...making decisions on the basis of what seems best instead of following some single doctrine or style.
Me in a nutshell!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Royal Book Review of The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin...

Since I am one of the last to do a review I will not belabor the point by telling the story all over again instead I have decided to bullet the main points and highlights.

  • Sophia Fiolaro is the eldest daughter of Zeno Fiolaro a Murono Glass Maker

  • She is a no nonsense kind of gal, rather reserved compared to her two younger boy crazy sisters

  • She has inherited the artistic gift of glass making from her father

  • She has to create her pieces in secret because it is against the law for women to pursue glass making.

  • In fact the government controls the glass making industry. Don't think you are going to leave for another country to pursue your glass making career. The Venetians will track you down and kill you. The Murano glass makers are the best in the world and the secret of their glass making is not going to leave Venice.

  • Being the eldest daughter with no brothers and the fact that her father, Zeno, has dementia puts Sophia in an uncompromising position. She must marry money so her family is provided for and her younger sisters have dowry's otherwise they will end up in convents.

  • The man that has offered marriage to Sophia is of course older, chubby, with bad manners and a horrible family. He could care less about Sophia other than the fact that she gives him some notoriety.

  • Predictably Sophia hates him and falls in love with a tall, dark handsome young man that she can't marry. Of course they are drawn together, Sophia lamenting that her life will be without love and she can't abide that.

  • This is just the gest of the story to get you interested in reading the book. There is oh so much more to the story which does make it worth while to read.


  • Traveling through Venice in the gondolas

  • Becoming acquainted with the glass making process

  • Learning about the measures that were taken to protect the secret of the glass

  • Galileo's involvement~I really knew nothing much about Galileo. It is still amazing to me that as late as the early 17th century mankind still viewed the earth as the center of the universe. It was only a century before that the earth was still viewed as being flat.

  • Learning about St. Mark's body being buried in Venice and that he is their Patron Saint

  • How women were excluded from art and viewed really as fluffy, nonsensical beings in 17th century Italy.

  • Learning about the politics involved between the Doce, Pope and the glass makers.


  • Sluggish. Too much description and information crammed in.

  • Predicable with the arranged marriage, and impossible love

  • Well researched

  • Beautifully described scenes

  • Loved the Italian phrases

  • Learning about Galileo was my favorite part, that was done very well.

  • All in all it was an entertaining book and fast read.


  1. Very clever way to do a review - I like it! I agree with most of your critique except for the use of the Italian phrases - they drove me nuts! A glossary would have been a nice addition.

  2. Liked your to the POINT format, well done.
    LOL at Daphne, and I agree with her on both issues.
    The scenery was vivid, I do agree with you on that and the sluggishness. On the plus side, I did learn alot about Venice and their culture more than I ever expected to. Thanks for your thoughts, Susie!

  3. Great way to sum up after a week of reviews.

  4. Hey- short and sweet, precise and just what is needed to get an overall picture and feel for the book. Thanks Susie!

  5. I learned SO much about the Venetian culture from this book. I had not read anything set in this area - or Italy in general - so it was an eyeopener. Very concise review.

  6. I do enjoy a quick read every now and again so I'll have to give this one a try. I'm also interested in learning more about Galileo because after finishing Signora da Vinci by Robin Maxwell I fascinated by those who made the Renaissance possible!

  7. Great way to give a honest review. I too agree it was a bit over descriptive but when it was that way about the glass I was all for it.

  8. Awesome and creative way to post this review! Thanks :)

  9. I agree with all your points, Susie. It was slow in the beginning for me too, but definitely worth reading, especially as I don't read too much historical fiction that takes place in 17th c. Venice.

    Daphne, I like your idea about the glossary. While the Italian phrases didn't bother me (I take Italian classes twice a week so they actually tested me a bit!), I think it would have been nice to have had a glossary. If it were in another language I didn't have any familiarity with, like French, it probably would have annoyed the heck out of me.

  10. I'm an information lover, so the first part of the book should appeal. I can see how it would slow the story down though. A quick read is good. I have so many in my TBR pile and it is growing every day.

  11. Great way to write a review! Galileo was my favorite part as well :)


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