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The Glassblower of Murano

The Glassblower of Murano

3.8 56
by Marina Fiorato

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Venice, 1681. Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic, and Venetian mirrors are more precious than gold. Jealously guarded by the murderous Council of Ten, the glassblowers of Murano are virtually imprisoned on their island in the lagoon. But the greatest of the artists, Corradino Manin, sells his methods and his soul to the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, to


Venice, 1681. Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic, and Venetian mirrors are more precious than gold. Jealously guarded by the murderous Council of Ten, the glassblowers of Murano are virtually imprisoned on their island in the lagoon. But the greatest of the artists, Corradino Manin, sells his methods and his soul to the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, to protect his secret daughter. In the present day his descendant, Leonora Manin, leaves an unhappy life in London to begin a new one as a glassblower in Venice. As she finds new life and love in her adoptive city, her fate becomes inextricably linked with that of her ancestor and the treacherous secrets of his life begin to come to light.

Editorial Reviews

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)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
First novel melds the stories of a 17th-century master craftsman and his modern-day descendant. Born in Venice, the product of her mother's short-lived marriage to vaporetto boatman Bruno Manin, Leonora was raised in England. Now in her mid-30s, Leonora has returned to Venice, fleeing her broken marriage, destroyed by too many futile courses of IVF and by her husband's infidelity. Leonora uses her divorce settlement to launch two long-deferred quests: to learn more about her late-Renaissance forbear, renowned glassblower Corradino Manin, and to become a Venetian glass maestra herself. First stop: the Isle of Murano, still Venice's main hub of artisanal glass. In Corradino's day, craftsmen were sequestered on Murano to prevent them from communicating the secrets on which Venice's glass monopoly depended. Leonora lands an apprenticeship in the fornace (glass atelier) of Adelino. But Roberto, descended from another fabled Murano glass man, Giacomo del Piero, uses her male colleagues' gender bias against her. Sexy policeman Alessandro insinuates himself into Leonora's bed, then goes intermittently AWOL. Desperate to increase sales, Adelino hires a PR crew to capitalize on the Manin cachet, using photogenic Leonora (repeatedly described as a Botticelli-blonde beauty) as a spokeswoman. The campaign backfires when Alessandro's ex-girlfriend, a tabloid reporter, interviews Roberto, who claims that Corradino sold Venice's glass formula to France, betraying his teacher and protector, Giacomo del Piero. Now happily pregnant but unemployed, Leonora must rehabilitate the Manin name by proving Corradino wasn't a traitor. Corradino's story alternates with Leonora's. Sole survivor of a noblefamily massacred by the Doge's enforcers, The Ten, Corradino, oppressed by constant surveillance, steals away to France to create Louis XIV's hall of mirrors at Versailles. But can he save his mentor, del Piero, and his secret daughter, Leonora, if The Ten tracks him down?Despite some awkward POV shifts, the action proceeds briskly, with just enough technical and period detail to sustain interest.
From the Publisher

“I would never have guessed that this was a first novel; Marina Fiorato has beautifully recreated the bright, glittering world of the seventeenth-century glassblower, and nestled it surely within a compelling contemporary romance.” —Jeanne Kalogridis, author of The Borgia Bride and I, Mona Lisa

The Glassblower of Murano is a compelling story, richly detailed, with wonderful, memorably drawn characters.” —Diane Haeger, author of The Secret Bride and The Ruby Ring

“Fiorato captivates her reader as surely and intricately as the beautiful city of Venice enchants her characters. A fascinating tale of mystery and dedication, of love and betrayal.” —Kate Furnivall, author of The Russian Concubine

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The Glassblower of Murano

By Marina Fiorato

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2008 Marina Fiorato
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-8456-0


The Book

As Corradino Manin looked on the lights of San Marco for the last time, Venice from the lagoon seemed to him a golden constellation in the dark blue velvet dusk. How many of those windowpanes, that adorned his city like costly gems, had he made with his own hands? Now they were stars lit to guide him at the end of the journey of his life. Guide him home at last.

As the boat drew into San Zaccaria he thought not – for once – of how he would interpret the vista in glass with a pulegoso of leaf gold and hot lapis, but instead that he would never see this beloved sight again. He stood in the prow of the boat, a brine-flecked figurehead, and looked left to Santa Maria della Salute, straining to see the white-domed bulk looming in its newness from the dark. The foundations of the great church had been laid in 1631, the year of Corradino's birth, to thank the Virgin for delivering the city from the Plague. His childhood and adulthood had kept pace with the growing edifice. Now it was complete, in 1681, the year of his death. He had never seen its full splendour in daylight, and now never would. He heard a traghetto man mournfully calling for passenger trade as he traversed the Canal Grande. His black boat recalled a funeral gondola. Corradino shivered.

