The Glass Château by Stephen Kier­nan

The Glass Château by Stephen Kier­nan

From the critically acclaimed author of Universe of Two and The Baker’s Secret, a novel of hope, healing, and the redemptive power of art, set against the turmoil of post-World War II France and inspired by the life of Marc Chagall

World War II is over. Amid jubilation in the streets of France, however, there are throngs of people stunned by the recovery work ahead. Every bridge, road, and rail line, every church and school and hospital, has been destroyed. Disparate factions—from Communists, to Resistance fighters, to those who supported appeasement of the Nazis—must somehow unite and rebuild their devastated country.

Asher lost his family during the war, and in revenge served as an assassin in the Resistance. Burdened by grief and guilt, he wanders through the blasted countryside, stunned by what has become of his life. When he arrives at le Château Guerin, all he seeks is a decent meal. Instead he finds a sanctuary, an oasis even though everyone there is as damaged as him. The people there are calming themselves, and recovering inch by inch, by turning sand into stained glass, and then into windows for the bombed cathedrals of France.

The chateau is a volatile place, and these former warriors are as hard, and fragile, as glass. Each man carries secrets from the war too — Asher has chosen to hide his Jewish faith so he will not be expelled by the devout Catholics who own the chateau. But all of the damaged men are guided by women of courage and affection. And Asher turns out to have a gift for making windows. As the secrets of the chateau’s residents become known one by one, they experience more heated conflict and greater challenges. Yet when they work together in common purpose, they put their fighting aside. And as Asher recovers, he finds a way to turn the recovery of broken men into the healing of a broken country.

Year first published: 2023

Read a review on Jewish Book Council

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