The Glassblower of Murano

The Glassblower of Murano

by Marina Fiorato

Paperback(First Edition)

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Overview

Venice, 1681. Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic, and Venetian mirrors are more precious than gold. Jealously guarded by the murderous Council of Ten, the glassblowers of Murano are virtually imprisoned on their island in the lagoon. But the greatest of the artists, Corradino Manin, sells his methods and his soul to the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, to protect his secret daughter. In the present day his descendant, Leonora Manin, leaves an unhappy life in London to begin a new one as a glassblower in Venice. As she finds new life and love in her adoptive city, her fate becomes inextricably linked with that of her ancestor and the treacherous secrets of his life begin to come to light.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312386986
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/26/2009
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 217,769
Product dimensions: 8.36(w) x 5.48(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian and a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare's plays as an historical source. She has worked as an illustrator, an actress, and a film reviewer, and designed tour visuals for rock bands including U2 and the Rolling Stones. Her historical fiction includes The Daughter of Siena, and The Botticelli Secret. Her debut novel, The Glassblower of Murano, was an international bestseller. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice, and now lives in London with her family.

Read an Excerpt

"When Nora had arrived in Venice she felt unmoored – as if she drifted, loosed from harbour, flowing here and there on the relentless arteries of tourism. Carried by crowds, lost in babel of foreign tongues she was caught in a glut of guttural Germans, or a juvenile crocodile of fluorescent French. Wandering, dazed, through San Marco she had reached the famous frontage of the Libreria Sansoviniana in the broglio. Nora fell through its portals in the manner of one stumbling into Casualty in search of much needed medical attention. She did not want to act like a tourist, and felt a strong resistance to their number. The beauty that she saw everywhere almost made her believe in God; it certainly made her believe in Venice...." —from The Glassblower of Murano

Table of Contents

Contents

Chapter 1: The Book,
Chapter 2: Belmont,
Chapter 3: Corradino's Heart,
Chapter 4: Through the Looking Glass,
Chapter 5: The Camelopard,
Chapter 6: The Mirror,
Chapter 7: The Lion and the Book,
Chapter 8: La Bocca del Leone,
Chapter 9: Paradiso Perduto,
Chapter 10: Rendezvous,
Chapter 11: The Merchant of Venice,
Chapter 12: The Dream of a King,
Chapter 13: The Cardinal's Nephew,
Chapter 14: A Rival,
Chapter 15: Treachery,
Chapter 16: A Knife of Obsidian,
Chapter 17: Dead Letter Drop,
Chapter 18: Non Omnis Moriar,
Chapter 19: The Fourth Estate,
Chapter 20: The Eyes of the Old,
Chapter 21: The Island of the Dead (part 1),
Chapter 22: The Island of the Dead (part 2),
Chapter 23: The Vessel,
Chapter 24: Banished,
Chapter 25: The King,
Chapter 26: Purgatorio,
Chapter 27: A Champion,
Chapter 28: The Ambassador,
Chapter 29: Before Dawn,
Chapter 30: Carnevale,
Chapter 31: The Piombi,
Chapter 32: The Lost Heart,
Chapter 33: The Phantom,
Chapter 34: The Mask Falls,
Chapter 35: Pity,
Chapter 36: Mercury,
Chapter 37: The Labours of Spring,
Chapter 38: The Watcher in the Shadows,
Chapter 39: The Notebook,
Chapter 40: The Ruby,
Chapter 41: The Letter (part 1),
Chapter 42: The Letter (part 2),
Chapter 43: At the Do Mori,
Chapter 44: Leonora's Heart,
A Reading Group Gold Selection,
Acknowledgements,

Reading Group Guide

Venice, 1681. Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic, and Venetian mirrors are more precious than gold. Jealously guarded by the murderous Council of Ten, the glassblowers of Murano are virtually imprisoned on their island in the lagoon. But the greatest of the artists, Corradino Manin, sells his methods and his soul to the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, to protect his secret daughter. In the present day his descendant, Leonora Manin, leaves an unhappy life in London to begin a new one as a glassblower in Venice. As she finds new life and love in her adoptive city, her fate becomes inextricably linked with that of her ancestor and the treacherous secrets of his life begin to come to light.

