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: donnarussomorin.com



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