Writing beautiful but the story fell a little flat
September 14, 2012
To be honest I'm not exactly sure what my thoughts on this book actually are. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. This was my first Susan Meissner book and I have to say she is an extremely talented author. The book was written in a beautiful, almost melodic, way that drew you in. The way Florence was described was exquisite and kind of made you feel like you were actually there. However, for me, the plot of the book fell a little flat and I did not get into the characters at all. And maybe it was the place, rather than people or story, that was the center and purpose of the book. If so then it was perfectly done. All in all this was a pretty good one time read but I doubt I'll pick it up again.
This has been one of the best books I have read this year. I loved getting to know Sophia, Meg and Nora and how their stories came alive within the pages of The Girl in the Glass. The only complaint I have is that the book had to end. Susan Meissner brought the Italian Renaissance to life through her vivid descriptions of the art that Michaelangelo, da Vinci, and others left as gifts to the world. I highly recommend this book to all.
(Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review)
The Girl in the Glass covers multiple continents, various characters, and several hundred years of time. Marguerite Pomeroy, or "Meg" as everyone calls her, is an editor at a publishing house that produces travel books. Ever since she was a little girl, Meg has dreamed of traveling to but one place: Florence, Italy, the land of her beloved Nonna who died before she could take Meg there herself. Her father has promised several times over the years since then to make the trip, but has never managed to come through on his promise. Meg has made friends with a brother and sister author team who live in Florence and are excited at the possibility of her visit. Additionally, their neighbor Sofia has recently been sending Meg chapters of a memoir about Florence that she is writing, a book where she claims to be the last of the Medici family, and where she talks about hearing a voice from the distant past speaking to her through art. Will Meg's father come through on his promise? Will Meg make it to Florence? What will it be like for Meg to meet her Florentine friends in person?
This book started out a little slowly for me. I had trouble making the transition between the points of view of Meg, Nora, and Sofia (I admit that some of this is the Kindle formatting, and may be easier to notice the transition in print!), but it did not take me long to get sucked in to the story. Having studied architectural history in college, and having taken a trip to Florence several years ago, the descriptions of the city and the buildings and the art were very real to me, and I could picture them as if I had just been there yesterday. Not only that, but the clear love of the city and its history made me want to go back tomorrow!
In addition to the city, I loved how the author weaved God into the creative works of the Renaissance. She wrote "Wise Brunelleschi merely discovered what God had already set across man's path to stumble upon.," and in talking about the Uffizi: "Walking its halls was like walking through a corner of the Creator's mind." While discussion of God and faith was very sparsely detailed in the book, it permeated the story through notes like this, making it very heartfelt.
The characters quickly became people I cared about, as well. Sofia made me want to hug her and fix everything that needed fixing; I wanted to find the perfect match for Meg and have a character sweep her off her feet. Even the minor characters were deep enough to feel like real people, for good or for bad. While this book would not be classified as a classic love story, the love of the characters for each other, and Meg's search for what love should look like in her own life make it a much more believable tale of love than many others that I've read.
I admit that my own love of Florence may have biased my judgement on this book, but that said, I give this book 4 stars. The ending seemed a little quirky to me, but overall, I really enjoyed this book and its characters.
I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.
In "The Girl in the Glass" by Susan Meissner we meet Meg. Meg's grandmother grew up in Florence and when she was a child she was painted in front of a statue and Meg has always been drawn to the painting and to Florence. Meg's father promised her that he would take her to Florence someday but he never comes through on his promise. When she finds out that he stole the money and bought her ticket she goes to Florence in hope of finding her father and getting the truth out of him. Meg soon finds herself all alone in a foreign country. Before Meg left the states she was told about Sofia. Sofia is an aspiring writer who hopes that Meg will help get her memoirs published. Sofia introduces Meg to the beauty of Florence. It is everything she dreamed but things are not what they seem with Sofia. Sofia claims to be the last surviving member of the Medici family and that a Medici princess, Nora, talks to her through the paintings and statues in Florence. Also while in Italy, Meg meets Lorenzo. He and his sister are a team who publish books with Meg's company. She feels drawn to him but she is confused about her feelings for him and for Gabe, a man she left in the states. Who will Meg choose? And is Sofia truly a Medici?
This book drew me in from the beginning and I did not want to put it down. The author weaves a story of intrigue and love in the telling of the lives of Meg, Sofia and Nora. You will feel compassion for all three women the more you read. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. To read the first chapter of the book visit http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=213506&isbn=9780307730428.