"The Glass House," | Reviewed by Joan Kletzker
“The Glass House,” by Beatrice Colin, is a book you can just sink into. Antonia and her husband live on the family estate in Scotland. The estate has seen better days and money is tight. Antonia is fairly young, but comes across as someone aging too quickly. Her marriage to Malcolm has become stale, nothing acrimonious, just stale.
Antonia’s brother George left the estate years ago. He is a botanist, always on the search for the next rare flower or tree. He and his wife Cicely, who is Indian, live in India and have an 8-year-old daughter named Kitty.
George and Antonia’s father is deceased. He plays a role in this story too.
Out of the blue and unannounced, Cicely and Kitty arrive in Scotland and go to the estate. There is a goal and a mission to be carried out.
Initially Cicely and Antonia play their cards close to their chests, revealing little about themselves. As events play out, readers discover these women are more alike than not. They are unsure about who they are anymore; they regret decisions made. They were formed by the times they lived in and by the strong-will men in their lives. Their marriages are not going well and money is very tight for them both.
The glass house refers to the enormous green house Edward built for exotic plants he found on his travels. Against the backdrop of the glass house, lives are lived and events occur, the glass house becoming increasingly important as the story develops. As the book nears its conclusion, several things happen that change everything.
The writing in this book is eloquent, the descriptions of the flora beautiful to read. References to a bygone era of trains and ships, of letters taking months to arrive give this tale appeal as well. Add to this, a wonderful, surprising end and “The Glass House” makes for a nice story.