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The Glassblower of Murano    by Marina Fiorato order for
Glassblower of Murano
by Marina Fiorato
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2009 (2009)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Nora Manin's life has changed. She has just gone through a painful divorce and is still trying to make sense of it all. Her ex-husband has moved on, marrying his mistress and they now await the birth of their first child. This hurts Nora, as she had tried to have children, but it was never meant to be. Nora wonders what she could have done better, and where her life will take her now. Nora's mother is no comfort to her, as she has had bad relationships in her past also. Nora grew up never knowing her own father.

Nora decides to go to Venice, her birthplace and the home of her famous ancestor, Corradino Manin, a glassblower and mirror artist. She tells no one her plans, packs her bags, and arrives in Venice with no job, no place to live, and very little money. Nora explores the city but soon goes to the island of Murano where all the glassblowing factories are located. Nora is a glassblower herself and hopes to land a job so that she can stay in Venice. Approaching a factory owner for a position she is turned down until he finds out her family name.

Adelino, the factory owner, is surprised to learn that Nora is a descendant of Corradino Manin, the famous artist who once worked out of the same factory. He hires her and she immediately feels a connection to the factory. She begins the process of paperwork for her work permit and meets Alessandro, a police detective who helps speed up the red tape. He suggests that Nora use her birth name, Leonora Manin, to get quicker results. Alessandro makes time to help Leonora find an apartment, and takes her out to a few local restaurants. Before long Leonora finds herself falling in love with the handsome detective.

Taking advantage of her heritage, Adelino runs an ad campaign to boost business, with pictures of Leonora and her famous ancestor. Other artists working in the factory resent Leonora's talent and her rise to fame. Fellow artist Roberto gives a story to a local reporter, who has romantic connections to Alessandro, and informs her Corradino sold his secrets of the art to Louis XIV of France to protect a daughter no one knew existed.

The Glassblower of Murano is told in two time frames - the 1600's telling Corradino's story, and the present telling Leonora's. It is a beautifully told tale of love, mystery, and murder. After reading this book you will want to pack your bags and leave for Venice.

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