Listed as a novel, I found Glimmerglass to be enchanted and quirky. It feels more like a fantasy
or gothic mystery than a prosaic "novel," a fairly new genre that is indefinable. The story grasps the reader and leads them along a path filled with new concepts, unusual relationships, and a dark and mysterious cellar.
There is a sense of the poetic here, mixed with elegant prose to help us find the characters' personalities and motivations. The protagonist, Cynthia, is exposed from the first page to the strange family that owns the cottage she is interested in renting. She doesn't really know what drew her to the bizarre community of Cooper Patent, but there she is, waiting in front of the closed door for the neighbor to show her the funky cottage.
The book is divided into three sections, each with a different slant or twist to the ongoing story. Cynthia begins to re-establish herself as an artist, doing portraits.
In doing so, she begins to find her place with the whimsical residents of her new hometown. The Wilds, who own the cottage, consist of two half-brothers and the odd Iz Hix, who is also related... somehow. They begin to worm their way into Cynthia's good graces. There is a peculiar contrast in the brothers Teddy and Andrew, and our maiden soon discovers a fact Iz left out: they are her landlords. Living in a grand Georgian home, they commission her to paint their portraits, to add them artfully to the walls full of old ancestral pictures, grown musty and frail in their maturity.
Soon, there is a love interest, a mysterious boy flickering around Lake Glimmerglass, and half-told tales of ghosts, disappearing family members, and secrets galore. Cynthia navigates as bravely and cautiously as she can, but like the reader, she is caught up in the town's mysteries.
When the creek floods, she finds herself adrift and bemused. There is, of course, more to the story, much more. Layer upon layer, you will have to unravel each piece of the story with an open mind.
This is an amazing book and engaging tale. I sat with the finished book in my lap and wondered where this remarkable author found her muse and created such a oddly lovely place, peopled with the strange, laced with the usual human emotions--jealousy, fear, love and curiosity. I fully intend to read this again, and to explore some of Youmans' other writing.