Book Review: The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

The Glass Ocean
Book Title and Author: The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White
Publication Date and Publisher: September 4, 2018, by William Morrow
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Adult Fiction
Pages: 416 pages
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Date Read:August 14, 2018 (e-arc)

4.25 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis: 

From the New York Times bestselling authors of The Forgotten Room comes a captivating historical mystery, infused with romance, that links the lives of three women across a century—two deep in the past, one in the present—to the doomed passenger liner, RMS Lusitania.

May 2013
Her finances are in dire straits and bestselling author Sarah Blake is struggling to find a big idea for her next book. Desperate, she breaks the one promise she made to her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother and opens an old chest that belonged to her great-grandfather, who died when the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat in 1915. What she discovers there could change history. Sarah embarks on an ambitious journey to England to enlist the help of John Langford, a recently disgraced Member of Parliament whose family archives might contain the only key to the long-ago catastrophe. . . .

April 1915
Southern belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter’s marriage is in crisis. Her formerly attentive industrialist husband, Gilbert, has become remote, pre-occupied with business . . . and something else that she can’t quite put a finger on. She’s hoping a trip to London in Lusitania’s lavish first-class accommodations will help them reconnect—but she can’t ignore the spark she feels for her old friend, Robert Langford, who turns out to be on the same voyage. Feeling restless and longing for a different existence, Caroline is determined to stop being a bystander, and take charge of her own life. . . .

Tessa Fairweather is traveling second-class on the Lusitania, returning home to Devon. Or at least, that’s her story. Tessa has never left the United States and her English accent is a hasty fake. She’s really Tennessee Schaff, the daughter of a roving con man, and she can steal and forge just about anything. But she’s had enough. Her partner has promised that if they can pull off this one last heist aboard the Lusitania, they’ll finally leave the game behind. Tess desperately wants to believe that, but Tess has the uneasy feeling there’s something about this job that isn’t as it seems. . . .

As the Lusitania steams toward its fate, three women work against time to unravel a plot that will change the course of their own lives . . . and history itself. 

My Review: 

I have to admit that this is the first time that I’ve read a book authored by either Beatriz Williams or Lauren Willig, but I’ve been a long-time reader and fan of Karen White’s books so when I saw that she had co-authored The Glass Ocean, I just knew I had to get my hands on this book!

My desire to read it was certainly rewarded as this is a fabulously written historical novel that kept me enthralled for the day it took me to read it! Plus, I found two new authors to love in Williams and Willig and already have several of their books waiting to (very soon) be read on my bookshelf…I love it when that happens, don’t you?

The story is told from the perspective of three different women, all strong, resilient, vivid, yet very distinct personalities. It is hard to say which one of the three that I loved the most because I just loved all three! 

Two of the women are traveling to London in 1915 on the RMS Lusitania even though there is a threat of German U-boats: there is the beautiful, wealthy, Caroline Telfair Hochstetter, who is traveling with her very distant husband Gilbert in first-class. She’s desperately trying to hold onto his attention while trying to ignore feelings that are be stirred by an old beau. 

Then there is very clever Tessa Fairweather, or should I say, Tennessee Schaff, a young forger and con artist who desperately wants to start a new, crime-free life in London if she can pull off one last big heist, a heist that puts her squarely in the path of Caroline in ways that neither would ever foresee when they boarded the majestic ship. 

In the present day, there is Sarah Blake, a young author, struggling to pay for the care of her Alzheimer’s ridden mother. She’s just discovered her next book idea after reading the trunkful of papers belonging to her great-grandfather, who was a porter aboard the Lusitania when he died. She needs answers to the mystery that she’s discovered, so she makes her way to England and enlists the help of John Langford, great-grandson of Robert Langdon, who knew her grandfather when he was also aboard the ship when it met its tragic fate.

Although at times I could tell White’s distinctive writing voice throughout the novel, what I thought made this novel so enchanting was how flawlessly all three of the writer’s voices combined into storytelling perfection. The writing is just beautiful, the research is meticulous, and each chapter seamlessly blends into the next one as you read with bated breath this novel of mystery, adventure, espionage, and romance. A masterful read! 

If you love historical fiction, then you definitely need to pick up The Glass Ocean! Or if you are a fan of any of these authors, then you will enjoy this one! I know that I can’t wait to read another novel by these three fabulous collaborators! 

**Thank you Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC in exchange for my fair and honest review.**

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21 thoughts on “Book Review: The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

    1. I thought the same thing, Joanne! I wonder if each author wrote one of the female protagonists and then they each filled in the backstory together. It was just so well done! I bet it was fun to write as well! Oh, really? I’m glad to hear you’re a fan! I just bought Summer Wives and Cocoa Beach and really hope to get to them before the years out. They both look so good!!

