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Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Review: The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin

The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin
ARC, Paperback, 384 pages
Kensington Press
March 1, 2010
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Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: From Author for Review for Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event
“The Murano glassmakers of Venice are celebrated and revered. But now three are dead, killed for attempting to leave the city that both prized their work and kept them prisoner. For in this, the 17th century, the secret of their craft must, by law, never leave Venetian shores. Yet there is someone who keeps the secret while defying tradition. She is Sophia Fiolario, and she, too, is a glassmaker. Her crime is being a woman. . .

Sophia is well aware that her family would be crushed by scandal if the truth of her knowledge and skill with glass were revealed. But there has never been any threat. . .until now. A wealthy nobleman with strong connections to the powerful Doge has requested her hand in marriage, and her refusal could draw dangerous attention. Yet having to accept and cease her art would devastate her. If there is an escape, Sophia intends to find it.

Now, between creating precious glass parts for one of Professor Galileo Galilei's astonishing inventions and attending lavish parties at the Doge's Palace, Sophia is crossing paths with very influential people--including one who could change her life forever. But in Venice, every secret has its price. And Sophia must decide how much she is willing to pay.”
Sophia Fiolario is the daughter of one of the great glassmakers of Murano. The making of the glass is a secret that only the men of Murano are allowed to know or partake in – except one woman knows the secret – Sophia. Sophia is betrothed to marry a man that she despises and who really has no interest in her – except so that he can carry on his own interests. At the same time she falls in love with someone she can’t have. As her life starts to spiral out of control, Sophia worries as to what will happen to the glassworks factory and what will happen to her now that she knows the secret…

I have to admit that going into this book I had no idea what “the secret” of the glass was, and I was oblivious to it for awhile – although it was fairly obvious now that I look back at it. I loved learning all about how glass was made – I could almost see it happening in my mind (I can make some beautiful glass in my mind). This is the second book in a short time that I have read about artisans – the previous one being The Queen’s Dollmaker by Christine Trent. It was enjoyable to read about something other than royalty for a little while.

I loved the character of Sophia. I could feel all of her emotions and desires. I also was fascinated by her love interest, Teodoro – she picked a good one all right! The characters were very well developed – even the minor characters. I also enjoyed how Galileo was a prominent character, without being the main character. I found him very likeable and it encouraged me to look up a little more about him (someone I didn’t care too much about in school).

There were a couple of small issues I had with this book. I wished the ending had a little more to it. Don’t get me wrong, I was very happy with the twist at the end, but I wish there was a little bit more after the twist. I felt like it ended a little abruptly. I also would have liked a little more explanation regarding this mysterious illness that Galileo had that affected him frequently – I’m a little perplexed about that one.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. This strengthened my enjoyment of books that focus on the more obscure characters.

You can read an excerpt of the book here to sample the author's writing. 
Reviews of this book by other bloggers


Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Donna Russo Morin:

The Courtiers Secret

The Courtier's Secret

To Serve A King

To Serve A King
[My Review]

The King's Agen

The King's Agent
[My Review]

portrait of a conspiray

Portrait of a Conspiracy (Book 1 in Da Vinci's Disciples)
Coming in May 2016

Find Donna Russo Morin: Website | Facebook | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads 


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Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Great review Heather:) I'm half way through the book and am loving it so far..I wonder what the twist at the end of the book is!

  2. Good review! I agree with you about the ending, but I did like the twist! I also wished there was a glossary - she used a lot of Italian words (which really bugged me at times).

  3. Thank you for such a great review. I am enjoying this event as much as the other two!

  4. I agree with Daphne-- the Italian really turned me off. I'll save the rest of my thoughts for my review tomorrow ;)
    thank you for your thoughts Heather! I am glad you enjoyed it!

  5. I agree with your comment that is nice to read a story that focuses on characters other than royalty for a change. There was a whole world out there that they weren't really a part of.
    I look forward to reading this book.

  6. Glad you enjoyed the book Heather! I am just started it today, looking forward to the twist at the end :)

  7. Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog.

    This book looks interesting. I love watching glass being blown-they make it look so effortless. Does anyone else love the dress on the cover? I'd like one just like it although my version would have to be let out a little :)


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