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Review: The Glassblower of Murano, Marina Fiorato

After her husband leaves her for a professional woman that can have his children, Leonora Manin decides to seek her heritage in Venice. Her mother fell in love with a Venetian, but wound up raising Leonora alone in London, separating her from an essential part of her heritage. Leonora arrives in Venice to learn about Corradino, one of her ancestors, and to find herself again in the city of her birth. Her story is interwoven with that of Corradino, her famous ancestor who was at the time the most skilled glassblower in the world.

I remember a lot of other bloggers reviewing this book when it came out a good while ago. It seemed to be good, but not spectacular – that  was enough for me to acquire it on my Kindle when it was on offer for just £1. I hoped to find something a little more than others did, but in the end I felt the same, just liking the story rather than really getting into it.

The first thing that turned me off from the book was the style of the writing. It was okay, but I often felt like it was trying just a bit too hard to inject the prose with beauty. It felt flat and stilted instead, with descriptions of Venice dragging on, and I really disliked the way the perspective was sometimes taken away from the main characters and written from an observer’s point of view. The book also switched around haphazardly between characters, sometimes having one new perspective for a single chapter and nowhere else in the book, which threw me off when it felt like the first half of the book was simply Leonora and Corradino. Why introduce other narrators when it’s already hard enough to connect with the two established?

The romance also happened much too quickly. They’d hardly met by the time Leonora decided she was permanently in love, and to be honest I never really connected with either of them. I did enjoy Leonora’s perspective, especially in the beginning, and felt for her, but just could not understand her attraction nor her reckless disregard for certain consequences. And I say this as a happy reader of romance novels, because I adore a good love story – unfortunately, this isn’t one. Everything was written to be a big deal, with lots of excitement and feeling and drama, but I couldn’t believe in it at all.

To top that all off, I didn’t even really like the historical parts, usually my favorites. Corradino was too cocky for my tastes, much too sure of himself, and I didn’t like what happened with the plot in that section. It just didn’t tie together as well as I would have liked; moreover, I never really “got” why Leonora felt more of a connection to Corradino than her own father, who also blew glass. Was it just because he was more famous?

I sound very critical here, but I don’t mean to be – I did actually enjoy reading The Glassblower of Murano. It passed the time well and I found it good for a casual read. But if you’re looking for a proper, in depth work of historical fiction (or even a fun switch between history and the present) I’d recommend you look elsewhere.

I am an Amazon Associate. I purchased this book.

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