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The Glassblower of Murano Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews

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Length: 365 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
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THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly's new magical realism, crossover novel and casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties. Learn more

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After the dissolution of her marriage, beautiful English artist Leonora Manin is hired as an apprentice glassblower in the Venetian suburb of Murano, in Fiorato's strong U.S. debut. Leonora's ancestor was master glassmaker Corradino Manin, and her new boss plans to exploit that connection. But centuries-old jealousies and treachery surface and the public relations campaign is suddenly canceled. A modern-day relative of Corradino's mentor resents Leonora, while a journalist who was once involved with Alessandro Bardolino, Leonora's new love, decides she wants him back. Complex connections, but nothing compared to those in Corradino's time, when draconian Venetian laws enslaved glassmakers on Murano to insure techniques would remain exclusive to Venice. The author's descriptive prose brings the beauty and danger of 17th-century Venice vividly to life, when Corradino became a traitor seeking freedom for himself and his secret daughter. Leonora's determined to investigate Corradino, but throughout, Alessandro's allegiance is suspect. Those who enjoy intrigue and European history will be easily drawn into this romantic story. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Switching between modern-day and seventeenth-century Venice, Fiorato’s novel is an intriguing mix of history, mystery, art, music, poetry, romance, and politics. Corradino Manin’s family was brutally murdered by Venice’s Council of Ten; Corradino was only saved because his patron saw in the young boy a prodigious gift for glassblowing. Corradino quickly learned to make exquisite glass mirrors and chandeliers for which the Venetian island of Murano soon became renowned. The process of making Murano glass quickly became a secret jealously guarded by the government, but when Corradino is invited to use his talents in the court of King Louis XIV, he is sorely tempted, even though it means leaving his beloved little daughter, Leonora, and endangering his life. This gripping plot is interwoven with a second, similarly intriguing story revolving around another Leonora, this one a modern-day descendent of Corradino. Leonora has come to Venice to escape an unhappy marriage, enhance her skill as a glassblower, and learn more about her mysterious ancestor. Writing with charm and authenticity, Fiorato produces a blend of historical mystery and modern romance that is thoroughly entertaining. --Emily Melton

Product Details

  • File Size: 906 KB
  • Print Length: 365 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Original edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Publication Date: May 26, 2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004L62ENA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,282 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Marina Fiorato's 'The Glassblower of Murano' is a story told on two interwoven levels - it the story of late seventeenth century Venetian master glassblower Corradino Manin and the story of his modern day descendant Leonora Manin who flees a broken marriage in London and tries to establish a glassblowing career in Venice.

The story is at once a romance, a history, and a mystery. Leonora's story becomes the romance when she meets a handsome Venetian, who like most Venetians, we're told, looks as though he stepped down from a Renaissance portrait. (Nora herself resembles Botticelli's 'Primavera,' while not a bad choice not an especially original one.) Nora's British husband was unfaithful, her new lover is very busy and does have that old girl friend hanging about.... The history is the history of Venice and glassblowing, which Fiorato handles well. Her understanding of both is extensive but not invasive. And the mystery primarily revolves around Corradino - was he a traitor who sold Venice's glass-making secrets to the French?

I enjoyed reading 'The Glassblower of Murano.' The novel's strengths lie in the well-drawn historical background, the interesting descriptions of glassblowing techniques, the loving re-creation of Venice; the characters were well-developed and whole, their actions consistent with their characters. The mystery element worked; I wanted to know what Corradino had done and why he'd done it; the answers were unexpected. The weakest element is the romance, probably because it doesn't get as much time and lacks the originality of the other two skeins.

All in all a pleasant book that I will read again. It's a light pleasant novel set in Venice utilizing the city's history of glassblowing and a little mystery and romance - for me it's four and a half stars.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Set against the glorious backdrop of Venice, this novel tells the stories of two artists, separated by four centuries. Corradino Manin is a master glass maker on Murano, at the height of Venice's dominance of the glass making craft. The rulers of Venice ruthlessly protect their monopoly on these glass making techniques, so when he is approached by a representative of Louis XIV of France, he knows he is risking his very life.

In the present, Corradino's descendant, Leonora Manin, recently divorced and adrift, moves to Venice to pursue a career as a glassblower, and to explore her roots in this ancient city. She finds herself at the center of a storm of controversy over the legacy of her famous ancestor. Leonora's story and Corradino's are intertwined through the book.

As an exploration of Venice and its history, this novel works wonderfully. It is especially effective in showing the ruthlessness with which the Republic of Venice maintained its trade advantages. However, the modern portions of this story fell a bit flat. The romance is a bit predictable, and Leonora comes off feeling far too young and immature for the role she's cast in. The story is diverting, but it just doesn't quite ring true on some level, it detracts from the overall impact of the book. Also, the inclusion of the first chapter, verbatim, later in the book is also a distraction. Having already read it, it was hard to understand how repeating it wholesale, without any new details, serves the story.

Not a bad first novel, and a pleasant way to revisit a glorious setting, but certainly showing room for improvement.
Comment 43 of 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hard to believe this is the author's first book. This is an excellent and spell-binding story. The characterizations are terrific and highly believable.

The author is adept at weaving a saga across the centuries about a woman glassblower in the famed Venetian city of Murano and her ancestor who lived and died there a long, long time ago.

The prose is rich, both from a historic viewpoint as well as a great tale.

How exactly did Louis XIV's famous Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles come to be? Did the greatest glassmakers and mirror artisans of Venice have a hand in this famed Gallerie des Glaces?

This is a wonderfully written tale. The pages turn themselves as the reader is transported into a world of long ago.

Do not miss this book! Truly wonderful!
1 Comment 14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Chock-full of stereotypes. Beautiful girl with long blonde hair is unhappy with her man, goes to Italy to find herself and do a little glassblowing just for fun, and meets another guy. Sure, there's the whole mystery about her glassblowing ancestor, Corradino, to keep her diverted, but on the whole, I knew what was going to happen for the whole book. It seemed like such a shame that a guy like Corradino would have such a wimpy relative. I would recommend it to those who are insatiably searching for yet another happy ending, but not to those who are, like me, realists and don't mind a little salt in place of the sugary, fluffy, cotton candy written by those who care more about the happy ending than the grit of history.

Final Verdict:

Slightly better than a Harlequin Romance novel. But only slightly.
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Format: Paperback
When I began this book, I was prepared to like it; I really wanted to, because I love Italy. However, "The Glassblower of Murano" is dull and poorly written, quite honestly one of the worst novels that I have ever read. The characters resemble cardboard more than authentic and likeable individuals with whom you can identify. The historical flashbacks to Corradino's time are especially unconvincing. I enjoy novels about plucky Italian heroines as much as the next girl, but this one has no tension, no real romance, no imagination to draw you in as a reader. I would recommend, instead,"In the Company of the Courtesan" by Sarah Dunnant, "The Woman of Rome" by Alberto Moravia, or any one of Donna Leon's stupendous (but dark) mystery novels set in Venice. The characters are much more fun and vivid, and you will learn a lot more!
Comment 15 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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