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The Glassblower of Murano ($9.99 Ed.) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
chiheatherlove More than 1 year ago
I sort-of liked The Glassblower of Murano. Nora goes to Venice after her husband divorces her for a uglier woman. Her idea is to focus on her glassblowing career, inspired to go not only by a desire to develop her own artistic skill with glass but also by a desire to find a link to family, more precisely to a famous glassblower ancestor of a father she never knew. Not surprisingly she has to overcome some obstacles and finds some romance along the way. A lot of her success comes from her being a pretty blond that inspires men to move mountains to help her. What did I like? Well, I lived in Italy for a year, love Venice and the clever juxtaposition of the two family members lives being tied together generations apart was done fairly well and the vehicle was good. If you like romances and a little historical fiction, you will enjoy very much. The history of the glassblowers was the most intriguing part, I thought. What didn't I like? I didn't really like the heroine of the book, and those kinds of books are always hard sells. I never really connected to her and didn't really ever feel bad for her. I think it is just a character development issue for me. Her fish out of water story wasn't from her living in a new place, it was because she gets shunned at the workplace? She spends time telling us about the mother and her relationship with her. Then, for someone so concerned about "family" I didn't see a mention of her calling her mother to tell her about any of her big news, though she didn't have a problem mentioning how our erstwhile detective hero called his friends right away. She's supposed to not be concerned about money after the divorce but then we find out she's relieved she's been paid so she can make one month's rent... no other mention of money in the whole thing. Do I want to spend a whole book with someone I wouldn't like very much at a dinner party? As far as I could tell, Nora's only redeeming quality was that she was pretty and could decorate an apartment... interesting tidbits, but not a fleshed out person for me to like. Yes, yes, if the writing is good enough, the character development is good, the story is good... here, the writing was decent in parts, the story was good in parts, except just when I was getting ready to keep reading, I kept getting distracted by the break-out italicized thought quotes that were thrown in. The way I read-and I'm a fairly fast reader-made me stop this book a couple times and put it aside to read something else because I would stop and slow down so often in order to read the quote bubbles. If Marina had just told me what they were thinking in the text, I would have been happier. Again, maybe not an issue for everyone. Enough of this story stuck for me, in the end I would say that especially if historical romance is your deal, then read it. For me, I'm going to wait to see what Fiorata Marina comes out with next... with such smart ideas to anchor the book, I think practice with her writing will only make her better and I'll be willing to give her another chance.
PamieHall More than 1 year ago
I've been lucky enough to have been to Italy, seen glassblowers in action (if you're ever in Vermont, try and see the glassblowing demonstrations at Simon & Pearce at The Mill in Quechee) and be familiar with the singular glass that comes from the isle of Murano. So, I anticipated with pleasure this book that, on top of being touted as a historical mystery also blended in contemporary romance. I was in the mood. Right off the bat, I noticed the book has a decidedly European feel to it and I had to hasten to the dictionary a couple of times to figure out various European uses of words or phrases that couldn't be deciphered from context. Plus, until I got past page 100 or so, I was getting the feeling that the book was going to be much more Chick Lit vs. bona fide historical fiction. So, while I was not totally captivated or impressed initially, once the 1600s back story really got going that laid the groundwork for the modern-day mystery our heroine- one Leonora Manin, a young Brit trained in glassblowing just like her talented but infamous Italian ancestor Corradino Manin, the glass "maestro" of Murano-finds herself in, I wasn't expecting much. However, I am happy to report I was wrong. Once this first-time author gets the chance to show her incredible knowledge of Venice, the art of Venetian glass working and the history of the period, you're hooked and the story moves along at quite a clip. Fiorato manages to imbue both her modern-day and historical characters with lively and believable personalities as well as recreate the glittering, romantic world of 17th century Venice and France with aplomb. Her vivid descriptions of Venetian life, art and architecture, politics and culture left me with a whole new appreciation for the period as well as the yen to learn a little bit more Italian to better appreciate the treasures of Italian art when I next get the opportunity. Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who has an interest in Italy, art or just good, solid historical mysteries. Like the glass so prized even today from the Island of Murano, Fiorato has put together a sparkling mystery as clear, hard and mesmerizing as the famed glass itself.
Paloma More than 1 year ago
Alas, another historic fiction that reads as a formula. Fiorato gives some insight into Italian culture and society, but otherwise misses the exquisite beauty of glassblowing, the strength simmering within her own heroine, and originality. The plot is woman running from a legacy of the past repeats it, instead of solving her problems, dreams of man taking care of them. What's unfortunate is that there is a story line in the book that would have been worth pursing, specifically, that of a woman glassblower with a firey independence that matched the glass she was creating. Perhaps in a sequel, Fiorato will free the character to rise to her own potential on her own merits.
