Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book Review: The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato

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.

THE GLASSBLOWER OF MURANO is available now in paperback. Find out more about this international bestseller at the author’s website.

19 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I've read another review that said the same thing about the modern story line. I'm not sure if this book is for me.

Nymeth said...

The historical storyline at least definitely interests me!

Staci said...

That's sad that the author never really made you care for the main character. I love historical fiction but sometimes it is hard for me to finish a book if I don't feel a connection to someone.

Anna Claire said...

I never seem to like novels that go back and forth with a modern and an historical story line. I just wish they'd stick with one set of characters and develop them the most fully. But this book still sounds good; thanks for reviewing :)

Beth Kephart said...

But don't you just love the real glassblowers of Murano? Such a beautiful place, especially when wrapped with mist.

Amy said...

mmm, sounds like it has some good and bad.. I really like historical type books though, so I may get this from the library. I have been neglecting my second home (the library) for a while :)
-amy

carolsnotebook said...

I like the title, but I do't know about reading it. I want to care about the characters and it doesn't sounds like this book quite cuts it.

Kristen M. said...

I agree with your review and I felt the same. There are a few of these past/present books out lately and the storylines just aren't equal. Sometimes I think that it was someone who really wanted to write a historical fiction but knew that their audience would grow with the modern touch. Despite the unevenness though, I still enjoyed this one. I didn't fall in love with Leonora but I didn't dislike her so that's good enough!

Lisa said...

I actually LOVE this kind of book! Reminds me of some books I read 20 years ago by the author Barbara Erskine.

I'm going to add this to my TBR!

Great review!

Pam said...

I'm not sure about this one yet. the idea itself is interesting but I'm usually not a big fan of the two level time telling bit. We'll see. I think I may give it a try anyway.

Priya said...

Sounds great! When I went to Venice a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to actually see Murano glassblowing. It was AMAZING. :D

Zibilee said...

In the past couple of years I have read a lot of books that have used a dual narrative. Sometimes it works better than others. I am glad that by the end you did end up enjoying it.

Lenore said...

I haven't been to Murano, though I have done the quick tourist day in Venice. I need to go back for sure.

Jenn said...

Hm, I was intrigued by the historical part, but I don't know about the modern storyline. Thank you for your review though, I'll cehck this one out! (:

Marie said...

This book looks really appealing. You can't say anything much better than you were smiling when you finished it! :-)

pirate penguin said...

A cold and lifeless main character? That's a shame :/ At least the historical aspect of it was enjoyable... I also really like the cover. :)

Beth F said...

Hummm. I just can't decide if this one is for me. I don't have to love the characters, but I do like them to feel real.

S. Krishna said...

I didn't enjoy this one much because of what you said - the modern day characters seemed cold and lifeless! Great way of putting it!

karen! said...

I have mixed feelings about this book. I feel compelled to read it even though I know I won't like it all that much for exactly the reason you mention (present day storyline is not sufficiently fleshed-out, character not sympathetic).