Greenie Duquette is a New York mother, wife and cake-maker who turns her family's world upside down by taking a job cooking for the Governor of New Mexico.

While Greenie and her four-year-old son George move west, her psychotherapist husband Alan remains in New York wondering if his marriage is over.

Glass's novel is like a patchwork quilt, working from one character to the next and filling each square with reason and doubt and humanity.

This is a deeply moving story of both laughter and tears. Turmoil and triumph ebb and flow around everyone and Glass uses the different characters as prisms to compare and contrast such life fundamentals as parenthood, love, loss and fate.

The only thing I found frustrating was the novel's cover blurb revealing that the story would culminate in the Twin Towers tragedy on September 11. For me this robbed individual moments of great storytelling by having every action and revelation constantly overshadowed by the thought 'but do they survive?' In a story that focuses so strongly on fate, the heavy hand of inevitability is a huge disappointment. If you read the novel again it is easier to concentrate on the here-and-now of Glass's narrative - but as The Whole World Over proves, it's seldom in life we get a second chance. Amy Crowther