cvjacobs More than 1 year ago
Marina Fiorata's novel, The Glassblower of Murano, plunges the reader into Venetian history through the eyes of a descendant from 400 years of glassblowers. Two characters grab the reader's attention. One is Corradino Manin, a man who sells his techniques to Louis XIV to protect his 'orphan' daughter, living at the Pieta. The other is Leonora Manin who in the present day travels to a new life as a glassblower in the city of her birth. The author depicts Venice as the beautiful yet seamy lady she is-the constant lapping of the water, the pastel wedding cake houses, the glory of San Marco, the palace of the Doge and much more with concrete, specific details that make the story come alive. Venice portrays a shadowy character in the novel. The shifts between three periods of history--Corradino Manin from Venice's distant past, Corradino Manin, the present day Leonora's grandfather; Leonora, the secret daughter of the Corradino of the past, and Leonora, the present day glassblower-occur without clear demarcation. Headings noting the date would easily fix this problem. The similarity of the names compounds the confusion. The author obviously put a lot of time and attention into researching Venice's past and brings Venice to life in the novel, showing both the crude and enchanting sides of a fascinating city. Towards the end of the novel, the tempo accelerates to the breakneck pace of a thriller and I could not stop turning the pages. A patient reader will find a lovely, determined woman, richly characterized figures from the past and a wonderful romance. For lovers of historical novels and exotic places, this is a great read!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1681 in the Republic of Venice, glassblowing is the major industry; throughout the continent everyone especially the wealthy demands Venetian glass and mirrors. The Council of Ten controls the city-state's glassblowing guild to the point they will kill to keep scabs out. The most famous Venetian artist Corradino Manin is forced to sell his secret methods to French King Louis XIV in order to keep his hidden daughter safe though by doing so the cost is his heart and soul.-------- Centuries later, descendant, Leonora Manin leaves a broken marriage and London having obtained work as a modern day apprentice glassblower in the Venetian suburb Murano. Her boss knows of her connection to the greatest glassblower ever and plans to take advantage of her illustrious ancestry. Jealousy as it did several hundred years ago leaves the British expatriate in trouble with her vocation and with hAlessandro Bardolino; however, as she researches her great ancestor she realizes her troubles are minor envies compared to what Corradino faced from invidious villains.------------- The descriptions of seventeenth century Venice as a literally backstabbing dangerous place will hook the audience even as the contemporary subplot is exciting and well written. The story line is fast-paced as the two Manin's three plus centuries apart face some of the seven deadly sins though the difference in how deadly what each confronts is quite startling as his lethal to the body and the soul while hers is more spiritual. Marina Florato provides a strong thriller.- Harriet Klausner
bhekadawn More than 1 year ago
I was not sure what to expect when I opened this book, but was pleasantly surprised. The story flowed nicely, the characters were believable, and I learned alot about the history and art of glassblowing. It was a fun book all in all. When I am entertained and learn something at the same time, I know it's good! I would recommend this bood to anyone looking for a good read!
FicusFan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a story split between 1681 and the modern day. The tale of a bland woman, Leonora, whose life collapses. She moves from London to the city where she was born, Venice, to pursue a career in glassblowing.Turns out she is the descendant of their most famous glassblower. We get his story in the past thread, and hers in the modern. There is a scandal about him, and it taints her. She has to find the truth of the mystery. Book is the story of her move/life/search for the truth, and attempt to find/keep her new lover and oh yes, she gets pregnant too.The writing was good, the structure was a bit odd: there would be a paragraph of description, narration and dialog but set apart would be the internal thoughts or reflection of the character who was the POV for it.The book was presented as historical fiction, but it was more focused on the modern day story. The issues of Leonora were more in the romance category, but it was not a cheesy one. Interesting information about Venice, history and glassblowing, but entry level. I already knew most of it. Story told more as a summary than with a lot of detail or showing.All in all I did enjoy it, and found it moving.
allejean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Glassblowers of Murano is the story of Leonora Manin, who returns to her Venice birthplace following an ugly divorce. She is tracing the footsteps of her ancestor Corradino Manin, a 17th century glassblower. She enters into a career as a glassblower, the first female ever to do so at the establishment she joins.The book has an interesting premise and was well-written, but the plot was lackluster as it jumped back and forth between Corradino and Leonora. I have never been to Venice before or seen images of blown glass, and had a hard time picturing certain parts of the book because of that. In the end I could not connect with either main character, which left me ambivalent about the story¿s resolution.
