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The Girl in the Glass

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    While much of the time I enjoy reading non-fiction, there are th

    While much of the time I enjoy reading non-fiction, there are those fiction books that deal with history that draw me in, and that was true of "The Girl in the Glass" by Susan Meissner.

    Meg, the protagonist of the book, has been waiting for years for her father to fulfill a promise to take her to Italy. When it finally happens, she hopes for the healing of a relationship--but instead it looks like it's going to be yet another broken promise.

    As the book proceeds, it becomes not only the story of Meg and Sophia Borelli--a possible writer who appears to be a descendant of the Medici family--but also the story of Nora Orsini, a Medici princess who appears to communicate with Sophia.The three women's lives intersect in unexpected ways, bringing unexpected consequences, because each of them--in various ways--has to answer the question of what "renaissance" means for them. Is it indeed truly possible to believe that life can change? that what appears to be true and set isn't what life has to be?This book is easy to read, and while the combination of stories could have been confusing, instead, each informs and impacts the other. It's a good read! This book was provided free of charge from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for reviewing it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2014

    This would be a fabulous read for anyone who loves art history,

    This would be a fabulous read for anyone who loves art history, Florence, Italy, or a gently-paced tale that weaves both historical and contemporary story lines. Some readers may find themselves skimming the art history details, but most of them actually contribute to a depth of discovery that is ultimately meaningful to the  main characters. The surprise ending was a delight. 




    Coming from a Christian publisher and author, I was surprised that there was no faith element in this book beyond a mention that someone asked for prayer. I believe a spiritual thread could have strengthened the theme, but I still give four stars for skillful weaving of stories spanning several centuries, historical details, and for crafting genuinely likeable characters. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2014

    Great read!

    I enjoyed this book. I normally read series but it was nice to just read one book and have it wrapped up at the end. The author does an amazing job by transporting the readers to Florence. The reader can 'see' the amazing sculptures, structures, fountains, etc through Meg's eyes. At times I would take out my phone or get on my computer to look up the locations that are mentioned in the book to understand even more what is being described. I want to go there ever more now!

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    The Girl in the Glass confirmed Susan Meissner as one of my favo

    The Girl in the Glass confirmed Susan Meissner as one of my favorite contemporary novelists. I fell in love with her characters, especially Meg and Lorenzo, and didn't want the book to end. However, the ending was so satisfying that I find myself, once again, waiting for Meissner's next book.

    Others have reviewed the story line, so I'll limit myself to writing about some of the poetic aspects of the book which left me sighing or giggling or wishing for more. Fresh imagery such as, "the seesaw siren of a European ambulance" or "A line of Vespas, parked like dominoes ready to fall," peppered the pages. In another section, Meissner describes the jealousy Meg feels when Lorenzo walks in with another woman as follows: "I watched in what can only be described as junior-high jealousy as he came out onto the balcony with a lithe brunette on his arm . . . . Her eyelashes could shut a door with one swipe . . . .professionally whitened and perfectly straight teeth saluted me."

    In what proved to be the central dilemma of the book--choosing reality over fantasy or vice versa, she writes: "Emilio clearly saw everything black and white . . . but we were the ones who saw the countless shades of gray. We didn't choose reality over fantasy; we chose reality AND fantasy. We saw the beauty in believing some things can be imagined and also the security that some things can be counted on. The things we counted on made the things we imagined possible. And those possibilities made life wonderful and wild."

    In addition to all of this, Meissner succeeded in crafting a credible story weaving the lives of three separate women from two different centuries together in such a way that they forged a strong and memorable bond.

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  • Posted June 5, 2013

    I really enjoyed this story, as I have enjoyed all of Susan Meis

    I really enjoyed this story, as I have enjoyed all of Susan Meissner’s books that I have had the chance to read thus far. She has a great talent for balancing her stories with just the right amount of detail to paint a vivid picture for the reader, without using so much detail that it becomes too much. This is a beautiful story that intertwines the lives of three different women, one from a time long since passed. The plot flows smoothly, and there is a twist at the end that was, for me at least, unexpected. I thought I had it figured out about mid-way, and I usually figure out a book’s ending rather quickly. But that was not the case with The Girl In The Glass. It’s a very wonderfully written story.

