Customer Reviews for

Sea Glass: A Novel

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

well-written historical fiction

In 1929, Honora and Sexton Beecher move into their New Hampshire home. Honora loves her new place though it needs plenty of work. She adores her traveling salesman-husband until she learns why he is so successful at selling typewriters as he plays games with the truth...
In 1929, Honora and Sexton Beecher move into their New Hampshire home. Honora loves her new place though it needs plenty of work. She adores her traveling salesman-husband until she learns why he is so successful at selling typewriters as he plays games with the truth. Soon Honora realizes that he stretches veracity with her too.

When the economy tanks, Sexton loses his job and accepts employment at the mill where conditions are atrocious and pay and hours are despicable. Sexton joins a group of union organizers protesting the inhuman factory conditions. Through her husband, Honora meets union activist McDermott and preadolescent worker Francis. As Honora increasingly loses respect for Sexton, she turns to the seemingly more honest McDermott and an upper class friend Vivian for probity. With a strike looming, Honora joins the oppressed against the wishes of her spouse.

SEA GLASS is a well-written historical fiction novel that provides the audience with a window to the impact of the Great Depression on various social classes. The tale is deep as readers observe the dangerous factory conditions a half century after Dickens as it impacts the blue-collar worker. The efforts to maintain moral standards by the middle class are cleverly described. Finally the influence with the stock market collapse on the upper crust makes for a rounded novel. Ms. Shreve is at her best with this triumphant look back to New Englanders on the verge of ruin.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on December 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

GOOD READ, COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT THE FOUL LANGUAGE

The story was heartwarming and will take you back into time. I just finished reading Light on Snow and the vulgar language was non-existent, this book however had its fair share of language and made up for what was not in the prior book. Anita, you are a talented tale...
The story was heartwarming and will take you back into time. I just finished reading Light on Snow and the vulgar language was non-existent, this book however had its fair share of language and made up for what was not in the prior book. Anita, you are a talented talented writer and you don't need to incorporate vulgar language (my daughter calls it dropping the 'f' bomb, and you could have blown up my home with the occurences of this word) to get your story communicated. I wanted to share this with my mother and grandmother who both love to read but will not because of the language. I also would have given a much greater rating (would have received 5 stars instead of 3) but reduced due to this element.

posted by Anonymous on November 16, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2005

    GOOD READ, COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT THE FOUL LANGUAGE

    The story was heartwarming and will take you back into time. I just finished reading Light on Snow and the vulgar language was non-existent, this book however had its fair share of language and made up for what was not in the prior book. Anita, you are a talented talented writer and you don't need to incorporate vulgar language (my daughter calls it dropping the 'f' bomb, and you could have blown up my home with the occurences of this word) to get your story communicated. I wanted to share this with my mother and grandmother who both love to read but will not because of the language. I also would have given a much greater rating (would have received 5 stars instead of 3) but reduced due to this element.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2010

    I am stuck between a two and three star on this one

    I ended up adding a third star because I liked the history behind this book, but I just could not get into it. I tried reading it over the fourth and found myself easily distracted by almost anything that came my way. I liked the characters well enough, but their was eventually so many of them, it was hard to remember who was who. Many of the characters personalities change as the book goes on and that also makes it hard to keep track. I think the fact that I kept putting this book down for days at a time also did not help.
    Also- the end is very depressing. So, I would not describe this as a feel good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2003

    Not quite...

    After reading Fortune's Rocks, I became intrigued with Anita Shreve's writing and stories, so I decided to read Sea Glass. It is the kind of book that begins slowly, making you wonder if it will ever go anywhere, then turns into a book you can't put down for about 200 pages. After the 200 pages of excitement, comes the abrupt and unsatisfying end. The details of the conditions endured in the time period Anita Shreve is writing about were very well-described and the book though its story is kind of weak, has some great points which make it worth the time spent reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2003

    A romantic twist in a novel that otherwise lacks substance.

    <DD>I have never read any other books by Anita Shreve so I could not tell you if this was her best or her worst. However, I can tell you I was mildly content in reading this novel. <BR> <DD>'Sea Glass' begins in 1929, when Sexton Beecher, a typewriter salesman, marries bank clerk, Honora. They decide to make their home in a rundown New England beach house. Honora is a fulltime homemaker and besides the usual things homemakers do, Honora loves to take long walks on the beach and collect bits of colored glass. Life seems to perfect, that is until the stock market crashes and they have to struggle to keep their home.<BR> <DD>I have to say that the beginning of this book makes very little sense. In fact if I had not been reading it for school, I probably would have put it down. The novel is told from the viewpoint of five different characters, however, they are not tied together until quite a ways through the novel. I feel that if the author had tied the characters together sooner, it would have made an overall better book. Although that could have been part of her style... what do I know?<BR> <DD>The book is told from the viewpoint of many characters, but I don¿t feel that any of them were developed as well as they could have been. This is most obvious when you notice that they all sound exactly the same, despite the fact that they all come from very different backgrounds. Also, Vivian, who is a wealthy women who lives down the beach, and Honora become quick friends in this novel. But why? Nothing ever happens between them, all of a sudden they are just friends. The romance between Sexton and Honora also makes little sense; the dynamics of their relationship are never really shown until it is obviously shattered. <BR> <DD>The characters in this novel lack development, however, the symbolism of the sea glass is very well thought out. In this book sea glass is used to represent many things. When Sexton heaves it all over the room, it represents the end that will come to their relationship. When McDermott, a mill worker from the city, and Honora are collecting it on the beach, you first see McDermott¿s absolute hate for Sexton. Sea glass is used in this novel like no wording could be to describe the characters and their relationships with each other.<BR> <DD>It does seem to take a long time to get to the end of this book, but I have to say the last seventy pages are the best part of the novel. The feelings that Honora and McDermott have for each other finally come out in one scene that really made me forget about the lack of substance this novel had. Hey what can I say, I¿m a romantic! <BR> <DD>I will not give away the ending to this novel, I will only say that it ends rather abruptly, which made it all the more disappointing. I think that if you like stories with an element of romance and of suspense, and you are willing to read about 250 pages to get to it, you will like this novel. <BR>

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2003

    A Good Tale

    I was impelled to read this book since I loved "Fortune's Rocks" and knew that this book was a spin-off. I had hoped to learn more about what became of Olympia & Haskell, but there are only a few hints and mentions of our Fortune's Rocks heroes. I couldn't believe I had never heard of the Halifax Disaster in 1917, and am glad Shreve brought this tragic chapter in Canadian history to light. I enjoyed reading this story -- it's an easy, fast read, but it's not her best work. It's a bittersweet ending, but most of her characters face similiar endings in her other novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2002

    Just Okay

    I love Shreve's writing. I have read 3 other Shreve books, and plan to read more, but I found Sea Glass unsatisfying. I didn't feel like I knew her characters as well in this book, maybe because it is written from so many different points of view (which some people might like). I felt like some of the characters just weren't as believeable as I would have hoped.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2002

    Everything is Subjective

    While the labor movement and economic conditions are unsettling in the book, the sea glass passages are very beautiful. I don't know what it is about Shreve's books, but I always read her pop ending and feel like I have seen an underside of life that I don't like. Other readers probably love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2002

    a bit unusual I thought

    I thought this book was quite unusual, in storyline as well as style of writing. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I have others by Anita Shreve. However it was an easy, fast read which is enjoyable at times.

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    Posted October 1, 2010

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