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August 20, 2023

The Glass Chateau by Stephen P. Kiernan ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts
graphical representation of the review for The Glass Chateau by Stephen P. Kiernan

A novel of hope, healing, and the redemptive power of art, set against the turmoil of post-World War II France.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of WWII fiction novel The Glass Chateau by Stephen P. Kiernan
June 2023; William Morrow; 978-0063227316
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); WWII fiction

"He ached with longing for them, to relieve the least, the most pedestrian moment with them.  Let them rise on the wind of his memory, rise above the pain of their deaths, elevate far beyond his sorrow.  He knew this now:  Grief was a form of love."
(p 341)

When you read a lot of books like I do, you realize there are good books and not-so-good books.  Occasionally you get a surprise and read a GREAT book -  a book so beautifully written it made me read much slower than usual so I wouldn't miss any of the lyrical sentences.  A book with a main character who you know that you'll never forget - one who touches not only your mind but also your soul.  A book with a theme that gives you a point of view that you've never read before and makes you think.  The Glass Chateau by Stephen P. Kiernan is all that and more.  It's one if the best books that I've read in a long time and I know it will be on my top 10 list for 2023.

As the novel begins, the war in France has been over for a month.  After the celebrations, the people realized what needed to be done to return to normal.  Many people had no homes, every bridge and road had been destroyed, most churches and houses were gone and many families were wiped out.  There were many people alone in the world, wondering how to bring life in France back to some kind of normalcy.  Asher, a young Jewish man, has lost his wife and daughter and had his business destroyed.  In retaliation for the shooting of his loved ones, he has been an assassin in the French resistance.  He knows how many people he killed and one in particular haunts his dreams.  All Asher wants now is peace and forgiveness.  He wanders through the French countryside for a year looking for a place of peace.  Several people tell him that peace can be found in Clovide but no one is exactly sure where it is.  As Asher travels, he is plagued with doubt and fear combined with extreme hunger but he continues his odyssey.  When he finally finds the castle her finds that it is full of a group of men who are as damaged as he is but slowly recovering as they work together to make stained glass windows for the local Catholic cathedral.  When Asher is allowed to stay, he realizes that he must hide his Jewish religion or he fears that they might not let him stay.  There is plenty of food and constant work to make the glass.  Asher finds that he has an artistic talent and begins to enjoy the process of making glass.  Will working with glass - making beautiful glass from common ordinary sand - help Asher find his peace and redemption or are his wounds too deep to be healed?

This is a beautiful well-written novel with fantastic characters. I won't forget Asher and his quest for peace.  

I actually read this book a month ago and I find my mind going back to the story and the characters.  To me, that is a sign of a great piece of fiction.

"Victory does not equal peace."  p 17

Buy The Glass Chateau at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

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