    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Posted February 2, 2013

    When I first saw this book I was not sure what it was about so I

    When I first saw this book I was not sure what it was about so I looked it up and saw it was about a girl and her dream of going to Italy. I too am a girl who dreams of going to Italy so I thought what a great book to read. I fell in love with the book from page one. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I took my time reading it as I did not want it to end. Meg has been waiting for her dad to take her to Italy since she was a young lady, her dad made her many promises to go and they always fell through, well finally her dream is coming true and she will be going to Florence, Italy. She has had made some friends through her work with a brother and sister writing team Lorenzo and Reneta) and she was also looking forward to meeting them when she gets there and let's not forget her new contact Sophia who is sending her copies of the chapters to a book she is writing and would like published. When Meg gets to Italy she finds herself alone with nowhere to go so she makes her was to Lorenzo's flat only to find him not home but much to her surprise Sophia is home. Sophia then invites her to stay with and a close friendship is quickly formed. Starting the next morning Sophia takes Meg on a tour each day of Florence where she not only learns some history she learns about life. I love the way the author wrote this book, I too learned some things and felt like I was right there with Meg all the way. There is something that just draws you to Italy. I will say the ending surprised me a little as it was not what I was expecting - I can't say a whole lot more without ruining it. I also liked how the author summed things up at the end of the book. This is the first book I have read by this author and now I will be heading out now to find more books by this author. I absolutely give this book 5 stars. 




    To learn more about Susan check out her website here
    Susan's other books include:  The Shape of Mercy - Lady in Waiting - A Sound Among the Trees as well as others




    *"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

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  • Posted January 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is something I have not read before. It was something inter

    This is something I have not read before. It was something interesting. It has a few thing and it a bit confusing in the beginning but there are some surprises in the book. You hear to different thing one under the name Nora, and Meg story along with another person. This one got me a bit fun but it keep my attention to a point I did not want to put it down.

    This book also talk about a place in Italy. These places are something to learn from along with a surprise for you to find out about someone in the book as well. 

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  • Posted January 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 Stars 'The Girl in the Glass' is an interesting novel about

    3.5 Stars

    'The Girl in the Glass' is an interesting novel about family, destiny, and finding yourself. The writing was well done and had a good pace. The setting of the novel was perfect and I loved getting to explore Italy in both the past and the present with the author's detailed descriptions. The storyline was intriguing and had lots of mystery, magic, and history mixed together. This was a really fascinating concept and the author managed to pull it off and still have the reader believing it could actually be true. I definitely recommend this for fans of historical fiction and also for those who love to read about foreign places and mysterious family secrets.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    I was a little skeptical when I picked this book up. I never rea

    I was a little skeptical when I picked this book up. I never read anything by Meissner before and the backcover blurp appeared almost a little too simple, cliché, and childish for a young adult/adult book. Not to mention a bit weird. I mean, seriously, no one can talk to someone of the past through paintings and sculptures. You can imagine how surprised and pleased I was to find it a most refreshing read!

    Meissner uses fresh phrasing, to-the-point dialogue, a description that enchants as much as it sucks you into her world. Her story, revolving around book editor, Marguerite (Meg) Pomeroy, is one of mystery and history (definitely endearing for me). Meg has had one dream her whole life: to visit the ancient city of Florence. Ever since her Italian grandmother passed away, her father promised to take her as a graduation present. But she has long since passed high school, and then college, and still they have never taken the promised trip, and now she has a life immersed in the publication business. Life goes on day to day, and though she still dreams of going to Florence, reminisces about her past longings and memories of her grandmother,

    Probably the thing that singles this novel out the most is Meissner’s powerful way with words. Not only do you believe with every ounce of your being that Meg wants to go to Florence, that she should go to Florence, but you want to go too, to see the things she pictures, the settings she paints, the artwork she describes... Not only do you believe Sophia’s claim of hearing Nora, but you hear her too. And you want to tell the world. There is something almost magical in the way Meissner speaks, like a beautiful lilt of poetry, a last spec of color dancing on the horizon of a dark world. It is captivating.

