During the 17th century, Venice was the world leader in glassblowing. The acheivements made in Venice were envied – so much so that the Council of Ten guarded the glassblowing masters. Corradino Manin was the most talented of all glassblowers and the Council virtually held him hostage on the island of Murano. Still, King Louis XIV was able to get a messager to him, tempting him to come to France to work on his palace. If he does so, it might cost him his daughter Leonora, who is being raised at the Pieta because she was born of an affair. Fast forward to modern England. Leonora Manin, a young artist born to an English mother and a Venetian father, travels to Venice after a painful divorce. She has recently discovered a love for blowing glass, just like her ancestor Corradino. She longs to find out more about her famous ancestor and hopes to find work as a glassblower. In Venice, Leonora finds herself while learning some things about her family’s past could destroy her future.
I enjoyed The Glassblower of Murano, but it wasn’t an earthshattering read for me. It makes for a light summer read, and it seemed to kick me out of the painfully slow reading funk I was in over the month prior. The story is told through two narrators: Corradino and Leonora. As Leonora learns little pieces about her ancestor, we get to read them from Corradino’s perspective. In many ways, Leonora’s story is typical chick-lit fair. Her relationship with Alessandro was predictable, right down to the fairy tale ending. Still, it was told well. For me, Corradino’s story made the book. It was interesting seeing glassblowing, Venice, and Venetian political corruption through his eyes. One of my favorite scenes was when he transported and installed his glass chandelier at the Pieta. I really had no idea of glassblowing’s rich history. I would suggest this novel when you want something comfortable to read that has a little historical fiction thrown in the mix.
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- Getting lost in Venice’s web of history (nationalpost.com)