Through Glass Eyes

Written by Margaret Muir
Review by Silvia Barlaam

Through Glass Eyes is a family saga set in Yorkshire, starting in 1896. The author republished it independently after its first run under the previous publisher’s chosen title of The Twisting Vine.

The cover is not impressive (a photo of a manor) but added to the classic-looking font chosen for the title, it does indicate that this is, indeed, an historical fiction book. Of mention is the presence of the title’s doll on the back cover, which is a nice touch.

The story follows the life of Lucy Oldfield, from her troubles as a young maid to mature independence, traveling as far away as India and finally finding love. In true saga style, several side characters enter Lucy’s life. Some will be integral part of the story, like her illegitimate son James and his love interests, Alice and Grace. Some will create serious trouble for Lucy and her friends, such as the fiendish Stan Crowther. The first World War’s harsh reality colours the background of the saga, and then the collapsing of the British Empire is hinted at, along with the changes in society.

The events in the story are followed through the glass eyes of the doll Lucy steals at the beginning of the book. It would have been ideal to take advantage of the republishing to highlight the role and symbology of the doll, which is at times neglected. However, the narrative structure is strong and in firm hands, providing the readers with not only colour, historical accuracy and plenty of understated emotional turmoil, but also a very satisfying and moving conclusion.