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    1. Thank you! I really did. It seems that I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction this year, which is great since I’ve loved it since I was a kid. But I generally read mostly mysteries, suspense, thrillers, etc, so it’s a change! But a good change so far! Hopefully you will get a chance to read some soon. 🙂

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      1. The Clockmaker’s Daughter? If so, me too! It’ll be my first time reading her books even though I have 3 or 4 on my bookshelf!! I’m excited to read it since. I’ve heard such good things about her! Glad you’re excited to read one of your favorites!

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  1. I have read all three authors, and I wonder if I hadn’t, if it would be a easier for me to craft a theory on who wrote what? I love that you “felt” KW’s style while you were reading. Lovely review, Stephanie! This is a special book, and now you need to read The Forgotten Room when you have a chance! ♥️

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    1. Oh, I don’t know! I didn’t think about that! If I had to guess, I think that KW wrote Caroline…she seemed to have that sass and bite her other female characters do, but I could be wrong! Thank you so much; I was so glad to finally get it reviewed since I enjoyed it so much!! Oh!! It’s on my TBR but now you have me wanting to read it asap, lol! Just as soon as I get through the 15 ARCs that I ended up with for Oct (and I said I wouldn’t accept more than 5!! Good grief, lol). I have only 1 for Nov and 1 for Dec, so I’ll get to it one of those months since I have nothing else to do 😉 ❤

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      1. Oh wow, I think I’d be in tears, haha! I have 10 during the 2nd and 3rd week-5 each on the 9th and 16th, lol! How I managed that I have no idea since I usually try to avoid more than 2 books releasing on the same day. We probably do-and I think we have some that are the same! I saw you were reading The Kennedy Debutante soon. I just finished it yesterday. I’m sure we have others! I think we both have The Dream Daughter (it’s fabulous if you haven’t read it yet and the main character went to UNC, lol) and The Clockmaker’s Daughter-that will be my 1st Kate Morton even though I have several of her books unread, haha! ❤

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      2. I am trying to sneak one in early here or there, but wow, it’s a bunch. Yes, I have all those coming up, and I, too, have Kate Morton books “saved” for later. Same with some Chamberlain books. Getting ARCs pushes me to actually read books and not save them. If I buy them, which has been often, I don’t read them enough! ♥️ Pouring rain here still- ugh!

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      3. You do have a bunch! I’m trying to read my Oct ones now, but my reading has slowed down even though I’m not working (I don’t know if I told you but I quit my job entirely because of the stress and my medical problems. My Dr wanted my to do it last yr, but I didn’t want to but after my scare, I’m ready to focus on taking care of me!). But homeschooling takes a lot more time than I thought, lol. She wants to do so much work…tires me out! You sound like me! 💖 I buy and save them then read other ones! I hope it stopped raining! It did here but it’s still windy.

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      4. I am glad you quit- if you can do it, it makes all the best sense in the world because now you can focus on you and your health. ♥️ I’m glad you were still able to homeschool, even if it is tiring. Yes, the rain finally stopped for now- more thunderstorms expected? And very windy still! Hope this will give those that are completed flooded a break and some relief! 💗

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  2. Great review. I always find it fascinating when a book is co-authored, like the dynamic behind writing it – I wonder it each author wrote a perspective. And I find it so interesting that you could recognise White’s writing, I wonder if fans of Beatriz Williams or Lauren Willig were able to recognise theirs.

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    1. Thank you, Janel! I do too. They must really work well together to be able to write so well together (any author who collaborates). I read an interview with these three today, and they said they each wrote a character and then filled in parts of the plot. I think that’s how I could tell White’s writing. I’m pretty sure she wrote the southern “belle” character, Caroline. Most of her books are set in South Carolina or Georgia, and the character just reminded me of her other female characters in spirit, if that makes sense? I did read a review where another person thought they picked up on I think Williams’ sense of humor in one of the characters and thought she must have written her. It would be interesting to know who wrote who!

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      1. Maybe, in good time, the authors will reveal who wrote which character, it’ll be so interesting to know. Usually I’d say you want the writing to be seamless as in you don’t know who wrote which bit, but due to three perspectives, I think it was beneficial to notice each writer as a distinctive voice 🙂

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      2. Maybe! It would be fun to know! The funny thing is that the book does read pretty seamlessly. You can just pick up on some of the idiosyncrasies of the characters that kinda give a clue or seem familiar from the author’s writing. Or I’m way reading into the character, LOL. But I think since they each said they wrote one of the three female characters, that they’d have to leave their mark on her in someway. I agree with you! 🙂

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