He considered whether he should remove his white bauta mask as soon as his feet touched the shore; a poetic moment – a grand gesture on his return to the Serenissima.

No, there is one more thing I must do before they find me.

He closed his black cloak over his shoulders against the darkling mists and made his way across the Piazzetta under cover of his tricorn and bauta. The traditional tabarro costume, black from head to foot save the white mask, should make him anonymous enough to buy the time he needed. The bauta itself, a spectral slab of a mask shaped like a gravedigger's shovel, had the short nose and long chin which would eerily alter his voice if he should speak. Little wonder, he thought, that the mask borrowed its name from the 'baubau', the 'bad beast' which parents invoked to terrify their errant children.

From habit borne of superstition Corradino moved swiftly through the two columns of San Marco and the San Teodoro that rose, white and symmetrical, into the dark. The Saint and the chimera that topped their pediments were lost in the blackness. It was bad luck to linger there, as criminals were executed between the pillars – hung from above or buried alive below. Corradino made the sign of the cross, caught himself, and smiled. What more bad luck could befall him? And yet his step still quickened.

There is one misfortune that could yet undo me: to be prevented from completing my final task.

As he entered the Piazza San Marco he noted that all that was familiar and beloved had taken on an evil and threatening cast. In the bright moon the shadow of the Campanile was a dark knife slashing across the square. Roosting pigeons flew like malevolent phantoms in his face. Regiments of dark arches had the square surrounded – who lurked in their shadows? The great doors of the Basilica were open; Corradino saw the gleam of candles from the golden belly of the church. He was briefly cheered – an island of brightness in this threatening landscape.

Perhaps it is not too late to enter this house of God, throw myself on the mercy of the priests and seek sanctuary?

But those who sought him also paid for this jewelled shrine that housed the bones of Venice's shrivelled Saint, and tiled the walls with the priceless glittering mosaics that now sent the candlelight out into the night. There could be no sanctuary within for Corradino. No mercy.

Past the Basilica then and under the arch of the Torre dell'Orologio he hurried, allowing himself one more glance at the face of the huge clock, where tonight it seemed the fantastical beasts of the zodiac revolved in a more solemn measure. A dance of death. Thereafter Corradino tortured himself no more with final glances, but fixed his eyes on the paving underfoot. Even this gave him no respite, for all he could think of was the beautiful tessere glasswork he used to make; fusing hot nuggets of irregular glass together, all shapes and hues, before blowing the whole into a wondrous vessel delicate and colourful as a butterfly's wing.

I know I will never touch the glass again.

As he entered the Merceria dell'Orologio the market traders were packing away their pitches for the night. Corradino passed a glass-seller, with his wares ranked jewel-like on his stall. In his mind's eye the goblets and trinkets began to glow rosily and their shapes began to shift – he could almost feel the heat of the furnace again, and smell the sulphur and silica. Since childhood such sights and smells had always reassured him. Now the memory seemed a premonition of hellfires. For was hell not where traitors were placed? The Florentine, Dante, was clear on the subject. Would Corradino – like Brutus and Cassius and Judas – be devoured by Lucifer, the Devil's tears mingling with his blood as he was ripped asunder? Or perhaps, like the traitors that had betrayed their families, he would be encased for all eternity in '... un lago che per gelo avea di vetro e non d'acqua sembiante ... a lake that, frozen fast, had lost the look of water and seemed glass.' Corradino recalled the words of the poet and almost smiled. Yes, a fitting punishment – glass had been his life, why not his death also?

Not if I do this last thing. Not if I am granted absolution.

With a new urgency he doubled back as he had planned and took the narrow bridges and winding alleys or calles that led back to the Riva degli Schiavoni. Here and there shrines were set into the corners of the houses – well-tended flames burned and illumined the face of the Virgin.

I dare not look in her eyes, not yet.

At last the lights of the Orphanage at the Ospedale della Pietà drew near and as he saw the candlelight warmth he heard too the music of the viols.

Perhaps it is she that plays – I wish it were so – but I will never know.

