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The Gondola Maker    by Laura Morelli order for
Gondola Maker
by Laura Morelli
Order:  USA  Can
Self, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

This is a gem of a book, beautifully written in clear, simple prose. In 16th-century Venice, the firstborn son of a gondola maker must look forward to taking over his father's business, just as the sons in many previous generations have. Luca, though, has different ideas, and his rebellion causes a terrible accident, which means he must find his own way, without help or support.

Laura Morelli is an art historian, and she brings us a wealth of detail about the period, about Venice, the Serene Republic, and particularly about the craft of building gondolas. She provides ample source material for anyone who wishes to pursue any of these and other subjects related to the period. More importantly, she has woven this material very carefully into her story so that learning about all these things is truly enjoyable.

The story itself is very interesting, and we meet many unique individuals as Luca tries to find his way apart from his family. However, at the end of the book, the story just stops, leaving us to decide what Luca's fate is going to be. Although the writing, as I said, is beautiful clear through to the end, I must say I felt a bit cheated and am hoping that in her next novel the author will present her material more traditionally.

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