Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
The Murano glassmakers of Venice are celebrated and revered. But now three are dead, killed for attempting to leave the city that both prized their work and kept them prisoner. For in this, the 17th century, the secret of their craft must, by law, never leave Venetian shores. Yet there is someone who keeps the secret while defying tradition. She is Sophia Fiolario, and she, too, is a glassmaker. Her crime is being a woman...

Sophia is well aware that her family would be crushed by scandal if the truth of her knowledge and skill with glass were revealed. But there has never been any threat...until now. A wealthy nobleman with strong connections to the powerful Doge has requested her hand in marriage, and her refusal could draw dangerous attention. Yet having to accept and cease her art would devastate her. If there is an escape, Sophia intends to find it.

Now, between creating precious glass parts for one of Professor Galileo Galilei's astonishing inventions and attending lavish parties at the Doge's Palace, Sophia is crossing paths with very influential people—including one who could change her life forever. But in Venice, every secret has its price. And Sophia must decide how much she is willing to pay.

My Review:
Sophia Fiolario is the eldest daughter of the most prominent glass making family in Murano and since she is the eldest, it is her duty to be married off while her sisters join a convent. Although this is the custom, Sophia has other ideas in mind for her future and declines a number of marriage proposals. Sophia loves the life she leads with her family and enjoys pursuing her passion for creating some of the most beautiful glass Murano produces. Of course no one, except her father, knows that Sophia is the true master behind the beautiful glass that is produced from their family factory. If anyone were to discover the truth about Sophia there would be devastating consequences; the secret of the glass is a very dangerous secret for a woman to posses...

The perfect life Sophia has long been accustomed to with her family is suddenly threated by chaos and tragedy. Sophia soon finds herself engaged to the nobleman, Pasquale da Fuligna, who obviously has no desire  in even attempting to be cordial to his finance'. She soon learns what his motives are in marrying her and what fate awaits her once they do marry. Sophia is determined to find a way out of the desperate situation she finds herself in and is convinced that Pasquale holds a dark secret that could set her free. As Sophia tries tries to discover Pasquale's secret, she realizes that her own dangerous secret is on the brink of being discovered...

Even though Sophia's world becomes as fragile as the glass she creates, she will stop at nothing to save her family from ruin, embrace a love that knows no bounds and above all protect the secret of the glass...

The Secret of the Glass was a book full of exquisite detail. From describing how the glass was made to the beautiful gondola rides on the river, Venice came alive with the authors writing skills. The beginning was a bit slow but after a quarter of the way through, the plot gained momentum and you never knew where it was going to take you next. An unexpected twist at the end was also a wonderful delight. There were just a couple qualms I had with this book. First, the amount of Italian words was overdone. The bulk of this was found in the beginning, causing it to be a bit choppy which is probably why it seemed like a slow start. Another issue is how the book ended; everything seemed to come to an abrupt halt. It lacked a sense of closure, especially for Sophia and Teodoro, whos love story was so beautifully written. Of course I was quite happy with how their story turned out; I just would have liked to have a bit more written instead of left to the imagination. Overall this was an enjoyable and fast read and I am definitely looking forward to the Donna Russo Morin's next novel which has a current release date of March 2011.

A little extra:
If you have not checked it out yet, HFBRT just finished up a great event for The Secret of the Glass. They had some wonderful creative posts, reviews, and interviews with the author Donna Russo Morin! You can find links to everything the event entailed at their website: Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table.

To learn more about Donna Russo Morin and her novels, visit her website at:

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Sounds good :=)
    And you are not the first to mention they Italian words, I think I would feel the same

  2. That was one fabulous review Muse! You captured it perfectly and I agree with the Italian words and that it took a bit to pick up. Thanks for mentioning the HF Round Table..we had a great time with it and I hope everyone else did to.

    Again, great review!

  3. That was a great review Muse. I always enjoy your comments. I loved the Italian words and phrases because I took a few years of Italian while in college and my son spent two years in Northern Italy so I love reading the phrases. With that said I can certainly understand how it would get annoying if you didn't know the language. It seems the majority of the reviewers share you opinion.
    Thanks for HFBRT mention.

  4. Great review! I'm really looking forward to reading this one. I finally made it over to the HFBRT events the other day, read them all, and commented in one night. I was a week late, but I love their events. I couldn't miss it!

  5. I agree - great review! I also agreee with you about the ending - it was rather abrupt (but I liked how it turned out).

  6. I also agree about the ending. I think that was the thing that bothered me the most about the whole book. Great review and thanks so much for mentioning HFBRT!

  7. I've long been intrigued by the art of glass blowing. This one sounds like it has promise!

  8. I visited Murano during a trip to Italy a few years ago, and we visited a glass shop where they demonstrated their glass blowing - it was amazing! This book sounds interesting, I'm definitely going to check it out!

  9. Hey just stopping by to say Hi from Friday Follow!

    Happy Follow Friday!


  10. Venice?! I am hooked by the setting alone. This sounds like something I'd really enjoy, even with its flaws. It's a shame the ending isn't more satisfying, though.