He passed the grille without a glance inside and banged on the door. As the maid approached with a candle he did not wait for her inquisition before hissing: 'Padre Tommaso – subito!' He knew the maid – a surly, taciturn wench who delighted in being obstructive, but tonight his voice carried such urgency that even she turned at once and soon the priest came.


Corradino opened his cloak and found the leather gourd of French gold. Into the bag he tucked the vellum notebook, so she would know how it had been and one day, perhaps, forgive him. He took a swift glance around the dim alley – no, no-one could have drawn close enough to see him.

They must not know she has the book.

In a voice too low for any but the priest to hear he said: 'Padre, I give you this money for the care of the orphans of the Pietà.' The mask changed Corradino's voice as he had intended. The priest made as if to take the bag with the usual formula of thanks, but Corradino held it back until the father was forced to meet his eyes. Father Tommaso alone must know him for who he was. 'For the orphans,' said Corradino again, with emphasis.

Recognition reached the priest at last. He turned over the hand that held the bag and looked closely at the fingertips – smooth with no prints. He began to speak but the eyes in the mask flashed a warning. Changing his mind the father said, 'I will make sure they receive it,' and then, as if he knew; 'may God bless you.' A warm hand and a cold one clasped for an instant and the door was closed.

Corradino continued on, he knew not where, until he was well away from the Orphanage.

Then, finally, he removed his mask.

Shall I walk on till they find me? How will it be done?

At once, he knew where he should go. The night darkened as he passed through the streets, the canals whispering goodbye as they splashed the calli, and now at last Corradino could hear footsteps behind keeping pace. At last he reached the Calle della Morte – the street of death – and stopped. The footsteps stopped too. Corradino faced the water and, without turning, said 'Will Leonora be safe?'

The pause seemed interminable – splash, splash – then a voice as dry as dust replied.

'Yes. You have the word of The Ten.'

Corradino breathed relief and waited for the final act.

As the knife entered his back he felt the pain a moment after the recognition had already made him smile. The subtlety, the clarity with which the blade insinuated itself between his ribs could only mean one thing. He started to laugh. Here was the poetry, the irony he had searched for on the dock. What an idiot, romanticizing himself, supposing himself a hero in the drama and pathos of his final sacrifice. All the time it was they who had planned the final act with such a sense of theatre, of what was fitting, an amusing Carnevale exit. A Venetian exit. They had used a glass dagger – Murano glass.

Most likely one of my own making.

He laughed harder with the last of his breath. He felt the assassin's final twist of the blade to snap handle from haft, felt his skin close behind the blade to leave no more than an innocent graze at the point of entry. Corradino pitched forward into the water and just before he broke the surface he met his own eyes in his reflection for the first and last time in his life. He saw a fool laughing at his own death. As he submerged in the freezing depths, the water closed behind his body to leave no more than an innocent graze at the point of entry.



Nora Manin woke at 4am exactly. She was not surprised, but blinked sleepily as the digital numbers of her bedside clock blinked back. She had woken at this time every night since Stephen left.

Sometimes she read, sometimes she made a drink and watched TV, numbing her mind with the inane programming for insomniacs. But tonight was different – tonight she knew there was no point even trying to get back to sleep. Because tomorrow – today – she was leaving for Venice and a new life, as the old one was over.

The digital clock and the bed were all that remained in the room that didn't wait in a box or a bag. Nora's life had been neatly packed and was destined for storage or ... or what? She rose with a groan and padded to the bathroom. Clicked on the fluorescent strip that blinked into life over the basin mirror. She splashed her face and then studied it in the glass, looking for resolve in her reflection, finding only fear. Nora pressed both hands to the place on her front between her ribs and stomach where her sadness seemed to reside. Stephen would no doubt have some medical term for it – something long and Latin. 'It wearies me,' she said aloud to her reflection.

It did. She was tired of being sad. Tired of being bright and breezy to those friends that knew Stephen's defection had left her shattered. Tired of the mundane workload of dividing what they had bought together. She remembered the excitement with which they had found and bought this house, in the first days of marriage, when Stephen had got his post at the Royal Free Hospital. She thought that Hampstead seemed impossibly grand for a teacher of glass and ceramics. 'Not when they marry surgeons,' her mother had dryly said. The house even had a name – Belmont. Nora was not accustomed to houses so grand that they deserved their own names. This one sat, appropriately, on the beautiful hill that led to Hampstead village. A model of pleasing Georgian architecture, square, white and symmetrical. They had loved the place instantly, made an offer and had, for a time, been happy. Nora supposed she should be glad. At least the money from Belmont had provided her with security. Security – she smiled wryly at the word.

