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Comment: Great buy on a study copy - good bit of wear and underlining.
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The Glassblower of Murano Paperback – May 26, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 177 customer reviews

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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)
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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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Original edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312386982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312386986
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.
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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!
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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
This book reminded me a bit of The Rossetti Letter, not just because of the setting (Venice past and present) but because the story of the past influences the modern day story...and they both involved modern day women with broken marriages looking for a new lease on life. This one works less effectively than the ROssetti Letter, but was readable nonetheless.
After a painful divorce, the beautiful descendant of a famous glass blower decides to travel to Venice to look into her family's past and becomes a glassblower (the first woman) in the meantime. There's a love interest of course, in the improbable person of a government official that helps her obtain a work visa.

The story moves along well, is never out and out boring, and would make a good read for whenever you like these kinds of books. I like them at bedtime so if I doze off I don't feel so bad, I save the beach for books that require my undivided and relaxed attention. Something, however, kept me from loving this...maybe its the chauvinist glassblowers (I am from Venice, this part was overblown), or maybe it was the lack of believable suspense in the modern day love story. There was a distinct feeling of a contrived story in many parts, it just didn't flow. Most probably it was the lack of real emotion in any of the story telling, the most emotion is shown in the flight of the young child and his family from the secret council and how the child eventually becomes a glassblower. This part was interesting to read, but by no means original.

Take this for what it is, and you'll enjoy it,
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