House of Glass
Jen Glass keeps a notebook filled with her to-do lists to tally up her obligations, such as parents' association meetings, volunteering at her children's schools, meetings with the speech therapist who is working with her four-year-old who quit speaking to anyone but family members the year before, and so on. Today, her to-do list sets forth an hour to tour the apartment in which her father recently died and another half hour to deal with the funeral home. As she and her older sister, Tanya, accomplish these tasks, they muse on how disconnected they've felt from their father, who they haven't had any communication with for nearly 30 years. Jen can't help wondering why they are even bothering to look at his home as she takes in the dismal apartment in which he passed away. That night, she has her recurring nightmare featuring a screaming red bird.
"HOUSE OF GLASS is a spell-binding page-turner (I devoured it in two rapt sittings). I was immediately pulled into Jen's life, and then into the terrifying predicament she found herself enduring."
The next day, as she approaches her home, dread fills Jen. Her husband, Ted, has been laid off from his job. Supposedly he is remodeling their bathroom, but his progress has been ridiculously slow. In addition, she has found flirty notes penned by his cute, young assistant from his previous job and doesn't feel that she can confront him about them or his frequent poorly explained absences. In truth, she feels that her marriage, once so strong, is unraveling. That, coupled with young Teddy's problems with speech and a growing distance from Livvy, their teenaged daughter, is sending Jen into a blue funk.
At home, Jen can't help looking in the laundry basket and wondering what Ted, who never helps with laundry, did with his dirty clothes from the day before. Has he hidden them or thrown them away? If so, why? Yet Ted doesn't seem to be covering anything up as he greets her and then warns her that he damaged the floor and wall when he moved the old tub out of the bathroom. Jen is overwhelmed at the sight of the destruction, along with everything else in her life. As she allows Ted to comfort her, she in turn reassures him when he confides that he feels inadequate as a provider. Jen reminds him that, luckily, they have a considerable emergency fund in the bank. Surely, she says, they can weather this interlude until he finds more work. She wonders how she could have doubted him, although she soon has an uneasy feeling about him once again.
A couple of days later, Jen confronts Ted, which leads to a disagreement. Their discussion is interrupted by a knock on their bedroom door. As Jen heads to open it, she worries that Livvy has heard them arguing. Those concerns instantly vanish when she opens the door to find two strange men with her children --- one holding a gun to her daughter's head. Soon, Jen and her family are being held hostage in the basement. The intruders seem to know all about Jen and her family, although they are strangers. How can this be? What unleashed these criminals on the Glass family? An even more urgent question emerges as things start to go south in the most nightmarish way: Will Jen and her family actually survive?
Sophie Littlefield’s HOUSE OF GLASS is a spell-binding page-turner (I devoured it in two rapt sittings). I was immediately pulled into Jen's life, and then into the terrifying predicament she found herself enduring. While certain revelations about Jen's experiences as a girl seemed oddly timed (and possibly even unnecessary), this felt like a minor flaw in an otherwise gripping read.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on February 28, 2014