I have never felt less secure. I am vulnerable now. It is cold outside of a marriage.

For the thousandth time she began to take an inventory of her reflection, looking for clues as to why Stephen had left. 'Item – two eyes, wide and indifferent green. Item – hair; blonde, long, straw-coloured. Item – skin; olive. Item – two lips; chapped with the perpetual chewing of self doubt.' She stopped. For one thing she was no Shakespearean widow, despite the fact that she felt bereaved. And for another, it gave her no comfort to know that she was younger and blonder and, yes, prettier than Stephen's mistress. He had fallen for a forty-year-old brunette hospital administrator who wore severe suits. Carol. Her antithesis. She knew that Carol wouldn't sleep in an ancient Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt and a scruffy plait.

'He used to call me his Primavera,' Nora told her reflection. She remembered when she and Stephen had seen the Botticelli painting in Florence on their honeymoon. They were both taken by the figure of Spring in her flowing white gown sprigged with flowers, smiling her slight, hermetic smile, beautiful and full of promise. With her burnished blonde ropes of hair and her leaf-green hooded eyes she bore a startling resemblance to Nora. Stephen had stood her by the painting and taken down her hair while she blushed and squirmed. She remembered the Italians calling 'bellissima', while the Japanese took photographs. Stephen had kissed her and put a hand on her stomach. 'You'll look even more like her when ...'

It had been the first year they had been trying for a baby. They were full of optimism. They were both in their early thirties, both healthy – she was a runner and Stephen a gym fanatic – and their only vice was quantities of red wine, which they virtuously reduced. But a year went by and eventually they visited a colleague of Stephen's at the Royal Free, a round and cheerful aristocrat with a bow tie. Interminable tests later, nothing was found. 'Unspecific infertility'.

'You may as well try blue smarties, they'll work as well as anything,' said the colleague, flippantly. Nora had cried. She had not fulfilled the fruitful promise of the Primavera.

I wanted something to be found – something that could be fixed.

They put themselves through a number of invasive, intrusive and unsuccessful procedures. Procedures denoted by acronyms that had nothing to do with love or nature, or the miracles that Nora associated with conception. HSG, FSH, IVF. They became obsessed. They took their eyes off their marriage, and when they looked back, it was gone. By the time Nora entered her third cycle of IVF both knew, but neither admitted, that there was not enough love left between them to spare for a third party.

It was around this time that a well-meaning friend had begun to drop hints that she had seen Stephen in a Hampstead bar with a woman. Jane had been very nonchalant about the information – she had not been damning, as if to say; 'I'm just telling you this in case you don't know. It may be innocent. I will say nothing which you cannot ignore with impunity, if you choose to. Nothing from which you cannot draw back. Nothing is lost. Only be aware.'

But Nora was consumed by the insecurity of her infertility and challenged Stephen. She expected denial, or admission of guilt and pleas for forgiveness. She got neither. The situation backfired on her horribly. Stephen admitted full culpability and, in his misplaced conceit of honourable behavior, offered to move out and then did. Six months later she learned from him that Carol was pregnant. And that was when Nora decided to move to Venice.

I am the cliché after all. Stephen is not. He left a young blonde woman for an older brunette. A jeans-wearing artist for a bean-counter in a suit. I on the other hand, instantly enter a mid-life crisis and decide on a whim to leave for the city of my ancestors and start again, like some bad TV drama.

She turned away from the mirror and looked at her packing, wondering for the millionth time if she was doing the right thing.

But I can't stay here. I can't be always running into Stephen, or her, or the child.


Excerpted from The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato. Copyright © 2008 Marina Fiorato. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian and a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare's plays as an historical source. She has worked as an illustrator, an actress, and a film reviewer, and designed tour visuals for rock bands including U2 and the Rolling Stones. Her historical fiction includes The Daughter of Siena, and The Botticelli Secret. Her debut novel, The Glassblower of Murano, was an international bestseller. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice, and now lives in London with her family.

Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian and a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare’s plays as an historical source. She has worked as an illustrator, an actress, and a film reviewer, and designed tour visuals for rock bands including U2 and the Rolling Stones. Her historical fiction includes the Venetian Bargain, The Daughter of Siena, The Botticelli Secret, and her debut novel, The Glassblower of Murano, which was an international bestseller. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice, and now lives in London with her family.

