The Cottage at Glass Beach: A Novel

The Cottage at Glass Beach: A Novel

by Heather Barbieri


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062107978
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Series: P.S.
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 302
Sales rank: 852,269
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

The author of two previous novels, The Lace Makers of Glenmara and Snow in July, Heather Barbieri has won international prizes for her short fiction. She lives in Seattle with her family.

What People are Saying About This

Melissa Parcel

“Threads of magical realism throughout the book are quite appealing, and the seaside setting is enchanting.”

Margot Livesey

“The Lace Makers of Glenmara is richly peopled and beguilingly charming but what ultimately makes it so moving is Heather Barbieri’s deep understanding that no life is immune from sorrow and difficulty. I read this wonderful novel with enormous pleasure.”

Marisa de los Santos

“Part seaside fairytale, part exploration of real-world tensions....Let yourself be transported to Burke’s Island, a salt-tinged place steeped in legends of selkies and shipwrecks, but also full of bruised and hopeful people making their wayward, human ways toward happiness.”

Melinda Bargreen

“Where Barbieri shines is in her depiction of the microcosm of the island and in the strong links between the generations. Nora discover that ‘Everything is connected. The geography of the island, of the soul,’ and Barbieri makes that connection real.”

Susan Maguire

“Barbieri does such a wonderful job setting up the beauty and mystery of the island and its rich Gaelic roots that it is not a stretch to ask the reader to imagine that the place is also magical. A wonderful, subtle, transporting story.”

Sarah Jio

“Heather Barbieri’s The Cottage at Glass Beach is a moving, heartfelt story told with vivid description. Open the book and listen—you’ll hear the waves crashing onto the shore.”

Joanne Harris

The Lace Makers of Glenmara is a charming, moving story, written with a delicate touch.”

Tara Quinn

“A must read for fans of Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells.”

Nancy Carty Lepri

“Ms. Barbieri’s writerly sense of whimsy and retrospection implies that anyone can work through adversity to happiness - if only the volition is present.”

Nancy Thayer

“The Cottage at Glass Beach, an enchanting novel about mothers and daughters on an isolated island, is a romantic, delicious read. Barbieri’s beautiful writing and beguiling world view revel in the realities and the mysteries of the sea and of life itself.”

Karen Campbell

“Barbieri’s deft writing style is charmingly wry yet evocative, with details and descriptions both telling and vivid. . . . . A sweet summertime yarn [that] . . . provides a lovely, leisurely escape to the bucolic charms of the Emerald Isle.”

