The prologue of the advance reading copy of The Sound of Glass by Karen White (release date – May 12) sets Edith in Beaufort, South Carolina – July 1955, “An unholy terror rippling through the sticky night air alerted Edith Heyward that something wasn’t right.” She pictures her hand-made blue and green glass wind chimes shivering like a hanged man from a noose.
Chapter 1 sets Merritt in Beaufort South Carolina – May 2014, “Fires can be stopped in three different ways: exhausting the fuel source, taking away the source, or starving the fire of oxygen.” Merritt knows her fire-fighter husband Cal’s death, as he walked into the burning building, was no accident.
So begins a Southern tale told in alternating chapters between the two women. Inexplicably, Merritt inherits her husband’s family home two years after his death. Her stepmother, too close to her own age, and her ten-year-old stepbrother show up on her doorstep before she can dispose of the house. Edith’s story and Merritt’s weave toward each other to the background music of the chimes.
Getting rid of the chimes becomes an early goal, a concrete thing Merritt can do while she unearths the mystery surrounding the unexpected inheritance and figures out what she is going to do with the other legacy of the stepmother and half brother. The reader knows quickly there will be more to this than the couple of days she mentally allots them until they can find a place, just as she (he) senses that the chimes are staying.
For those who like “beach reads,” this would qualify. I’d recommend instead a tall pitcher of iced tea and a porch swing with a full afternoon ahead to enjoy meeting the well drawn characters that will have you thinking of them even after the last page is finished.