    There was only one drawback to the book. Meg is needy, in many ways, all relatable and understandable, but throughout the books she struggles between “picking” one of three men. By the end of the book, the reader is more or less tired about her wishy-washy desires for love, yet inability to just sit down and choose.

    Still, it is a beautiful story about restoration, relationships, and learning to keep your imagination and reality in two places.

    "What does one do with a heart that has been broken? One might look for a bonding agent that will fuse all the pieces back together. Or one might learn to live among the shards.
    Or one might be tempted to sweep up the bits and toss them and be done with hearts." ~ Nora

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  • Posted January 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    My thoughts: A good book. Very descriptive in ┬┐painting pictures

    My thoughts: A good book. Very descriptive in “painting pictures” of Florence and the many wonderful works of art that have come from this area of our world. I enjoyed the story line and how sometimes we have to just be brave and step out on our own – follow our dreams.

    Jumping between times in history was hard to follow at times, but in the end it came together. I enjoyed the characters of Meg, Sophia & Nora and how their lives entwined. (rev. P.Howard)

    DISCLOSURE: A complimentary review copy was provided by Blogging for Books on behalf of the publisher, WalterBrook Press and the author to facilitate our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.

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  • Posted December 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Dreaming of Florence

    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

    Ever since Meg was a child, she had always dreamed of going to Florence Italy. Her mother had a painting on her wall of herself as a young child posing near a statue that has captivated Meg for a long time and became her calling. When her grandmother passed away, her unreliable father makes a promise to one day take Meg to Florence and unfortunately those plans are put on hold.

    Year pass Meg works for a book publisher and keeps in touch with Lorenzo and his sister from Florence who are writing a travel book. When her father shows up on her doorsteps promising to do go on his promise this time, the turn of events that follow Meg is one emotional roller coast.

    When Meg arrives in Florence, she has to come to terms that her father is not there to meet her. She ends up staying with Sofia Borelli a woman who claims to be possible the last Medici, who is writing a book about her life and claims to hear Nora Orsini's voice in paintings and statues. Sofia takes Meg on to a tour through Florence and all it's beauty that parts of the book had me wishing that I was there as well. I have never been to Florence but after reading The Girl in The Glass, I kind of wish one day to visit.

    Oh my goodness, I cannot express how I had felt about this book. I was happy and sad and angry. There were times that I wanted to scream and throw the book because of everything that unfolded. Other time my jaw hit the floor. Now, I have not read a book like this in a while and boy was I missing something. Susan Meissner writing is like beautiful magic. The book was amazing. It really was a roller coast ride of emotions. I loved the characters so much it was sad to see them go. I was very attached to Meg, because I know she wanted everything to happen for the best and I really hated Sofia's uncle and Lorenzo's sister – two characters that really mad me kind of mad through the book. I won't go into why or else it will ruin it. I loved Lorenzo as well, he had me rooting for him until the very end. This true was an amazing read.

    Even thought this is a Christian book, it was missing the Christian characteristics. It was a comforting clean read that was both engaging and compelling. Where you could truly feel for the characters and their love for Florence Italy.

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  • Posted December 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    How does she do it again and again? How does the author Susan Me

    How does she do it again and again? How does the author Susan Meissner create yet another amazing story that entwines past and present? Her novels gently invite you to step into their world. The people and their stories stay with you even after you put the book down. Susan’s characters are real and complex and become interesting people you long to know more about. The Girl in the Glass is no different...

    The Girl in the Glass is actually a story of three women - Meg, Nora and Sophia. Their different lives, though not all even in the same time period, fit together around Florence to form a wonderful story of love, loss and courage. They each are trying to decide who they are and whether or not their past or their parents’ choices define them now. Nora’s nurse encourages Nora in the following section for the book:

    She took me to the looking glass in my room and stood me in front of it. “You see that girl in the glass?” she said to me. “You are the one who will say who she is, Nora. You decide who she will be and whose daughter she is and the kinds of parents she has. You are the girl in the glass.”

    Does Nora find the courage she needs in the beauty that surrounds her? Will the lines between reality and fiction become too blurred for Sophia? Does Meg find someone worth the risk of being loved? She shares a beautiful, thought provoking thought from her greatly loved grandmother:

    “...Heaven’s rules don’t just tell us what to do and not do. They tell us what God is like. People searching for God only need to look at what God says is important. I think love is important to Him. so there are rules about it. Not to make us feel bad about how far we fall short, but to show us how wonderful the real thing is.”

