"Baker is gifted with a surreal, descriptive imagination, and her Victorian world is densely populated with the kind of objects you want to pick up and examine: kaleidoscopes, mechanical birds, glass eyes, hanging orchids. The novel is a cabinet of curiosities stuffed to the gills with fascinating things."
Publishers Weekly (starred):
"Baker's unforgettable tale is rich with nuance, buried passions, and Victorian oddities, offering passage into an extraordinary world."
“[A] hauntingly beautiful debut... Gorgeously written and elegantly evocative, Baker’s prose brings the Dell’oros’ world to life and drives home the tragedy of their fruitless longings.”
"An adventure of dreamlike momentum and romantic intensity, brought alive by a storyteller with uncanny access to the Victorians, not only to the closely-woven texture of their days but also to the dangerous nocturnal fires being attended to in their hearts."
John Banville, author of The Sea
"The Glass Ocean is that rarest of things, a historical novel, or at least a novel set in history, that is also a work of art. Lori Baker is a captivating story-teller, and her prose has the flash and fire of molten glass."
“Carlotta, the hero of debut novelist Lori Baker's The Glass Ocean, was born to love-lorn seafarers whose story she learns slowly and achingly. As facts surface, the past haunts Carlotta, and with the dream-like atmosphere of the novel, the reader is haunted, too. But the setting and the rich characterization of Carlotta's artist father and beautiful mother propelled me through the pages; Baker has a gift for narrating in detail, and the intensity of the love story kept me sucked in.”
“An evocative and transporting debut novel, an impressive work of historical fiction.”
Harry Mathews, author of The Conversions
"The Glass Ocean is breathtakingly good – as though Jean Rhys had come back from the dead to outdo Wide Sargasso Sea. So completely satisfying (as well as satisfyingly disturbing) that at the end one doesn’t wish it would go on forever because the ending itself is so beautifully right. Hat, shirt, and shoes off to a wizard of fiction."
Joanna Scott, author of Arrogance
“The Glass Ocean is a rare accomplishment, its fictional world so delicately and vividly wrought that the narrative takes on the force of an emergent secret history. It is a haunting, beautiful novel, full of mysteries and illuminations.”