Shattered Glass (Secrets)
by Teresa Toten
Summary from Goodreads:
Fake courage is better than no courage at all.
Toni has always had nightmares about fire, and she also has burn scars but no idea how she got them. So when fire destroys the orphanage she has grown up in, she is ready to make her way to Toronto, where she hopes to discover the truth about the mother she believes hurt and then abandoned her. Toronto proves to be both daunting and exciting for Toni, whose charm and innocence attract attention—not always positive—wherever she goes. Buoyed by the music she hears at the folk club where she finds a job, and encouraged by her glamorous landlady, Toni unearths shocking information that contradicts everything she believes and makes her re-evaluate what she feels for all the new people in her life.
About the Author:
My earliest and most fervent ambition was to grow up and take my rightful place among the other mermaids. When cruel and insensitive adults crushed that dream by insisting that mermaids did not exist, I settled on the more mature aspiration of becoming an intergalactic astronaut. Then I realized that math would likely be involved. So, in the end, I went to Trinity College at the University of Toronto where I got a BA and then an MA in Political Economy taking great care not to take a single English or Creative Writing class. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was never ever going to be a writer. That would be silly, fanciful and well, unrealistic. And then I started to write…
When I started reading this book, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. The first chapter was confusing and I wasn’t sure if that was an indicator of how the rest of the book would be. It’s possible I was jumping to conclusions because I hadn’t had much luck with the last few books I read, and going through a slump is never fun. A couple of chapters later, the confusion and my prejudice faded away and I got hooked.
Toni was forced to go to Toronto after the orphanage she grew up in burnt down. When she got to the city, she realized that she knew nothing about the world outside the orphanage. For the first time in her life, she was on her own and of course she was very innocent which was to be expected.
Toni’s character was likable and I didn’t mind her naivete at all, although I worried it would get her in trouble in such a big city. The only time it bothered me was when she kept thinking -and convinced herself that every single man was her father. I expected more from Toni because up until that point, she had proven that she was smart about that kind of thing (if not street smart). So Toni was on a quest to find out where she came from and along the way she met people (both good and bad, but mostly good) and I must say that her journey was a really interesting one. I loved all the secondary characters and I was really invested in the story, rooting for Toni the whole time. I was pleasantly surprised with the romance, because I wasn’t expecting it and it was so sweet! Then towards the end I totally broke down and cried. I don’t remember the last book that made me cry but I was so glad to finally come across a book that made me FEEL. In the end they turned to tears of joy, because ultimately it was a beautiful story.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
4.5 out of 5 stars
BOX SET OF 7 PAPERBACKS – THE SECRETS
Author Q & A
1.How did you decide to become a writer?
Almost by accident. My career was with the federal government. I loved politics. But then I decided to say home with my babies. After the birth of my second child and to save my sanity, I took a Writing for Children Workshop and my head exploded. THIS was it. From that moment on, I never wanted to do anything else whether I was published or not. I was going to be a writer, a writer, a writer. . . .
2.What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I LOVE rewriting!! The sweat and terror of the blank page is over, as is the fear of not knowing where you’re going or how to get there. Now, draft after draft is just about making it better and shinier each time with the help of family, my writing group and truly dedicated editors. That part is delicious.
3.How did you come up with the idea for Shattered Glass?
First, we came up with the unifying concept for all 7 writers. An orphanage burns down in 1964. There is nowhere for the senior girls to go, so armed with a few dollars and a couple of clues, each girl sets out to find out “who they really are.” My character, Toni comes to Toronto. I felt that a very sheltered girl from a small town landing in a city on the brink of the wild sixties would be fascinating to explore and research. And it really was!
4.Could you tell me more about the Secrets project? Did all the authors know how the stories of the other girls would go or was it a surprise?
Each author (and what a roster of talent we have!!) knew the concept of course. And as detailed as it was, it is remarkably opened ended, allowing the writers a great deal of freedom to write to their passions and interests. We also met early on in the process to hammer out a “bible” of back stories and character traits and common secondary characters. This bible was revised many, many times. We all knew roughly where each orphan was headed but as a group, little more than that. When everyone had their first few chapters, I read them, and alerted certain writers that they could potentially trip over someone else’s storyline etc. Then we handed all of our drafts over to Sarah Harvey our editor at Orca who did the seriously heavy lifting and keeping us in line. The completed stories were a wonderful surprise to the authors
5.Shattered Glass was an emotional read for me. What do you hope other readers will take from Toni’s story?
There are a lot of emotions packed into Toni’s story. It’s a hard but ultimately hopeful journey that she’s on. If I had a wish, it would be that Toni makes my readers smile and touches them in some way. My father died when I was a baby. My immigrant mother worked two, sometimes three, jobs in a week. She worked during the day, on Saturdays and two nights a week. So, in many ways, I was a child loose on the streets of Toronto but I was also incredibly, alarmingly naive. I believed (as I still do today) that although there is inherent evil in the world—that most people are truly decent and good. That operating premise has got me into a bit of trouble over the years, but I wouldn’t change a thing.