Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Clara and Mr. Tiffany

'Clara and Mr. Tiffany'
Author: Susan Vreeland

Format: Paperback
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Mar. 2012
Pages: 448
Genre: Historical fiction
Grade: B
Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis: It’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows that he hopes will earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division, who conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which Tiffany will long be remembered. Never publicly acknowledged, Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman. She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted in different ways to five men, including Tiffany, who enforces a strict policy: He does not employ married women. Ultimately, Clara must decide what makes her happiest—the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.

My Take: In my pre-blogging days I read two Susan Vreeland novels in college: Girl in Hyacinth Blue and The Passion of Artemisia,  and found them both utterly fascinating. Much like her latest, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, these other fiction novels are based on factual characters. I find these types of stories so fascinating because while reading, I learn so much and am just swept away into the past. By the way, if you haven't read her previous works, I highly recommend them!

Now, onto her latest. Ok, people, where was I when this news story broke! Now, I am a big fan of the Art Deco time period and aesthetic, although perhaps not Tiffany lamps specifically, although I can definitely pick one out of a line up and yet, apparently Louis Tiffany didn't create them as we had all belivied until 2007! Nope, it was actually one of his female employees Clara Driscoll who dreamed up and designed these beautiful and iconic masterpieces.

Vreeland's novel, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, was pulled together through intense research based on all of the letters that led to this discovery and creates the story to bring us all on the journey that surrounds this mysterious woman and shows us a little more insight into her life. Now remember, this book is fiction, but it is based on fact.

Within the pages you will find a wonderful novel that will take you on an amazing journey of working women and all they had to endure in New York at the turn of the 20th Century. For those of you interested at all in the Art Deco movement and how glass and lighting is made you also find this book utterly fascinating. Also, you learn that behind this amazing, artistic, and enlightened woman, Clara Driscoll, was a woman who was very real. She had a hard time falling and staying in love, she maintained real and true friendships, and she cared for all of her workers. Through it all, her friendship with Mr. Tiffany is fascinating and the history contained within will keep you enraptured. My only complaint, it was could have been a little shorter!

For other opinions on this book, please check out the full TLC Tour here!

Cover Lust: Seriously, this is one of the most beautiful covers I've seen in a long time! 

Giveaway Details
Thanks to the author, I have one to give away! The deadline for this giveaway is June 19th; entries open to those in the US.

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST June 19th. I will draw the winners using random.org and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!


  1. So glad you enjoyed it, Leah! I find that time period so interesting. Thanks for being on the tour!

  2. Thanks for the review and giveaway! The only other book by Vreeland that I've read is The Forest Lover, but all of her books seem to be wonderful for the same reasons. :)

    +1 GFC follower
    +1 posted on sidebar at http://susie-bookworm.blogspot.com

    bookwormsusanna AT gmail DOT com

  3. I would enjoy this book. The author has written such wonderful historicals. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. This novel sounds fascinating and memorable. Thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. Thanks for the chance to win.

    nanze55 at hotmail dot com

  6. Once upon a time I meant to read a book by her...now what book was that. Bu this one sounds good too

  7. I want! You know where to find me... (if not: @BkClubCare, www.bkclubcare.wordpress.com, bkclubcare at gmail)


    This sound awesome.

  8. They should be called Driscoll lamps!!

  9. Wonderful opportunity. I would like to read this book.
    I will email you the information on how to contact me as I would rather not print personal information on the interent. Thank you for the opportunity!
    Lexie Reeves

  10. this sounds like a great novel! i haven't read any of her works before, but i'm going to look into it now. i love it when books are based on factual characters.

  11. Love to read this book


    GFC follower


  12. I love historical fiction.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  13. I follow via gfc - mamabunny13
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  14. Thank you for the chance. I truly enjoy reading anything to do with Chicago history- and I do not know much about Tiffany.


  15. I love new books!


  16. I am a follower of you through GFC!

  17. I can't remember if I entered??!!
    I'm a vintage follower!

  18. This book sounds fascinating and I'd love to read it. I grew up hearing about the Tiffany;s store since my mother, her sister and my grandmother loved Tiffany's although not the lamp! Clara Driscoll sounds like an interesting woman. How do you create something so unique and beautiful and let someone else take the credit? and that someone tells you you cannot marry and keep your job! I know there's an amazing story withing these pages and one I want to know!

    Thank you for offering a giveaway copy of the book. I;d love to win.

  19. I'm a GFC follower of your blog (Amy)


  20. I love the cover and story. Please enter me in the giveaway. stacybooks at yahoo


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