LCB48 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of a Renaissance Venetian glassblower cut with the story of his modern day descendant, also a glassblower, trying to track down his history. Her life kept mirroring the generations before her, intertwined with information on the craft of mirror making. I found the story of both generations compelling. For me, this was a "pageturner".
macart3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to agree with some of the reviews about this book: it was a very fluff kind of book. Hardly any character expansion of Alessandro and Vittoria, the latter existing for what I suspect solely to provoke jealousy in Leonora and nothing else. The book provides a potential sub-plot well-worth exploring: Leonora becoming the first female glassblower and the sexism endured in that area, but does not. I will say that I enjoyed the story of Leonora's ancestor than the present-day story since it provides more in-depth characterization of the characters.
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an extremely enjoyable read that bounced back and forth between modern-day and 17th century Venice. Reeling from a recent divorce and an infertility diagnosis, Leonora Manin leaves England for Venice, her birthplace and spiritual home. In search of solace and a sense of history, Leonora looks to her father's ancestor and legendary glassblower Corradino to help her find a anchor in a city built on water. As the sometimes sordid details of Corradino's life come to light, Leonora finds her footing in Venice, and with her Venetian love Alessandro, shifting beneath her. I enjoyed this book and the story that centered around Leonora and her search for herself because it felt emotionally true. The storyline that focused on Corradino was rich with details of 17th century Venice and the art of glassblowing, but lacked that same emotional connection. On the other hand, Fiorato's love of Venice itself shone through both narratives and provided an excellent unifying thread. I have travelled to Venice several times and can definitely relate to Leonora's desire to make a home there if at all possible. Venice in this novel lives and breathes as much as any other character, and lends its unique flavor to this excellent novel. Highly recommended.
LisaLynne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book about two Leonoras - one past and one present - and the men who loved them. The past Leonora is a little girl - raised in an orphanage but loved by the father who could not claim her. The other is grown woman - divorced, depressed and desperate to change her life. She returns to Venice, the city of their birth, and - in a story that parallels her mother's - falls in love with a local. She is also searching out her past - her father and the father of the earlier Leonora - both of whom died in Venice. Her ancestor, Corradino, is famous throughout Venice for his glassblowing. The maestro created fabulous works of art and was particularly famous for his mirrors, a talent that made him a valuable commodity. Leonora must find the answers to questions about Corradino's treacherous past before she herself can find her future.
supertalya on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After a heart-breaking divorce Nora (Leonora) travels to her birthplace, Venice to find herself and her roots. She finds a place in Murano, the small Venetian island known for their glassblowers. She is determined to become a glassblower just like her famous ancestor, Corradino. A mystery in the past is unraveled and Nora must find a way to piece it together as it will determine her future in Murano and glassblowing. The novel is beautiful intertwined with the past and present. I could easily envision Venice in the late 1600's and the present. It brought back memories of my childhood since I spent my formative years about 40 miles north of Venice. I didn't feel the novel was much of a romance but I think I prefer the novel that way.
robbieg_422 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story begins in the 1600¿s, in Venice. Corradino Manin makes one last attempt to make things right. In present-day, we meet Leonora, who moves to Venice after a bitter divorce, in search of her ancestor, famed maestro Venetian glassblower Corradino Manin. She has a bit of talent with the glass, too, and hopes to find a fresh start there, following in his footsteps. We learn his story along with Leonora, as she discovers there is more to her beloved ancestor¿s history than she may care to know. But she has come this far, and must find out, or she will never be at peace with her own life. She has a connection with him that borders on obsession, and she can¿t seem to live her own present day life without considering him in every detail.As Corradino¿s history unfolds, Leonora discovers who he really was, and just how important family was to him, and still is to her. In reading this book, we learn a little bit about the history of Venetian glass, and to what lengths the powers that be went to keep the secrets of its making in the 1600,s. We also learn to what lengths a man will go for the love and safety of his family. For Leonora, it is about putting the pieces together; glass, family, love and forgiveness. I really enjoyed the word pictures in this story. Glass is presented as a metaphor, and the connection is made to the reflective surface of the water in the canals. Well done. I would read more from this author.I give it 4 shiny chandelier droplets out of 5.
