The Glass Forest

A Novel

The Glass Forest

The lives of three very different women intersect in shocking ways in this “outstanding psychological thriller” (Library Journal, starred review), by the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookseller.

In the autumn of 1960, Angie Glass is living an idyllic life in her Wisconsin hometown. At twenty-one, she’s married to handsome, charming Paul, and has just given birth to a baby boy. But one phone call changes her life forever.

When Paul’s niece, Ruby, tells them that her father, Henry, has committed suicide and her mother, Silja, has gone missing, the newlyweds drop everything to be by Ruby’s side in the small upstate town of Stonekill, New York.

Angie thinks they’re coming to the rescue of Paul’s grief-stricken young niece, but seventeen-year-old Ruby, self-possessed and enigmatic, resists Angie’s attempts to nurture her. While taking up residence in Henry and Silja’s eerie, ultra-modern house on the edge of the woods, Angie discovers astonishing truths about the complicated Glass family. As she learns about Henry and Silja’s spiraling relationship, and Ruby’s role in keeping them together, and apart, Angie begins to question the very fabric of her own marriage.

As details of the past unfold and Ruby dissects her parents’ state of affairs, the Glass women realize what they’re capable of when it comes to love, secrets, and ultimate betrayal.

As turbulent and electrified as the period it’s set in, The Glass Forest is an “intoxicating slow burn [that] builds to a conclusion rife with shocking reveals.” (Publishers Weekly)
  • Touchstone | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501172106 | 
  • October 2018
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Glass Forest includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Cynthia Swanson. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

In the autumn of 1960, newlyweds Angie and Paul Glass are enjoying the serenity of their home in Door County, Wisconsin, on Lake Michigan when a phone call changes their lives forever. On the line is their seventeen-year-old niece, Ruby, calling to tell them that her father, Paul’s brother, Henry, is dead and her mother, Silja, has disappeared. Angie and Paul fly to the small town of Stonekill, New York, to be by Ruby’s side. Through Silja’s flashbacks, Angie’s discovery of astonishing truths, and Ruby’s strategic dissection of her parents’ affairs, a story of love, secrets, and ultimate betrayal is revealed.

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. What is the significance of the opening scene of The Glass Forest, where baby PJ nearly falls out of the canoe?

2. The Glass Forest takes place in the decades following World War II, a time of major transition for women in the United States. How do the political and cultural shifts influence the female see more

About the Author

Cynthia Swanson
Photograph by Glenda Cebrian Photography

Cynthia Swanson

Cynthia Swanson is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Bookseller. An Indie Next selection and the winner of the 2016 WILLA Award for Historical Fiction, The Bookseller has been translated into a dozen languages. Cynthia has published short fiction in numerous journals and been a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives with her family in Denver, Colorado. The Glass Forest is her second novel.

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