Book Reviews

Book Review: Watching Glass Shatter

Watching Glass Shatter,

by James Cudney

Publication: Creativia; 6 edition (October 8, 2017)

glassAbout the book: 

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia Glass thought she could handle the unexpected death of her husband. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

While an attorney searches for answers, Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father.

Olivia challenges herself to re-assemble and save their relationships. But will the secrets destroy their family beyond repair?

My Review:

Watching Glass Shatter is James Cudney’s debut novel about the Glass family: the untimely death of patriarch Ben, the shocking news that his wife Olivia receives after Ben’s death, and the truth about the lives of their 5 sons (Teddy, Matthew, Zach, Caleb, and Ethan). Soon after Ben’s death, their attorney gives Olivia a letter from Ben confessing that one of their sons died shortly after birth and that he switched their deceased child with another baby whose mother wanted to give her child up for adoption. Not knowing which child isn’t biologically hers, Olivia takes the time to visit with each of her son’s to reconnect before sharing the shocking news that she has discovered. As she visits with each son, she realizes that she has no idea what has been going on in their lives, especially their hardships, hopes, and dreams. 

First of all, what a unique storyline and incredible novel! It is impossible to fathom a situation such as this and how it even occurred unless you chalk it up to “money talks” in times of need. But the actual switching of the babies becomes secondary as the author brings the reader into the lives of each of the five sons. All are harboring some serious secrets about their lives and most of the sons (and/or their spouses) have a lot of issues with Olivia herself. Between her visits with each of her children and the bonding wither her older sister Dianne, Olivia is forced to accept that not only is she clueless regarding the lives of her children, but that she has not been open and accepting in a way to promote honesty and communication. 

Each son is forced to face various admissions during their visits with Olivia that have been hidden for numerous reasons, but the overall theme was their own fear to confide in Olivia (or Ben when he was alive) whether it was out of fear of disappointing them or just the basic fear of opening their mouths to speak and say what they needed to say. Although Olivia seemed to shoulder the guilt and blame for the lack of communication, each of her sons also began to understand their own mistakes in not being open and honest with their parents. However, Olivia’s pain was a combination of the enormous secret that her late husband kept from her and the secrets about each of her sons’ lives, leaving her in a confused, hurt, state of shock as she realizes that she has not truly known any of the men in her life. 

James Cudney did a phenomenal job in slowly unwrapping this family’s secrets, bringing each character to an honest light, and especially in the development of Olivia’s character. Initial thoughts of this family were, “wow, what a screwed up bunch of adults,” however, as I finished and processed the novel as a whole, it served as a remember that appearances mean nothing. The most respected, and seemingly put-together people can be the ones actually struggling with numerous demons. Moreover, Cudney drives home the notion that there is not much a woman and mother cannot do when she sets her mind on it. Not everyone enjoyed how straightforward she became over the course of the novel and there are some heartbreaking moments, but overall, this book left me with a positive, loving feeling. I highly, highly recommend this incredible debut novel and cannot wait to read more from James Cudney in the future!

Purchase Watching Glass Shatter on Amazon.

Learn more about author James Cudney.


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