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Sweeping Up Glass [Paperback]

Carolyn Wall
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 7.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

29 April 2010

Olivia Harker grew up in Depression-era Kentucky. Ignored by her own mother, her black neighbours became her friends and playmates; their parents her guardian angels.

Now, she runs a ramshackle grocery store with her beloved grandson and her difficult widowed mother. But Olivia has no idea of the long shadow cast by events of her childhood. When she finally becomes party to a decades-old mystery, she must get to grips with past betrayals before fighting to save her family, her community and her life.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849161623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849161626
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 970,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This is real storytelling, fresh, plain-speaking but utterly absorbing' Irish Examiner.

'Carolyn Wall is a brilliant storyteller and this book is a wonderful read' O, The Oprah Magazine.

'Rich in atmosphere and tense as a wolf's tail, this is a chilling, enchanting and sometimes heartbreaking novel' Sunday Business Post.

From the Back Cover

Olivia Harker grew up in 1930s Kentucky during a time of racial segregation. The spirited daughter of an adored father and a difficult mother, she shocked the locals by choosing the children of her black neighbours as friends and playmates. Now Olivia runs a ramshackle grocery store with her beloved grandson and her increasingly wayward mother. She has little idea of the long shadow cast by events of her childhood, until she stumbles on a forty-year-old mystery that rewrites her life. As long-buried secrets explode along the valley, Olivia must come to terms with past betrayals if she is to gain a second chance at love, redemption, and long-overdue justice.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of my favourite reads of 2010! 16 Sep 2010
This story is set in the Southern States of America where Olivia, the narrator, lives with her father who runs the local store and her abusive mother. The novel covers Olivia's life amongst the black community with whom she empathises, they are her friends.

Sweeping up Glass has an excellent story line and I so much wanted for this book to captivate me, but this was not so. Olivia's life was so horrendous that I should have been shedding buckets for her but the narrative just didn't move me and I'm afraid I got bored and had misery fatigue half way through the book. Like another reviewer I didn't get a feeling of time and place except that extreme poverty prevailed. But I stuck with it because I had enough interest to want to find out the outcome and it certainly did pick up in the later stages. I'm glad I got to the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars over in a flash - unputdownable 18 Aug 2010
I really enjoyed reading this book - if I had been able to read it in one day I would have done but knowing that I had to get some shut eye finished it off in less than 2 days. Very readable. I found myself itching to know how things would turn out - there were some rabbits coming out of hats every now and then which kept interest high. Makes you appreciate how tough it has been for Southern Negroes and that attitudes still remain - unfortunately.
I hope she writes some more stuff soon.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent debut 8 Oct 2008
By L. J. Roberts TOP 500 REVIEWER
SWEEPING UP GLASS (Novel/Mys-Olivia Harker-Kentucky-1930s) - Ex
Wall, Carolyn D. - 1st book
Poisoned Pen Press, 2008, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9781590585122

First Sentence: The long howl of a wolf rolls over me like a toothache.

Olivia Harker lives with her grandson in a run-down, cold-water building with a grocery out front, a small bedroom, kitchen and sleeping alcove in back and an outhouse. Her emotionally abusive mother lives an a shack separate from the house.

Someone is killing silver-faced wolves on her property. She knows who, but the why takes her back through her life's story until it places her, her family and friends in danger for their lives.

This is quite a story. It covers 40+ years of a woman's life. It's a hard life filled with emotional pain, hard work and disappointment while Olivia is hardened by it, in the way steel is tempered by fire and pressure. While Olivia is the primary character, those around her are just as real and memorable.

It's hard to say much about the story without, in some way, diminishing it. It is sometimes painful to read, buy only because Olivia is such a wonderful, fully-realized character.

Wall doesn't just give you a sense of place. She takes you to the sights, sounds and smells of Kentucky hill country along with very real emotions that can make it an uncomfortable and painful read at times. But it's wonderfully done; a book I shan't soon forget and one I'm very glad to have read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 8 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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5.0 out of 5 stars a really good book 1 Aug 2013
By Sharon
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great story and very well written very descriptive you could almost have been there. I really enjoyed it and it kept me in suspense until the last hater would highly recommend.
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2.0 out of 5 stars too much pace in the second half. 21 May 2013
By Sandy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Book looked like it was amazing up to be brilliant in the second half, but ended up getting into territory that hasn't even been hinted at. Massive ridiculous Scooby Doo ending as well. A very promising book which left me confused and pretty switched off at the end.
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By neverin
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought this storyline was pretty well written but what a miserable tale. However the lead up to and the ending was unexpected. A nice twist. However I couldn't really get into this book due to the errors almost one on every page, 3 on one page! Obvious things like bread instead of beard and grated drive instead of gated. It really spoilt it for me, it felt as if I was marking students' papers. I have a rule; once I start a book I always finish it. Well I just managed to keep going and it improved from the penultimate chapter to the end. You need to be in a happy place when you start to read this book as it won't cheer you up. It gave a clear picture of life at the time whether accurate or not and was certainly a change from my usual (very light) regency novels.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I do object to having to write something after I have rated a product....
I do object to having to write something after I have rated a product. I have expressed my opinion by rating it haven't I?
Published 6 months ago by Mr. J. Biltcliffe
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, troubling, wonderfully written
This is the best book I have read in 5 years (and I'm an addictive reader). Convincing in every detail, well plotted, but above all wonderfully well written. Highly recommended.
Published 18 months ago by P. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweeping up Glass
Like another reviewer I have mixed feeling about this book. Initially it was an effort to read and I found myself skimming sections. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Silver Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Something different.
This book was something different from anything I have ever read. Set in the south of America, Olivia, a poor white woman living among other poor whites and blacks, runs a grocery... Read more
Published 22 months ago by E. J. Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent book
What can I say about this book.
One word magnificent. I read this book due to price and I was spellbounded by the storyline, especially the end. Wow. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Dapper Dawg
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings 3
To start with, I struggled with this book - the narrator's life seemed so dreary, with little to alleviate the poverty and misery, that like another reviewer I felt I was going to... Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2011 by Hils T
2.0 out of 5 stars Sweeping Up Bad
Having loved Harper Lee's `To Kill a Mockingbird' and Kathryn Stockett's `The Help', I was greatly looking forward to reading another book set several decades ago in the southern... Read more
Published on 8 July 2010 by Charlotte E. Farrell
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