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The Glassblower of Murano ($9.99 Ed.) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
chiheatherlove More than 1 year ago
I sort-of liked The Glassblower of Murano. Nora goes to Venice after her husband divorces her for a uglier woman. Her idea is to focus on her glassblowing career, inspired to go not only by a desire to develop her own artistic skill with glass but also by a desire to find a link to family, more precisely to a famous glassblower ancestor of a father she never knew. Not surprisingly she has to overcome some obstacles and finds some romance along the way. A lot of her success comes from her being a pretty blond that inspires men to move mountains to help her. What did I like? Well, I lived in Italy for a year, love Venice and the clever juxtaposition of the two family members lives being tied together generations apart was done fairly well and the vehicle was good. If you like romances and a little historical fiction, you will enjoy very much. The history of the glassblowers was the most intriguing part, I thought. What didn't I like? I didn't really like the heroine of the book, and those kinds of books are always hard sells. I never really connected to her and didn't really ever feel bad for her. I think it is just a character development issue for me. Her fish out of water story wasn't from her living in a new place, it was because she gets shunned at the workplace? She spends time telling us about the mother and her relationship with her. Then, for someone so concerned about "family" I didn't see a mention of her calling her mother to tell her about any of her big news, though she didn't have a problem mentioning how our erstwhile detective hero called his friends right away. She's supposed to not be concerned about money after the divorce but then we find out she's relieved she's been paid so she can make one month's rent... no other mention of money in the whole thing. Do I want to spend a whole book with someone I wouldn't like very much at a dinner party? As far as I could tell, Nora's only redeeming quality was that she was pretty and could decorate an apartment... interesting tidbits, but not a fleshed out person for me to like. Yes, yes, if the writing is good enough, the character development is good, the story is good... here, the writing was decent in parts, the story was good in parts, except just when I was getting ready to keep reading, I kept getting distracted by the break-out italicized thought quotes that were thrown in. The way I read-and I'm a fairly fast reader-made me stop this book a couple times and put it aside to read something else because I would stop and slow down so often in order to read the quote bubbles. If Marina had just told me what they were thinking in the text, I would have been happier. Again, maybe not an issue for everyone. Enough of this story stuck for me, in the end I would say that especially if historical romance is your deal, then read it. For me, I'm going to wait to see what Fiorata Marina comes out with next... with such smart ideas to anchor the book, I think practice with her writing will only make her better and I'll be willing to give her another chance.
PamieHall More than 1 year ago
I've been lucky enough to have been to Italy, seen glassblowers in action (if you're ever in Vermont, try and see the glassblowing demonstrations at Simon & Pearce at The Mill in Quechee) and be familiar with the singular glass that comes from the isle of Murano. So, I anticipated with pleasure this book that, on top of being touted as a historical mystery also blended in contemporary romance. I was in the mood. Right off the bat, I noticed the book has a decidedly European feel to it and I had to hasten to the dictionary a couple of times to figure out various European uses of words or phrases that couldn't be deciphered from context. Plus, until I got past page 100 or so, I was getting the feeling that the book was going to be much more Chick Lit vs. bona fide historical fiction. So, while I was not totally captivated or impressed initially, once the 1600s back story really got going that laid the groundwork for the modern-day mystery our heroine- one Leonora Manin, a young Brit trained in glassblowing just like her talented but infamous Italian ancestor Corradino Manin, the glass "maestro" of Murano-finds herself in, I wasn't expecting much. However, I am happy to report I was wrong. Once this first-time author gets the chance to show her incredible knowledge of Venice, the art of Venetian glass working and the history of the period, you're hooked and the story moves along at quite a clip. Fiorato manages to imbue both her modern-day and historical characters with lively and believable personalities as well as recreate the glittering, romantic world of 17th century Venice and France with aplomb. Her vivid descriptions of Venetian life, art and architecture, politics and culture left me with a whole new appreciation for the period as well as the yen to learn a little bit more Italian to better appreciate the treasures of Italian art when I next get the opportunity. Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who has an interest in Italy, art or just good, solid historical mysteries. Like the glass so prized even today from the Island of Murano, Fiorato has put together a sparkling mystery as clear, hard and mesmerizing as the famed glass itself.
Paloma More than 1 year ago
