Customer Reviews for

Clara and Mr. Tiffany

Average Rating 3.5
( 103 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(14)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

This is an engaging historical novel

Louis Comfort Tiffany hires unmarried women as his artists to avoid the strikes that men are prone to conduct. His New York glass studio manager Clara Driscoll is a widow with a series of romantic tragedies besides her husband's death. Clara does her best to insure he...
Louis Comfort Tiffany hires unmarried women as his artists to avoid the strikes that men are prone to conduct. His New York glass studio manager Clara Driscoll is a widow with a series of romantic tragedies besides her husband's death. Clara does her best to insure her talented female crew is taken care of properly.

In 1893 Tiffany presents the stained glass collection at the Chicago World's Fair. He takes all the accolades failing to mention the genius he left behind in New York. Clara enjoys living amidst the Gilded Age New York artist community, but wishes her contribution as the creator of the stained glass lampshades that have made Tiffany's famous would also bring her renown. The credit for the innovation goes to Tiffany, but Clara lives with that as her employer encourages her and her girls to create even if it negatively impacts profits. She also wishes for a man who was devoted to her as she has been to Tiffany and others.

This is an engaging historical that bases the storyline on the premise that Driscoll was the artistic genius not Tiffany although history and the then late nineteenth century gave all the kudos to the man. Thus the reader obtains a sense of time and place as society praises Tiffany but ignores his female workshop and its brilliant leader. Readers who enjoy something different will relish the tale of the woman behind the famous man.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on November 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Historic data not matching up

I first questioned the authenticity of this book when Clara was charged $50/month for room and board. Understanding that this amount also included meals, it just does not make sense for the time period. $50 in 1892 would equal about $1200/month today. Does not add up.

posted by 5655711 on February 1, 2011

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is an engaging historical novel

    Louis Comfort Tiffany hires unmarried women as his artists to avoid the strikes that men are prone to conduct. His New York glass studio manager Clara Driscoll is a widow with a series of romantic tragedies besides her husband's death. Clara does her best to insure her talented female crew is taken care of properly.

    In 1893 Tiffany presents the stained glass collection at the Chicago World's Fair. He takes all the accolades failing to mention the genius he left behind in New York. Clara enjoys living amidst the Gilded Age New York artist community, but wishes her contribution as the creator of the stained glass lampshades that have made Tiffany's famous would also bring her renown. The credit for the innovation goes to Tiffany, but Clara lives with that as her employer encourages her and her girls to create even if it negatively impacts profits. She also wishes for a man who was devoted to her as she has been to Tiffany and others.

    This is an engaging historical that bases the storyline on the premise that Driscoll was the artistic genius not Tiffany although history and the then late nineteenth century gave all the kudos to the man. Thus the reader obtains a sense of time and place as society praises Tiffany but ignores his female workshop and its brilliant leader. Readers who enjoy something different will relish the tale of the woman behind the famous man.

    Harriet Klausner

    22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2013

    An Interesting, Entertaining Look at Historic Characters

    Our book club enjoyed this book, each of us for a slightly different reason. We all found it easy to read and quite entertaining. A few thought the amount of technical detail was a bit much, but it was easy to skim over and get back to the story. Personally, I thought the technical detail was interesting and served to better illustrate Clara's unusual status in what was a man's domain. We all found Vreeland's imagined reconstruction of characters and events to be entirely believable in the context of the actual historic evidence available. The book provided interesting, unexpected glimpses into different aspects of life then: the immigrant experience, seaside holidays, medical treatments, the gay community. Bottom line: not necessarily a must-read, but a very worthwhile book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    jkhcjh@comcast.net

    I thought this book was not only a wonderful experience of how the world of art was for women at the turn of the century but about the life and times of Tiffany and how he built a powerful business and world of beauty from glass!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2011

    Old New York and Tiffany glass

    Susan Vreeland has chosen old New York for the setting of her latest novel and a fascinating world it is from the immigrant families huddled in tenements to the wealthy such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, heir to his self-made jeweler father and determined to utterly rule his world of colored glass windows and lamps. He is an old New York autocrat, allowing women to work for him in a women's department (it would be immoral to allow them to work with the men!), paying modest wages and exacting a terrible price on their employment: they cannot marry. He will not have their loyalties divided between the glitter of his glass and their needs as wives. The book is narrated by Clara, a middle-class creative woman who has to constantly remake her choice between her need for love and her need to work in Tiffany's brilliant shadow. She is one of the bright creators of his firm and in truth he basks in her creativity, taking almost all the credit for her work. Still she fights for the rights of the immigrant women who work under her. As the book progresses, Clara grows stronger. She fights for her girls and against the oppression of the men who would happily close down her department; while Tiffany lives in unbelievable luxury, her home remains a small room in a boarding house. Many of Susan Vreeland's portrayals of the immigrant girls and their strong spirits (or sometimes broken spirits) are breathtaking in their clarity and wisdom. Particularly luminous is her portrait of an idealistic male social worker who seems to take on every burden of the poor before he turns a startlingly different way. Tiffany also falls into loneliness while Clara goes steadfastly onward: learning, creating, inspiring others and making new designs for Tiffany lamps and new pathways in her world for herself and the many people she loves. Another wonderful novel about the creative arts from this very gifted author. (I am the author of CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET and MARRYING MOZART.)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    People who love art will love this book