skrishna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Glassblower of Murano is one of those books I really wish I could give a higher rating to. The concept was intriguing ¿ the first female glassblower in Venetian history, who has an ancestor who was one of Venice's most famous glassblowers. There is a mystery surrounding this ancestor; specifically, whether he may have been a traitor to his people. I thought the conception of the plot was great and I was in for a richly textured and detailed historical fiction read. However, the execution was flawed at best.I enjoyed getting lost in the city of Venice, past and present, though I wished more details about glassmaking had been included in The Glassblower of Murano. Leonara herself is an interesting character. After suffering heartbreak in her native London, she decides to try her hand at glassmaking in Venice. After all, she is the descendent of the great Corradino Marin; the glassblowing gene is in her blood. I enjoyed reading about her exploration of her family history, though much of it was on the surface.And therein lies the problem with The Glassblower of Murano ¿ everything is on the surface. It is a light and fluffy novel, which is completely fine, except it is difficult to accomplish that in the historical fiction genre and still write a solid book. The only really developed characters in the book are Corradino and Leonara. There are other extremely interesting people in the book who are completely flat ¿ it would have been nice if Fiorato had developed the characters of Alessandro and Vittoria. There could have been a very interesting storyline there. Unfortunately, Vittoria ends up being a completely peripheral character because her personality isn't really explored. And it's difficult to understand why Leonara falls for Alessandro because he isn't given a personality in the novel.The glassblowing campaign that Leonara finds herself in the middle of could also have been a really great sub-plot. Unfortunately, again, the execution is just not there. All I could see in this book was potential ¿ the execution was poor. As for the history, I can't say I learned much that was new with this book. Everything just seemed to be on the surface.If you are looking for a chick lit-type historical fiction read, then definitely give The Glassblower of Murano a try; its on-the-surface quality will allow for a relaxing read. After all, some of the reviews I've read of this book are much more positive than mine. However, if you are looking for a rigorous historical fiction read on Venetian glassblowing with meticulous research and fully developed characters, I would skip this one.
cuicocha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Marina Fiorato has cobbled together the stories of Corradino Manin, a 17th century Venetian glassblower, and Leonora Manin, a present day maestra of the same craft. The author interwines the mystery of the dark Venice of Corradino with the romance of a lighter city of canals.While the modern day romance was somewhat predictable, the historical mystery was quite captivating. The resultant joining of the two threads led to an overall satisfying read.
Belladonna1975 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book. I am usually a huge fan of alternating historical fiction with a current story. I also am facinated by the art of glass blowing. What happens most of the time for me (like it did with The Secret History of The Pink Carnation) is that I am so caught up with the historical fiction chapters of the book, that I feel like the current bits are cutting into the story. I enjoyed both but wanted to get back to the past as soon as possible. This book was the opposite for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the current storyline of Leonora but found myself bored with the historical Corradino storyline. I didn't really care what happened to him and found myself skimming parts of the book just to get back to Leonora's story.
chinquapin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written tale, alternating easily back and forth from modern times and the story of Leonora Manin to the story of Corradino Manin, a famous glassblower of Murano in the 17th century when Venice had a closely protected monopoly on the secrets of glassblowing. Leonora, a descendant of Corradino, moves to Venice in the hope of becoming a glassblower at the Murano fornace. As Leonora becomes involved in the Murano glassmaking company, she becomes engrossed with the history of Corradino and whether or not he sold his glassmaking secrets to the French. Venice and the Venetians are both beautifully depicted, however the romance between Leonora and Alessandro seemed a little weak. I kept wondering what she found desirable about him, other than being a native Venetian.
Electablue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as part of the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.I am a glass artist, so the glass blowing aspects of this book were especially fascinating to me. The story of Leonora and her famous glassblowing ancestor were nicely juxtaposed. The historical passages were obviously well-researched, but not too bogged down by historical details.
coloradoreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much.The Glassblower of Murano is a story about a young woman trying to find her way. She has glassblowing in her blood and she goes to Venice to become the first woman glassblower, following a painful breakup of a relationship.In the process she learns about her ancestor who had served as a master glassblower centuries ago and the mystery surrounding his "death". I enjoyed the intertwining story of the past and present. Also I had the good fortune to visit Venice two years ago. Fiorato's description of that city took me right back there again. Thank you Library Thing and St. Martin's Press for the advanced edition of this book!
ddelmoni on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Glassblower of Murano, I believe, was Fiorato first novel and has been followed by 1 or 2 others released in the UK. This is an enjoyable, lightweight, historical mystery set in modern and 17th century Venice. However, if you like your historical fiction with well developed characters and an intricate story line, you'll be disappointed. This is more a novel for the pool/beach. It was, however, good enough to peak my interest in historical fiction set in Italy as a diversion from my usual British settings (though I picked up the non-fiction Galileo's Daughter from my TBR batch to stay in Italy...). I will be interested in reading Fiorata's other works to see how her stories develop.