Customer Reviews

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The Cottage at Glass Beach: A Novel 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
As a small girl of five Nora’s life changed forever when her mother disappeared and her father took her away from the only home she ever knew on Burke’s Island and the Cottage at Glass Beach. Now she finds herself running back to avoid the publicity from the scandal that rocked her world and her marriage and to find sanctuary and refuge for her and her two daughters at least for the summer. As Nora reconnects with family and friends from her past she’s also aware that her mother’s ghost is never far away and her being here is stirring up memories long forgotten, she’s also aware the Island hasn’t changed much since those Irish immigrants, with her ancestors aboard first landed with their legends and myths and as she takes her sentimental journey of discovery she feels those myths and legends alive in her bones and on the Island as well. But Nora’s not alone on her Island and as she makes decisions and changed in her life her daughters are making discoveries of their own and some of them could be very costly indeed. Heather Barbieri took me on a trip of a lifetime with this intuitive, imaginative and beautifully narrated novel. Not only did she give me a family drama but I felt I was in an adult fairy tale as well and in between the power plays of her characters and as her seals barked and her ghosts moaned and her seas crashed into the rocks I was taken away by her words to her world. Her characters were amazing and while some were real flesh and blood she made me wonder if others stepped out of the sea and out of an Irish legend. The main thing the novel made me want was to see where else this talented storyteller could take me. Thank you Ms. Barbieri for a beautiful journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a pragmatist, don't read this book. If you like loose ends tied up, don't read this book, If you hate a confusing ending, don't read this book. I stayed up until the wee hours reading this book, hoping for clarification of some never came. It was a very confusing, unfinished ending. Don't bother reading this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read The Lace Makers, and skip this one. Had all the potential to be a great read, but wasn't. Confusing ending, characters were not developed well, just fizzled
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this for a book club, but I did not enjoy it at all. The story seemed stuck in the sand, never really moved on. Characters seemed shallow and predictable. I am glad it only took me a few hours to read this, but I would not recommend it and will probably not read another by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, but with a VERY unsatisfying ending.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out my full review at Kritters Ramblings Centered around Nora, a woman who has just been devastated by her husband's affair that has gone public, she decides to go back to the last place where she felt safe. With the help of her aunt, she starts to put back the pieces and find a new direction to take for her life.
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
Not on the top of the beach book list for this summer. But an ok read. Characters were not developed enough for me. I was left with too many questions, Owen, Ronan, etc. The mystical connections were never developed enough either. I was left with too many loose ends. BUT, beautiful descriptive writing made this a little more likable.
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
Nora has taken her daughters to Glass Beach, an island off the coast of Maine, to escape the publicity surrounding her husband’s infidelity, publicity due to his being the attorney general of Massachusetts. A mystery surrounds the disappearance of Nora’s mother from Glass Beach years before, a topic not discussed by her father. A strong female relative helps Nora and her daughters adjust to small-town life and answers questions about island secrets. But Nora herself seems weak and uninspiring—yes, she has been hurt by her husband but does she need to hide herself away on the island? Does she need to put up with the rude behavior of her teen daughter? The formula of a wronged woman who musters strength to save her family has been done before. The story was enjoyable but predictable.
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing 11 months ago
When Nora needed a place to escape the spotlight shining on her husband's infidelity, she retreated with her daughters to the island where she was born, the island she and her father left when she was just five years old after her mother disappeared. There Nora finds an aunt who loves her, a cottage that was once a home, and the still unanswered questions about her mother's disappearance. Woven through the story is Irish mythology and a deep and abiding love of the sea.This was a book that once I started, I couldn't put down. The writing style is wonderful, as is the way the author weaves in old fairy stories with ease. Maire and Nora are great characters, and the Annie and Ella are precocious and intelligent children trying to deal with a crumbling family and a new-found love of the sea. I would have given it five stars if more of the questions about Maeve's disappearance has been answered- at the end I still had too many questions about that to be fully satisfied with the narrative. That said, this was a truly enjoyable read; I will certainly pick up other books by the author.
mckait on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Oh the women of the McGann family! Strong minded and strong willed.Ella, one of the youngest not the least by any means. Nora, mother of two daughtersElla and Annie, was the daughter of Maeve. Maeve who had vanished one day when Norawas only a small child of five. She had to memory of what had happened that day.They lived on an island, Maeve and her family. It was the island where she hadgrown up along with her sister Maire. Their father was a fisherman, and the girls,the whole family seemed to have the sea running through their veins. Live lived nextto it and they swam in it, and depended on it to sustain their lives.After Nora's mother disappeared, her father could not remain there with thememories and the doubts, so he took his daughter away. They went to the mainlandand made anew life. He let nothing of the old life touch his daughter. Even whenMaire tried, for years, to reach out to the child, he put a stop to it.Years passed and Nora married and had two daughters of her own. As it can happen,the path she chose had many bumps and turns and when her husband was unfaithful, itwas too much for Nora to take in. But Maire had never given up and a letter arrived.The timing could not have been better. All of the pain and loss that Nara was feelingin her life seemed too much to bear. A trip to her childhood home seemed to be what sheneeded. A place to meet up with long forgotten family, clear her head and decide whatwould come next.History has a way of affecting the present, especially family history. What wouldthe island hold? Would the secrets of her past be revealed? Would Nora find the peaceshe so desperately sought?Recommended for a nice comfortable read, for the beach or a chilly afternoon.
mchwest on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Book had an awesome beginning but went , actually didn't go far enough, nowhere until the end and then left me hanging with too many unanswered questions and too cutesy an ending.
