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The Glass Forest: A Novel (Paperback)
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The lives of three very different women intersect in shocking ways in this “outstanding psychological thriller” (Library Journal, starred review), by the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookseller.
In the autumn of 1960, Angie Glass is living an idyllic life in her Wisconsin hometown. At twenty-one, she’s married to handsome, charming Paul, and has just given birth to a baby boy. But one phone call changes her life forever.
When Paul’s niece, Ruby, tells them that her father, Henry, has committed suicide and her mother, Silja, has gone missing, the newlyweds drop everything to be by Ruby’s side in the small upstate town of Stonekill, New York.
Angie thinks they’re coming to the rescue of Paul’s grief-stricken young niece, but seventeen-year-old Ruby, self-possessed and enigmatic, resists Angie’s attempts to nurture her. While taking up residence in Henry and Silja’s eerie, ultra-modern house on the edge of the woods, Angie discovers astonishing truths about the complicated Glass family. As she learns about Henry and Silja’s spiraling relationship, and Ruby’s role in keeping them together, and apart, Angie begins to question the very fabric of her own marriage.
As details of the past unfold and Ruby dissects her parents’ state of affairs, the Glass women realize what they’re capable of when it comes to love, secrets, and ultimate betrayal.
As turbulent and electrified as the period it’s set in, The Glass Forest is an “intoxicating slow burn [that] builds to a conclusion rife with shocking reveals.” (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
Cynthia Swanson is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Bookseller. An Indie Next selection and the winner of the 2016 WILLA Award for Historical Fiction, The Bookseller has been translated into a dozen languages. Cynthia has published short fiction in numerous journals and been a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives with her family in Denver, Colorado. The Glass Forest is her second novel.
The mystery in The Glass Forest is a solid whodunnit, but this novel is so much more. It's both an atmospheric suspense and a gripping multi-generational saga, all infused with the bleak desperation of the post-war era. Brazen and courageous heroines show, with unflinching honesty, the ugly sexism that could fester inside a mid-century marriage. A rich and unforgettable read!
— Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of THE BLACKBIRD SEASON
There is no safe place to turn and no one to trust in Cynthia Swanson’s stirring new thriller, The Glass Forest. Readers will be captivated by this haunting post-war tale of secrets, manipulation, and lost innocence. With a cast of utterly unique and fearless female characters, Swanson turns traditional family relationships upside down to reveal the darkness that lies beneath.
— Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE
The Glass Forest is the story of three strong women in the 1960s, one of whom has disappeared. Part family saga, part mystery, part coming of age, this richly detailed historical novel is both a fascinating portrait of a woman’s life during this time and a meticulously plotted thriller. I absolutely devoured this gripping and beautifully written novel.
— Jillian Cantor, author of MARGOT and THE LOST LETTER
Atmospheric and unsettling, The Glass Forest depicts, with razor sharp edges, the walls we don't see until we find ourselves trapped within them—and the chilling, emotional panorama of the view from the inside looking out."
— Jessica Strawser, author of ALMOST MISSED YOU
[S]tunning… Swanson uses exquisitely rendered characters and an intricately woven plot to explore the cultural and political fallout of WWII, as well as the changing role and limited rights of women in the mid–20th century. This intoxicating slow burn builds to a conclusion rife with shocking reveals.
A haunting novel.
In her follow-up to The Bookseller, Swanson demonstrates her signature trait: a consistent, superbly executed sense of knife-edge disquiet, just bordering on anxiety. She maintains a fast pace without sacrificing literary quality, and multiple characters are developed with unfolding disclosures without losing their individual connections to the reader. VERDICT On the heels of a stunning debut, this outstanding psychological thriller is a triumph. Swanson is a name to be considered among the likes of Gillian Flynn, Chris Pavone, and Laura Lippman.