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Showing 1-10 of 128 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 180 reviews
on November 7, 2015
"Sweeping Up Glass" by Carolyn Wall -- 5-stars!

Wow! Yep, wow it is. This is a great novel. Yes, it's a little gritty, a bit hard on the heart and emotions to read, but it's that way because it's written with such a feeling, such emotion, that you get tied up in the story, in the characters, in the events. The depression was not a happy time.

There is some violence, but mostly just talking about it, not a visual description. Ditto for the few sexual passages - minimal and done with the proper amount of respect and taste. Yes, there's a couple of rape accounts, but not overly descriptive or violent. Perfectly well done, not explicitly descriptive. If I could read it and not get upset, a baby could read/hear it! ;=)

You know how people are sometimes raving about a novel, telling you that you should read it, how great it is? Well, this is one of those novels. I think the reason that it's not being touted as such for you is that it is gritty. But it was about events in the time of the early era of the USA, in the times of the Great Depression, in the hard, gritty times of the nation. It should be gritty!

Yes, do yourself a big favor, take a bit of your valuable time and read this novel. You'll thank me, I promise.

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VINE VOICEon July 25, 2016
I thought this novel started out a bit slow during the first two or three chapters, but then it became a wild ride I could not put down. I sat up really late to finish the book. It is about a woman's life,
Olivia Harker Cross, who is dealing with her mentally ill mother and raising her grandson William. In addition to this, she runs the general store, and deals with a mysterious animosity with her neighbor she does not understand until later in the book.
She deals with a hard scrapple existence, but her inner strength is so admirable that you grow to care about her so memorably. There is a very good story here that ends with a climax you won't soon forget. I really enjoyed this book.
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on June 20, 2016
This s a wonderful southern family saga, set in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's. Carolyn Wall has done an excellent job with this novel, taking you, heart and soul, to hard scrabble hill country Kentucky before, during and after the depression. We follow Olivia Harker Cross first person from the time she is small child who adores her father and does not miss her institutionalized mother on through her life in Pope County, KY. Pope County is a small insular community, wide spread over the hills, where everyone is poor and sometimes hungry, where racial hangings are still a possibility and there hasn't been a wolf sighting or sounding in 20 years.

By the time she is in her forties, Olivia is single handedly raising her grandson William, assisting her friends and neighbors through the hungry times, doing her best to care for her crazy mother living in a cabin in her backyard, and trying to protect 'her' wolves, descendants of a pair of silver wolves carried home from Alaska by her grandfather in an attempt to repopulate the wolves in Kentucky.

Together she and Will'm run a small grocery store where they attempt to cover the needs of their neighbors. These are characters you will love - or hate - and a locale that becomes so familiar you can close your eyes and see the mountains, see the silver faced wolves which bond this story together, feel the heartbeat of the land right along with Olivia.

It is a book I will want to read again, and savor. The people of Pope Country will stay with me. Though it has often been compared to other classic southern novels, I found this to be a classic in it's own right. Carolyn Wall is an author I will follow.
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on February 19, 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
"Sweeping Up Glass" is a fictional account set in Depression-era Kentucky, a place that at this time was still very racially divided; within its pages, we find a young white girl, still a child herself just beginning her transition to womanhood, trying her best to raise her young brother while helping to run her father's grocery store and managing the home, something a mother would be expected to do. The reader will find out shortly why Olivia, the girl of the story, is having to do this.

Olivia is constantly bombarded by tribulations and temptations from all around, including her friendship with black women near her own age, something that is frowned upon in the Depression south; trying her best to help out her father in his store while dealing with his sometimes-strange requests; fighting off male "coyotes" who have only one thing on their little minds; and raising her younger, illegitimate brother the best and only way she knows how, in the absence of her less-than-level mother.

To cope with the cruelties and seemingly unfairness of her life, Olivia, along with her younger brother, Will'm, retreats to the surrounding countryside to listen to the howling and baying of the wolves she loves so much. But here lies another of her torments -- she learns that poachers are killing her wolves for sport and to protect the local ranchers' herds of cattle. This is something that makes Will'm and herself targets of those same poachers, who care only about the bounty on the wolves' heads and who will let nothing, or no one, stand in their way.

Olivia finds that she must learn all of life's lessons on her own, without a loving mother, living with a father who is more interested in his customers than in his children, and with no real guide to follow. She finds some solace in the friendship of some young black men and women, many scarcely much older than herself, wherein she finds the truth about her family, and the betrayals that led to the absence of her mother, even when she is there, and her father, who is gone when she needs him the most.

The novel tends to be somewhat slow in places -- but then, does that not also describe our own lives at times? At other times, the words come at you so fast they fairly leap off of the page and run down the road on the balls of their feet, leaving the reader to catch up. You'll need a word broom to sweep the words up from the floor!

A good debut novel, "Sweeping Up Glass" will make for a delightful read while trying to decipher a piece of our past we wish had never happened. Carolyn D. Wall has crafted a good first outing that deserves a well-earned 4 Stars.
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on October 7, 2015
One of the best books I've read in years! This story was a pleasant surprise's. telling had me hooked from the first PAGE! The characters are rich and believable. You love some...hate others..yet each one will evoke emotion. There is a new spin on an old tale of poverty-love and hate. Set in the South..but not the floral-silly South..this author takes you inside wood floored cabins and makes the reader feel the cold so believably that you wouldn't be surprised to see your hands chapped. This author's character's are unique in such a superb way...I've never read and believed so deeply ...I've never bated fictional characters so thoroughly. Bravo! I'm telling everyone I know to put this book on their must read list.
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on October 5, 2015
Character love overload. You fall quickly for the characters, share their heartache and their triumphs. Times are hard, people are mean, money is short and race is an issue. Sounds like the nightly news this evening but you are pulled back in time making you realize some things never change. There will always be ornery people filled with hate and self-righteousness but there will always be kind folks caring for one another. You may cry, you may laugh but if you turn to the last page and don't feel like doing better, caring more and trying to make a change them you've read it wrong. I enjoyed this book because from time to time we all need to be humbled and reminded how small our problems are on the grand scale of life.
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on October 15, 2015
One of the best stories I have read in awhile. The writing was so good that I could imagine the house, the characters. The ending was so shocking to me. It had a few sexual references that I didn't think necessary to make the point. Other than that I loved it and have been recommending.
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on April 15, 2017
Incredible story. Couldn't put it down. Thank you for writing it, I'll be sure to recommend it to my book club and friends.
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on November 16, 2015
I was totally hooked into the narrative. I always like first-person narration. The dialect and the descriptions really pull you into the story. I fell in love with the main character and had varying degrees of affection (or disdain) for others in the story. On the down side: although racism is definitely part of the story from the beginning, I must stay that I was a bit thrown off by the kind of abrupt shift in plot near the end of the book where the racism suddenly seems to be at the center of the overall story. Still, an interesting, engrossing story and a great heroine.
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on October 12, 2015
This book, "Sweeping up Glass," is an important story. It is real, raw and wonderful. It takes a while to meet all the extraordinary characters, some of whom you will love...and some you will love to hate. A lot of it had to be based on real life, which the author verifies in her summation.

The main character is an amazingly strong woman, who doesn't always make the best choices...sometimes I found myself thinking, 'why in the world would she do that'? If you think after a chapter or two you aren't sure you want to keep reading it, I urge you to's worth it!
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