    I have been sick recently, so of course sleep is even more important. However I truly had to force myself to stop reading and go to bed all the way through The Girl in the Glass. I could have read this book all night! In conclusion, I highly recommend this book... but maybe you shouldn’t start it on an evening when you really need to get a good night of rest! :)


    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books, Waterbrook Multnomah Publisher’s book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Imagine having a trip that you have dreamed of taking, since you

    Imagine having a trip that you have dreamed of taking, since you were a child. Your father has told you, and promised your grandma, that he will take you someday. As you get older, you start to wonder if the trip will ever happen. You think of taking it on your own, you meet clients through work that live there, and it weighs on you. Finally, your dad comes and tells you that now is the time. You start to hear that your dad may have done something that borders on bad and the next thing you know, you receive a parcel with a ticket for that day. You throw together a suitcase of stuff, send some quick messages to let your work know you won't be in the next few days, you find a friend to take you several hours to the airport and board a plane alone. You expect to see your dad when you arrive, yet when you arrive, he is no where to be found. You are alone in a strange city, a city you love and have always wanted to visit, but where you know only a couple of people that you have worked with but never met and you have no reservations, no plans.
    This is what happens to Meg in <i>The Girl in the Glass</i>
    by Susan Meissner. The Girl in the Glass is a captivating story that tells the story of Meg, Nora and Sophia.
    Meg fell in love with Florence as a child. Her grandmother had a painting of herself as a child in Florence. All of her life, Meg has dreamed of visiting her grandmother's Florence. She works as an editor for a publisher of travel books. Lorenzo, an author from Florence that she works with, introduces her to Sophia, a woman that lives across the hall from him that wants to be a writer.
    Sophia claims to be the last living descendant of the Medici family. She provides tours of Florence for travelers and is writing a personal memoir woven amongst the back drop of the great sites in Florence. Once Meg starts reading, she is hooked and keeps asking for more. The only thing that bothers her is how she will convince her company to publish the book, because Sophia claims to hear Nora Orsini speak to her through the great paintings and statues in Florence.
    Nora lived in the late 1500s and was the descendant of Cosimo de' Medici, when Florence was in the prime of the Renaissance. Her story is woven throughout the book and told from her perspective.
    After many years of promising to take her to Florence, Meg's father says that this is the year. She expects that they will plan the trip together, but one day a package arrives with a plane ticket for her and a cash card. The ticket is for that day! She frantically pulls everything together and gets to the airport for her flight, certain that her dad will be waiting to greet her in Florence but he doesn't. Through the course of the next week, Meg experiences Florence and gets to know Sophia, Lorenzo and Renata better.
    Suffice to say that the book is a wonderful tale that pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading. My only disappointment with the book is the inclusion of the Forward to Sophia's book. It's not that I was disappointed that her book was published, it was that I was disappointed to have two years summarized in two pages. I like that I don't have to wonder what happens to Meg and Sophia, but I would love to read more of the details of those two years. Who knows, maybe the author used that Forward as a way to provide a teaser for a future book that will explore the development of the story from the end of the first tale to the publication of her book.

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  • Posted November 12, 2012

    This book inspired me to take another look at the way I view thi

    This book inspired me to take another look at the way I view things. The characters were inspired and flawlessly flawed, I felt like I could have tea with Sofia and Meg and sit for a painting with Nora. The story itself was beautiful. There was just enough elements of magic that it sated the little girl in me but not too much that I felt the story wasn't real. I had never read a book that tied together elements from so many different genres so flawlessly.
    Two thumbs up! A must read!

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  • Posted November 10, 2012

    Meg has dreamed of going to Florence since she was a child and s

    Meg has dreamed of going to Florence since she was a child and she fell in love with a painting at her grandmother's house. But after her grandmother's death her less than reliable father is always putting the plans on hold. Even though she is now a grown woman, Meg waited to take the trip because she believed her father would fulfill his promise to her.....someday.

