I sort-of liked The Glassblower of Murano. Nora goes to Venice after her husband divorces her for a uglier woman. Her idea is to focus on her glassblowing career, inspired to go not only by a desire to develop her own artistic skill with glass but also by a desire to find a link to family, more precisely to a famous glassblower ancestor of a father she never knew. Not surprisingly she has to overcome some obstacles and finds some romance along the way. A lot of her success comes from her being a pretty blond that inspires men to move mountains to help her.
What did I like? Well, I lived in Italy for a year, love Venice and the clever juxtaposition of the two family members lives being tied together generations apart was done fairly well and the vehicle was good. If you like romances and a little historical fiction, you will enjoy very much. The history of the glassblowers was the most intriguing part, I thought.
What didn't I like? I didn't really like the heroine of the book, and those kinds of books are always hard sells. I never really connected to her and didn't really ever feel bad for her. I think it is just a character development issue for me. Her fish out of water story wasn't from her living in a new place, it was because she gets shunned at the workplace? She spends time telling us about the mother and her relationship with her. Then, for someone so concerned about "family" I didn't see a mention of her calling her mother to tell her about any of her big news, though she didn't have a problem mentioning how our erstwhile detective hero called his friends right away. She's supposed to not be concerned about money after the divorce but then we find out she's relieved she's been paid so she can make one month's rent... no other mention of money in the whole thing.
Do I want to spend a whole book with someone I wouldn't like very much at a dinner party? As far as I could tell, Nora's only redeeming quality was that she was pretty and could decorate an apartment... interesting tidbits, but not a fleshed out person for me to like. Yes, yes, if the writing is good enough, the character development is good, the story is good I don't have to like the character... here, the writing was decent in parts, the story was good in parts. The problem was that just when I was getting ready to keep reading, I kept getting distracted by the break-out italicized thought quotes that were thrown in. The way I read-and I'm a fairly fast reader-made me stop this book a couple times and put it aside to read something else because I would stop and slow down so often in order to read the quote bubbles. If Marina had just told me what they were thinking in the text, I would have been happier. Again, maybe not an issue for everyone.
Enough of this story stuck for me, in the end I would say that especially if historical romance is your deal, then read it. For me, I'm going to wait to see what Fiorata Marina comes out with next... with such smart ideas to anchor the book, I think practice with her writing will only make her better and I'll be willing to give her another chance.