lahochstetler on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Nora Keane has a troubled past and a troubled present. Her mother disappeared when Nora was five, and her marriage has been rocked by an affair. To get away from the scandal of her husband's affair, Nora packs up her two daughters and retreats to the small Maine Island where she was born. At the island Nora tries to sort out her marriage and find out what, exactly, happened to her mother. The island is deeply steeped in Celtic mythology, and residents believe in the magical qualities of the sea. They believe that the sea brings creatures like selkies to aid mortals, and certainly some of the characters on the island have other-worldly qualities. This book is hardly fantasy, but it deals with how mythology functions in people's lives. These beliefs are particularly salient on a small island reliant on a tempestuous ocean for its safety and its livelihood. Though Nora has clearly suffered, she is not always an especially likable character. She doesn't seem to take her older daughter's feelings about her home and father very seriously. I also found the resolution of the final series of events to be entirely unbelievable. In sum, not a bad book, and definitely well-suited to summer reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this story, but was confused at the end. I guess she wanted us to find our own ending?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just when it seemed there might be answers it ended abruptly. Just loose ends. Too bad. So much promise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enough of a preview to encourage me to read the rest of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thebookwormNJ More than 1 year ago
The Cottage at Glass Beach is a beautifully written novel that centers around Nora Cunningham and her two daughters as they leave their Massachusetts home and take a summer trip to Burke’s Island, where Nora grew up. They stay at a cottage at Glass Beach. This is the cottage where Nora grew up, and the same beach where her mother mysteriously disappeared when she was just a child. Nora's husband's infidelity is what prompted the summer getaway. She is at a crossroads in her life and having mixed emotions as she both hates her husband for what he has done and yet cannot completely break free from him. While at Glass Beach Nora reconnects with her estranged Aunt Maire. I enjoyed The Cottage at Glass Beach, I like the mystery woven into the storyline. Aside from the question of what happened to Nora's mother, there's a mysterious stranger who appears on the beach one stormy night with little recollection of how he got there. He is a fisherman named Owen Kavanagh and he soon becomes a part of these peoples daily lives on the beach. Irish fairy tales are a part of the story as Nora reads these myths to her daughters. Nora's youngest daughter Annie finds a friend of the beach as well, a young boy her age who makes he promise not to tell anyone about him. The mysterious events on the island continue as Nora's daughters meet an older man named Reilly, who is a native of the island and was there the day Nora's mother disappeared. Nora discovers hidden truths about her past and about her mother. There are plenty of secrets just under the surface, waiting to be revealed. While I found myself drawn in by the dreamlike quality of the prose, I felt more of an outsider looking in. I didn't fully connect with any of these characters. I felt like there was too much bouncing back and forth from character to character and I was never fully drawn in. Owen washes up on the beach and when he and Nora begin to have a heated conversation, I felt like he was still this stranger and I wondered why she would even be having such an emotional connection to him. I would have liked a bit more character development on the part of Owen. This is a novel about finding oneself, about facing the past in order to move on. I wondered what would become of Nora and her girls and the new people who had come into their lives. The ending of the story surprised me. As I said, the writing captivated me and I could easily envision the sights and sounds of Burke’s Island. I loved the beach side setting and the way the ocean and the mysteries it contains were woven into the plot. I think the author was inspired by one of my favorite novels, Kate Chopin's The Awakening. Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any type of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers and authors, such as this one, I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received a free copy of The Cottage at Glass Beach in exchange for an honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
itsJUSTme-wendy More than 1 year ago
This was, in a word - Amazing! A beautifully written story, excellently developed characters, clearly painted scenes, a page turner from beginning to end. This book did it for me - it had it all. A dysfunctional family - a cheating husband, a rebellious mouthy teen, and a family with a sordid past. It also had a little mystical, magical quality to it that was very unexpected! I loved it. This story was sweet in parts, sometimes made you mad, and was sad in others. I kept tearing up in spots, not sobbing, but just little sad moments. I think maybe this is the kind of book that you won't like as much if you can't relate to it - if you don't have children, if you have never had a man cheat on you, if you have never just wanted to run away and get away from the situation. This book got a lot of negative reviews - I just don't see it. I really liked it! There were a lot of things left unsaid, but what the author doesn't say almost speaks louder than what she does say, the things left unsaid are just as important. And I understand why she did this. In a situation like this you don't know everything. You aren't meant to. The character development was so good.One reviewer said that the kids didn't seem their age. I totally disagree with this! I thought the author got this spot on! They were smart kids, yes. But to me they certainly seemed age appropriate. Seven year old Annie was sweet, loving, and wanted so much to believe in something more - magic. Mouthy 12 year old Ella was... a brat! Aren't most 12 year old girls? They talk back to their mothers, think they know everything, try to rule the world. And even though they act like they know better about every situation than you do - they really don't have a clue. Nora, the mom, I loved her. I thought she made very smart decisions, she did not act quickly or on impulse, I think she had a plan, and I agree with what she did. I also liked the way she handled her children. I was always saying, in reference to my own daughter, you have to choose your battles. You can't yell at them about everything. You have to let some things go, and I thought she did this well. There were also a few minor characters that were also excellently developed. Maire, Nora's Aunt, whom I loved - she reminded me of Stockard Channing (in Practical Magic). And then there was Owen, the mystery man. Yes, he was a mystery, and he was never fully explained but I don't think he needed to be. I think it was better left as a mystery. It was more fun that way. A lot of reviewers also complained about the ending so I was prepared - again I strongly disagree! I thought the ending was just right. I didn't feel left hanging at all! You all know how much I hate a non-endings, but this one definitely was tied up in the end, not everything, no, there some things that you aren't meant to know. That's the whole mystical quality about it. One of my favorite quotes - "Annie began waving. "I'm waving at the waves. They always wave back." - LOL I loved this line! All in all I thought this was a great book! I really enjoyed reading it, every page of it. I loved the "magical realism" and all the angst of it. I loved the beach and the way the author describes everything so you feel like you are right there. Hmm from what I remember, I don't think there was any swearing, there was one sex scene but not graphic at all, you just know that it happened.
BootsieMP More than 1 year ago
Disappointed. I kept hoping the story would take off but it was boring and predictable. Characters lacked depth. Who was Ronan? Nora, mother of two, has sex with guy who washed up on the beach. Never did find out who he really was! Daughters met three different guys on the beach, fixed and sailed a boat and mom never knew? Nora obviously needs to take some time before she makes more life altering choices. Sorry I bought the hardcover!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NahvilleReader More than 1 year ago
Good "chick flick" type book. Overall, the story was well written and enjoyable. I liked the characters and felt it was easy to connect to them. However, I found the way the children were written tiresome and not totally true to their ages. The setting makes the story. Worth reading in paperback.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love sex
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A large den created by sticks and reeds woven together. The protectors and warriors of HurricaneClan rest here.