Clara and Mr. Tiffany'
Author: Susan Vreeland
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Mar. 2012
Genre: Historical fiction
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
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!
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.
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