Book Review: The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson

I first fell in love with Cynthia Swanson’s writing when I read her debut novel, The Bookseller (if you haven’t read it, go get it!) so I immediately picked her second novel up when it released. The Glass Forest is a beautifully-written, atmospheric, character-driven novel with an edge of mystery and suspense.

Angie Glass is a 21-year-old newlywed with a new baby in 1960 when she receives a phone call from her 17 year old niece Ruby: Ruby’s father has been found dead and her mother, Silja, has disappeared. She and her much-older husband immediately leave their small Midwestern town and travel to Stonekill, New York to support Ruby. But as the story unfolds it becomes obvious that there’s much more to Silja’s disappearance and her husband’s death than first appears.

The novel is told from the alternating points of view of Angie, Ruby, and Silja. Each character has a unique voice and I enjoyed getting to know all of them. Because the story is set in 1960, it takes place against the backdrop of a very different time than the one we live in: the issues of women’s autonomy is explored beautifully and left me pondering for days.

I recommend the novel for fans of slow-burn, character-driven novels with beautiful writing and vivid settings. With the popularity of so many fast-paced domestic suspense novels, this was a welcome reprieve. I loved it!

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