• W.S. Petty

The Castle in a Glass Bottle - Book Review

The Castle in a Glass Bottle, M J Raye. A book review by W.S. Petty.

For this book review I’ve chosen the little-known, independent and first-time author,

M J Raye.

[Amazon US] - [Amazon UK]

The Castle in a Glass Bottle was recommended to me by my friend Dave. This was a good thing too, as I’d probably never have found the book otherwise.


A coming of age story, it features a young lady called Ella. Ella hasn’t long begun to attend University, but her life is turned upside-down when her sister, Jessica, is tragically killed. With secrecy and mystery surrounding Jessica’s death, Ella sets out to discover what happened to her sister. She discovers along the way that Jess’s profession was a dangerous one, that she had otherwise unknown talent and a love interest!

Throughout the story Ella’s own life continues to unfold, with some intriguing sub plots which brings the character of Ella to life in a believable and relatable way. She meets a love interest of her own, Tom, juggles friends and family and takes incredibly brave action in a difficult situation.


The book takes us from Ella’s home in Kent, to Edinburgh and down to Southend-on-Sea. The latter two locations being very familiar to me, from my own travels in and around the UK.

This is a superbly written debut novel by M J Raye. The writing style is easy to follow, the characters and their interactions are believable, if a little too drearily realistic in a few places. Above all else, this story kept me wanting to know what comes next. My biggest criticism? The ending could have been a little more dramatic.

It’s listed under “contemporary romance fiction” on Amazon, but I think there’s enough secrecy and subterfuge in the plot to warrant “mystery” also.

All in all, a GOOD book which I would certainly recommend to others.

Available on Amazon kindle only [US] - [UK]

If you’d like to discuss any of the points which I have made in any of my reviews, please copy a web link into a Tweet and @WSPetty with your comments. That way we can discuss openly your thoughts or concerns.

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