    I bought this book because I had read her other book "Luncheon of the Boating Party" about Renoir and loved it. Having seen a Tiffany lamp exhibit in a museum, I was very interested in reading this book when I saw that it was about the women behind the art of Tiffany. Those who appreciate art for art's sake and the beauty of Tiffany glass will find this book very entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Very interesting; very informative!

    As I read this well researched book I wished that I had visited the Tiffany Museum in Winter Park, FL, after reading Clara and Tiffany. The story lines of not one, but several, personal relationships, the process for making stained glass art objects, to labor relations and women's struggle to get and keep jobs is a great read. Visiting the museum enriches one's appreciation for the expertise necessary for making beautiful stained glass art pieces.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    Historic data not matching up

    I first questioned the authenticity of this book when Clara was charged $50/month for room and board. Understanding that this amount also included meals, it just does not make sense for the time period. $50 in 1892 would equal about $1200/month today. Does not add up.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Two Talented Personalities during a time of emerging rights for women

    Very interesting book. I am well-acquainted with the Tiffany lamps and panels but had not had much information previously about Clara Driscoll except as a shadowy figure in the background who had a major impact on the lamp designs but who never got any credit. Contrary to some who found the manufacturing details tedious, I found them very interesting. My appreciation of the skill, talent, and expertise that made the lamps and panels was heightened. Also, Clara Driscoll's management skills went way beyond what was seen elsewhere in the business. Since the women weren't allowed to join the union, they had a greater opportunity to make themselves indispensable to the business. Clara Driscoll was a very liberated woman for her time. Louis C Tiffany's personality was also explored in depth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    A note

    Slides through the crack in the door 'Denim.'

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Alyss

    She sighs. "Oh, Denim." Smiling ever so slightly, she opened the door for him.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Dull

    The book was too slow and I could have done with half of the explanations of the glass work. The history of the women's movement was good and I would have liked that to be more instead of all the mechanics of tiffany glass.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Anonymous

    This book is silly, not worth my time. I will not finish it.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Recommended

    Good book and being a New Yorker it was delightful the historical data from Louis Tiffany era. The stain glass beginning and a time long gone but clearly stated in Susan Vreeland book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    My name is clara

    Hi im almost 12

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    If you like learning about making lamps and stained glass window

    If you like learning about making lamps and stained glass windows and such, this is the book for you. I found it boring except for Clara's love life which was actually boring too, as I think about it. I did not finish the book......yearn for something really good like Jennifer Haigh books.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2013

    The book is engaging & very well written. It's fun to read a

    The book is engaging & very well written. It's fun to read about New York city as well as the art of Tiffany.Of course women played more than a pivotal role in what most believe was a man's domain. VERY enjoyable. And, the characters were intriguing as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Had to read this book for book club. It was diffcult to get thro

    Had to read this book for book club. It was diffcult to get through the nearly 400 pages of boring reading. The characters don't have enough depth to relate to, so you don't really care what happens to them. Clara has very odd relationships with men and seems more connected to art and the beauty of it than connecting with people. I wonder how much liberty the author took writing a fictional book about real people, i.e., did Clara really care that much about the other women workers and did she really have that many odd, disappointing relationships with men, and was she in love with Mr. Tiffany? This is one of my least favorite books ever -- way too long with too many details wasted on how the stained glass was made and assembled vs. the actual characters.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Recommended

    Interesting historical fiction about the creation of the Tiffany lamps.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    A book you shouldn't miss!

    Clara and Mr. Tiffany's relationship is at the core of this novel which talks of art, creation and beauty in the making of stain glass. The reader walks away from the book not only being entertained by it, but also learning a bit about the process of making stained glass. Most importantly, the reader leaves this experience with a reaffirmation of the relationship between art and beauty, it's importance to our lives and it's role in a bit of American history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Terrific

    Read this charming book, based on the lives of real people, and then go to your local art museum and appreciate the beautiful work of numerous known women. If you are fortunate you might even see Clara's own work.

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