bear08 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is of three minds. It is at once a modern romance, an historical novel, and an unfolding mystery that serves as the glue holding all of the pieces together. The story follows both Leonora Manin through the modern world of Venetian glass and her ancestor Corradino Manin who was one of the greatest glass blowers Murano had ever seen. When Leonora moves to Venice after her divorce she is determined to become a glass blower. What she doesn't expect is the attention that her famous ancestor will bring her and the questions about him that begin to surface. And, of course, there is a love interest in Leonora's new life.I enjoyed being able to read not only a story of the discovery of one's ancestor, but also the story of the ancestor himself. The transitions between present and past were at some points awkward stumbling blocks for the story. Even so I liked having the parallel stories running throughout the book.Would I read it again? No, It was good, but I have had my fill of the story.Would I recommend this to my sister? Yes, this is the kind of book that is easy to recommend to friends and family. It is a quick read and a good story.
librarymeg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Glassblower of Murano takes place in the magical city of Venice in two widely separate ages. The modern main character, Leonora Manin, is the descendant of Corradino Manin, a fallen aristocrat and one of the greatest glassblowers to ever come out of Murano. After a painful divorce, Leonora decides to leave her London home and the memories it holds for a new life in Venice and hopefully a new career as a Murano glassblower. She hopes that this new beginning will help her understand her life and heritage, and she forges an intense connection with Corradino that spans the centuries. She also begins a new relationship in Venice, although everything becomes threatened by the betrayal, treason, and tragedy from Corradino's time.This novel is a combination of rich historical drama in an exotic setting, a contemporary romance, and a mystery rooted in family history and identity. The Venice on the page is beautiful and ever-changing and seductive, and the real draw of this novel. It's the thread that ties everything together, and I turned the last page with a fierce desire to see it for myself. The strongest of the plotlines is Corradino's, and although I had a bit of trouble connecting with Leonora her story was still interesting enough to keep me reading. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a rich and vivid setting, and the details of Murano glassblowing and mirror making are fascinating.
lenoreva on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After her divorce, Leonora Manin¿s life in England is in tatters. She decides to move to Venice to follow in the footsteps of her famous ancestor Corradino Manin and be a glassblower on the island of Murano. Back in the 17th century, where the secrets of the glass are jealously guarded by the ruthless Council of Ten, Corradino must make difficult decisions to ensure the safety of his daughter.Of the two threads of the story, the historical is the more engaging and exciting. The political intrigues of the day fascinate as do the detailed descriptions of glassblowing. The modern day thread tends to drag and Author Fiorato never succeeded in making me care too much about Leonora. While I could feel her passion for Venice and its arts, the characters came off as strangely cold and lifeless. Still, the two threads come together in a satisfying way in the end, and I closed the novel with a smile on my face.
pkc181 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ve been lucky enough to have been to Italy, seen glassblowers in action (if you¿re ever in Vermont, try and see the glassblowing demonstrations at Simon & Pearce at The Mill in Quechee) and be familiar with the singular glass that comes from the isle of Murano. So, I anticipated with pleasure this book that, on top of being touted as a historical mystery also blended in contemporary romance. I was in the mood.Right off the bat, I noticed the book has a decidedly European feel to it and I had to hasten to the dictionary a couple of times to figure out various European uses of words or phrases that couldn¿t be deciphered from context. Plus, until I got past page 100 or so, I was getting the feeling that the book was going to be much more Chick Lit vs. bona fide historical fiction. So, while I was not totally captivated or impressed initially, once the 1600s back story really got going that laid the groundwork for the modern-day mystery our heroine¿ one Leonora Manin, a young Brit trained in glassblowing just like her talented but infamous Italian ancestor Corradino Manin, the glass ¿maestro¿ of Murano¿finds herself in, I wasn¿t expecting much. However, I am happy to report I was wrong. Once this first-time author gets the chance to show her incredible knowledge of Venice, the art of Venetian glass working and the history of the period, you¿re hooked and the story moves along at quite a clip. Fiorato manages to imbue both her modern-day and historical characters with lively and believable personalities as well as recreate the glittering, romantic world of 17th century Venice and France with aplomb. Her vivid descriptions of Venetian life, art and architecture, politics and culture left me with a whole new appreciation for the period as well as the yen to learn a little bit more Italian to better appreciate the treasures of Italian art when I next get the opportunity. Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who has an interest in Italy, art or just good, solid historical mysteries. Like the glass so prized even today from the Island of Murano, Fiorato has put together a sparkling mystery as clear, hard and mesmerizing as the famed glass itself.