On her popular blog, Women’s Fiction Writers, Amy Sue Nathan often asks other writers to define women’s fiction. I have a new answer, "The Glass Wives."
The premise of this novel is intriguing: when Evie’s ex-husband dies in a car accident, she must create a new normal for her ten-year-old twins that may or may not include their baby half-brother and Nicole, the woman who destroyed her marriage. Add two devoted girlfriends with their own opinions concerning Evie’s future, and The Glass Wives is a wonderful story about the shifting boundaries of female friendship.
Nothing is predictable; nothing is black or white.
When Nicole suggests sharing living expenses—and Evie’s home—Evie has to decide what is best for her children and what makes a family. As she lets go of her old life, and decides whom to trust, the normal foundations of home and hearth dissolve.
But what I loved most about the story is the way expectations fall apart to reform in gloriously unexpected ways. All Evie’s relationships are tested and stretched as characters surprise each other and the reader. Several times throughout the novel, the actions of others—past and present—force Evie to reassess her core values and put aside personal judgment. As her friend Beth says, “No one is just a collection of her mistakes.”
A devoted mother and friend, Evie is a wonderful heroine, and we cheer her on as she journeys through the practical and emotional repercussions of death. Even when she’s schlepping about the house in her terry robe, nibbling on leftover rugelach and worrying about finances, Evie doesn’t wallow in self-pity. I loved her ability to stand up for her kids and for herself, and to not be intimidated by the opinions of others. Her brutal honesty is refreshing. For example, when she reveals a devastating truth to Nicole, Nicole comments, “You’re lying to hurt me.” Evie’s response is, “No, I’m telling the truth to hurt you.”
I highly recommend this beautifully written debut. I laughed, I held my breath, my heart raced, and I cried. Isn’t that what good women’s fiction does to us?
For more information on Amy Sue Nathan and the story behind the story of The Glass Wives, please visit amysuenathan.com
Barbara Claypole White is the author of The Unfinished Garden, a love story about grief, OCD, and dirt (Harlequin MIRA, August 2012).
* finalist, 2013 Golden Quill Contest
* finalist, 2013 Write Touch Readers' Award Contest
* finalist, 2013 New England Readers' Choice Beanpot Award