Alas, another historic fiction that reads as a formula. Fiorato gives some insight into Italian culture and society, but otherwise misses the exquisite beauty of glassblowing, the strength simmering within her own heroine, and originality. The plot is woman running from a legacy of the past repeats it, instead of solving her problems, dreams of man taking care of them. What's unfortunate is that there is a story line in the book that would have been worth pursing, specifically, that of a woman glassblower with a firey independence that matched the glass she was creating. Perhaps in a sequel, Fiorato will free the character to rise to her own potential on her own merits.
cvjacobs More than 1 year ago
Marina Fiorata's novel, The Glassblower of Murano, plunges the reader into Venetian history through the eyes of a descendant from 400 years of glassblowers. Two characters grab the reader's attention. One is Corradino Manin, a man who sells his techniques to Louis XIV to protect his 'orphan' daughter, living at the Pieta. The other is Leonora Manin who in the present day travels to a new life as a glassblower in the city of her birth. The author depicts Venice as the beautiful yet seamy lady she is-the constant lapping of the water, the pastel wedding cake houses, the glory of San Marco, the palace of the Doge and much more with concrete, specific details that make the story come alive. Venice portrays a shadowy character in the novel. The shifts between three periods of history--Corradino Manin from Venice's distant past, Corradino Manin, the present day Leonora's grandfather; Leonora, the secret daughter of the Corradino of the past, and Leonora, the present day glassblower-occur without clear demarcation. Headings noting the date would easily fix this problem. The similarity of the names compounds the confusion. The author obviously put a lot of time and attention into researching Venice's past and brings Venice to life in the novel, showing both the crude and enchanting sides of a fascinating city. Towards the end of the novel, the tempo accelerates to the breakneck pace of a thriller and I could not stop turning the pages. A patient reader will find a lovely, determined woman, richly characterized figures from the past and a wonderful romance. For lovers of historical novels and exotic places, this is a great read!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1681 in the Republic of Venice, glassblowing is the major industry; throughout the continent everyone especially the wealthy demands Venetian glass and mirrors. The Council of Ten controls the city-state's glassblowing guild to the point they will kill to keep scabs out. The most famous Venetian artist Corradino Manin is forced to sell his secret methods to French King Louis XIV in order to keep his hidden daughter safe though by doing so the cost is his heart and soul.-------- Centuries later, descendant, Leonora Manin leaves a broken marriage and London having obtained work as a modern day apprentice glassblower in the Venetian suburb Murano. Her boss knows of her connection to the greatest glassblower ever and plans to take advantage of her illustrious ancestry. Jealousy as it did several hundred years ago leaves the British expatriate in trouble with her vocation and with hAlessandro Bardolino; however, as she researches her great ancestor she realizes her troubles are minor envies compared to what Corradino faced from invidious villains.------------- The descriptions of seventeenth century Venice as a literally backstabbing dangerous place will hook the audience even as the contemporary subplot is exciting and well written. The story line is fast-paced as the two Manin's three plus centuries apart face some of the seven deadly sins though the difference in how deadly what each confronts is quite startling as his lethal to the body and the soul while hers is more spiritual. Marina Florato provides a strong thriller.- Harriet Klausner
bhekadawn More than 1 year ago
I was not sure what to expect when I opened this book, but was pleasantly surprised. The story flowed nicely, the characters were believable, and I learned alot about the history and art of glassblowing. It was a fun book all in all. When I am entertained and learn something at the same time, I know it's good! I would recommend this bood to anyone looking for a good read!
BooksMania More than 1 year ago
Learnt a lot about Venice's glassblowing history, while being intrigued by the story. finished it in one night - 4 stars. Will definitely buy the Venetian Bargain with my next order. If you know of more romantic or history fiction novels/movies setting in Venice, please post them. here are the ones I recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book after going to Venice and feeling drawn to the history of Murano glass. The historical information in this book is interesting, and the story is alright. However, the main character (who you're supposed to be rooting for as she begins a new life) is not very sympathetic. She felt rather weak to me, which was a shame because I really wanted to like her!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was a great book. The first book by this author is a more suspensful read but this one was really good too. I had to keep reading to see what happened!
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SweetHarmoney More than 1 year ago
This I would recommend to all young ladies and older women. Ms. Fiorato's spin on glassblowers is great. Would recommend to all.
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I actually got this as "free Friday" book and wasn't expecting much but it turned out to be a really enjoyable read. The characters and setting are very interesting. Good book.
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