THE GLASS OCEAN – Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White
A Perfect 10
William Morrow
ISBN: 978-0-06264245-5
September 2018

1915 and 2013

Trying to decide on a new topic for her next book, Sarah Blake, who authored a best seller a few years ago, is out of money, and has to pay for her mother's Alzheimer care. Despite being told never to open a chest belonging to her great-grandfather, who died on the Lusitania in 1915, Sarah is desperate for a breakthrough in her writing. She finds a mysterious packet with equally mysterious content that sets her on a journey of discovery that could be history changing.

Traveling to England on a tight budget, Sarah is hoping to enlist the help of politician John Langford, whose own great-grandfather survived the sinking, and went on to write James Bond-like novels. Langford, unfortunately, is going through a very public issue with his ex-wife, has resigned his seat, and isn't especially accommodating to Sarah when she approaches him. But soon, he, too, is intrigued by her theory of what might have happened in the sinking of the ship, and he invites her to his country home where Robert Langford, his great-grandfather, stored all of his works.

In 1915, wealthy Southern belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter is reluctant to sail on the Lusitania with her husband, Gilbert, despite his assurances that the Germans wouldn't dare sink a ship with Americans on board, fearful of getting the United States involved in the war. Caroline wishes her husband paid more attention to her and less to his business, which he refuses to discuss with her. His over protectiveness, or distrust, frustrate Caroline, and when they board the ship, he is even less attentive, and very secretive. They carry an extremely rare and valuable piece of music that Caroline treasures, but Gilbert wants to sell in England.

Also on the ship is Caroline's old friend, Robert Langford, who carries a torch for her. She ends up spending more time with him than with Gilbert, leading to speculation among other upper class passengers that there is more to their relationship.

Tess Fairweather has boarded the Lusitania under her older sister's command. Her goal is to “borrow” and copy the sheet music that the Hochstetters have locked in their safe. A lifelong hustler, Tess has copied masters and other things at her sister's urging. They live hand to mouth, and Tess's sister tells her that their lives will change for the better if she can copy the music and get it to the people who are paying. What she doesn't tell Tess is just who these people are.

THE GLASS OCEAN is a mystery, thriller, and romance wrapped up in a beautifully written compilation by three uber-talented authors. To say this is an un-put-downable book is putting it mildly. I read it in two sittings. A fascinating topic along with incredibly real characters, do not miss this excellent novel. THE GLASS OCEAN is definitely a Perfect 10.

Jani Brooks