Have you ever collected sea glass? Beautiful little pieces of color with the edges dulled from the waves and movement of the water? Well, that's the title of this book and I'm sure it's supposed to have more meaning than just being the pretty bits that Honora picks up on the beach. But guessing at that meaning is a task; as the author could have just liked the hobby or maybe she was trying to say something more about how people are shaped by the situations around them and their environment. Whatever it may be, it's a nice theme.
has recently married a typewriter salesman (Sexton) and they've settled
into life in a house on the beach. They are just the caretakers, and
have set to work restoring the place, but then the opportunity comes to
buy it and they decide to. Shortly thereafter, the stock market crashes
and their world comes falling apart as well. When he loses his job as a
salesman, Sexton takes a job at the local textile mill and becomes
swept up in a plot for a strike, and he drags Honora in with him.
is probably the best character in this book, which is a good thing
since she is the main one. I liked her hobby of collecting sea glass,
but that was about the only way I connected with her. She was a strong
character, but something with her didn't resonate with me. Maybe it's
because she allowed her stronger willed husband to control her (with
only little spats of independence). Her husband I didn't like at all.
He was untruthful, oily, and there wasn't anything written about him
that would make me like him any better. I think he was supposed to be
the bad guy of sorts. Honora's friends Vivian was also pretty
interesting and I think the women are the more developed characters in
this book. A few of the others, like the boy Alphonse and a couple of
the strike leaders could have been very interesting characters, but I
don't think they were developed enough.
I actually found the plot
a little dull. It started out reading like a romance because of the
marriage but then got into the intrigue of the strike and the Great
Depression and everything that was happening so it was almost as if the
book was confused to what it should be. Had it just been a romance I
couldn't have really faulted it for being slow moving, but since it was
supposed to be more than that, I don't think it should have drug on the
way that it did. I guess I just expect less from romances and expected
more from this book since it is a solid work of historical fiction. The
writing is beautiful though. Shreve has a way with words and you can
definitely see the detail, especially when she is talking about the sea
glass and Honora's love for it.
I liked the writing but didn't
enjoy the story. If you're already a fan of Shreve's work and style you
may appreciate the book more than I did. But for me, this was just an