally have of “books we obsess about and tell everyone to read”. I finished at at 2am in the morning, fell asleep, and woke up thinking about it, having had dreams of forests and light falling through trees. It was such a lovely dream after such a wonderful book.
Told from multiple perspectives and multiple points in time, this technique works well in The Glass House where it often fails, a tribute to the talent of Eve Chase, and her natural story telling skill. The descriptive work is both brutal and elegant where applicable, conjuring tales of love in all its forms: wild sexual passion, maternal desperation, sibling bonds, and what it means to be mixed in the middle of it all.
One of the things that really struck me in this book was the accurate, and harrowing, way that women’s mental health in the near past was handled. Drugged and sent off to institutions, well off women especially were expected to fit into a neat little mold, the failure to do so being so terrifying that faking being well was grasped at. It also uses the multiple time and perspective points to reflect on this brutal treatment, acknowledging the suffering of characters, and the way they should have been treated instead.
A large theme in the novel is the impact of infant loss. I won’t reveal any spoilers or go any deeper into the specifics of the way the story uses this, but we find out within pages that one of the lead characters had a baby who died fairly recently. Again, treated awfully as was the time appropriate way, her grief is earth shaking, and as someone who has, in modern times, seen that blank screen where there should have been a heartbeat, I was hit so physically hard by the way her suffering was described that I wanted to both run away and keep on reading. I’m glad I did the later.
The Glass House draws together an unlikely cast of people who are designed someway or another to fit into one another’s lives. You feel their pain, their joy, their love and their horror over the course of a summer that changes everything for so many. Full of unraveling secrets and sometimes even more unraveling truths, the real power behind this novel is the desire to control and oppress women, both in the 1970s and the current day. It is where this fails that we see the power of human nature in full, and what that really means in a time where “yes sir” is the only correct answer.
Beautiful, painful, and ready for absolutely anyone to fall in love with, Eve Chase has written a masterpiece that will stand the test of time, a reminder of what can go so wrong – and what can go so right.
Many thanks to the author and to Penguin Random House again for access to this stunning read.