    A series of strange meetings and conversations with her father take place and this time she truly believes he will do what he says he will. But, when Meg arrives in Florence her father is nowhere to be found leaving her all alone in a foreign country. Luckily through her job, she knows of a brother/sister photography team that lives in Florence and had told Meg of a tour guide/aspiring memoir writer named Sofia. Not only is she at home, she invites Meg to stay with her while she is in Florence and show her around the city. Sofia claims to be one of the last surviving members of the Medici family and that a long ago Medici princess communicates with her from the great master pieces of the Italian Renaissance.

    As Meg sees Florence through Sofia's and Nora's eyes her views of life are changed forever as she and Sofia answer the question: &quot;What if renaissance isn't just a word? What if that's what happens when you dare to believe that what is isn't what has to be?&quot;

    I was immediately drawn in and captivated by The Girl in the Glass. It was nothing like I had ever read before. It had the mystery element, an element of romance, and history. But it was more than that too. The book kept me guessing even when I thought I had it all figured out. There were parts that I thought were a little odd. There was a section that a deception took place having to do with Sofia's father, uncle, Meg, and Lorenzo that bothered me and I wished it had been written differently, but overall it was a great story. I loved the characters and the setting. The author's descriptions of Florence were wonderful. I also really enjoyed the ending.

    I received a complimentary copy of The Girl in the Glass from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.

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  • Posted October 25, 2012

    A young girl falls in love with a painting. A painting. Then s

    A young girl falls in love with a painting. A painting. Then she falls in love with a place. Florence, Italy.

    In the painting a statue beckons with outstretched hand to a girl, her grandmother, her Nonna. The painting was crafted by the young girl's great-great-grandfather.

    Nonna tells this child that she, Meg, is the child in the painting. Just as her Nonna was that child once upon a time.

    Meg's obsession with the painting grows, especially after Nonna promises a trip to Florence upon high school graduation. But the trip never comes about as her Nonna dies when Meg is 12.

    Meg never gives up on her dream of seeing Florence and finding the statue in the painting. Her father's promises to take her there are never fulfilled.

    Finally, through her work, she finds herself in Florence still hunting her dream. And perhaps also hoping to find love, someone who truly cares for her.

    In The Girl in the Glass, Susan Meissner has painted with words an intriguing tale of love, lost love, jealousy, envy, and a mysterious tale involving an Italian writer named Sophia Borelli who believes she a descendant of the Medicis and in fact from Medici princess Nora Orsini.

    The story of these women is woven like threads in a tapestry. They each experienced a love of Florence at times joyous, at times fraught with frustration. Each of them have loved and yet been disappointed by that love, contrasting the cost of love and the gift of love despite circumstances.

    The Girl in the Glass is a book I could not put down. Meissner crafts characters that live on long after the back cover closes. Her descriptions of Florence transport. The plot builds every so slowly but powerfully. You won't be disappointed by this book!

    My favorite quote:

    &quot;Imagine that you've been empowered to believe Renaissance isn't just a word; it's the essence of rebirth; it's what happens when you dare to believe what is isn't what it has to be; it can be remade.&quot;

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  • Posted September 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Renaissance is a word with hope infused in every letter. The Gi

    Renaissance is a word with hope infused in every letter.
    The Girl in the Glass is about discovery, of places, people, of yourself and the strength that lies within. Meissner weaves a story about three women connected to the renaissance time period. These women are Meg, an editor for a travel book publishing company in California; Nora Orsini, a member of the Medici family in the Italian aristocracy; and Sophia Borelli, an aspiring memoir-writer. Their stories past and present collide with purpose and desire and their lives will be changed forever.

    Meissner’s story, on many levels, deals with disappointment, hope displaced and the determination to live daily with dreams in the present. She takes words like, Renaissance, rules of love and gives them new meaning for the heart. This story will stir your artist heart; will stir the imagination of the writer, and the dreams of the historian.
    Susan Meissner created unique characters that are realistic and interesting. Although the story started out slow, possibly intentionally, I thought it would go in another direction entirely and it did not disappoint. I would recommend The Girl in the Glass to anyone, especially for those with a love of the renaissance, beautiful art, and all things Italian.

    I received this eBook from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in their Blogging for Books program for this review.

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    Posted November 6, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

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