The Glassblower of MuranoBook - 2009
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 oneas 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.
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During the Renaissance Corradino Manin became a glass artisan by complete accident. Hiding on the island of Murano after his family was betrayed by one of their own, the young Corradino survived by learning the craft of the Murano glassblowers. So well did he learn the craft that he becomes the best, most renowned, most sought-after maestro of glass in the known world. It is precisely because of his fame that his fate is sealed when he finds he has a daughter, Leonora, the product of an affair with a noblewoman. Forever separated from her by class but hoping to build a life for them together, he commits an act of treason – but before doing so gives her a perfectly shaped glass heart. Now in the present day, Nora leaves behind her life in England to take up residence in Venice, Italy, the home of her ancestors and the father she never knew. All she takes with her is the tiny glass heart that her father passed down to her, a heart forged and shaped by her Renaissance ancestor Corradino Manin. Nora changes her name back to the Italian Leonora, and tries to find peace in the ancient, decaying city, forever known for its beauty and treachery. When she is hired by a glass foundry on the very street named for Corradino, the past and present begins to converge, taking Leonora in directions she never imagined. Two stories forming one, both sad and beautifully hopeful, and both stirring up vibrant images of a city always enchanting and ensnaring – that’s the recipe for a fine novel.
Coarse Language: mild use of the f-word in the latter half of the book
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