Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Clara and Mr. Tiffany; Susan Vreeland


Author: Susan Vreeland
Publication Year: 2011 
Publisher: Random House Audio
Edition: audio book
Reader: Kimberly Farr
Source: Library 
Date Completed: 3/7/2011
Setting: New York
Rating: 5/5 stars
Recommend: Yes 

Clara and Mr. Tiffany was an addictive novel based on the true story of Clara Driscoll. Clara was an independent, creative artist who actually designed the gorgeous Tiffany lamps so many know and love. These are the same lamps which made Louis Comfort Tiffany famous.

The story begins in the 1890s and covers a period of about sixteen years. Clara's husband has just died and she needs a job to support herself.  She takes a room at a boarding house in New York and returns to work at Tiffany Glass and Decorating, where she had worked prior to her marriage.  (Mr. Tiffany does not hire married women, and women who do marry while working there, must leave their jobs).  At Tiffanys Clara heads the woman's department. She has an amazing creative instinct, and Mr. Tiffany encourages her to to use her creative talents to explore new designs, yet once she displays her creative genius, Mr. Tiffany takes all the credit.  Nothing stops the ambitious Clara, even when the men of the Glass Cutter's Union demand that the Women's Department be shut down.  Clara continues to flourishes in her job, and her personal life. A woman born before her time, she has several handsome suitors, is a successful career woman, and has earned the respect of the women who work in her department. She has also formed meaningful friendships with a fun group of artists.

It has been a while since I read a book by Susan Vreeland, yet  I loved, Girl in Hyacinth Blue when I read it about ten years ago. Once again, Vreeland has written a truly amazing story, that held my interest beginning to end. I love the rich history, the details about stained glass design, the richly drawn characters, and the vivid portrait of life in New York City during this period in history.  Vreeland paints a clear picture of the class differences, the immigrant experience, and what working women had to endure during this period in history.  This is truly a memorable and worthwhile read.  The audio book was read by Kimberly Farr, who was spectacular. If you love historical novels, don't miss this one.

26 comments:

  1. I read the background story to this book this last week and was fascinated. Your post also adds to the interest.

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  2. I've had my eye on this one since I heard what it was about. Glad to hear it's as good as it promised to be!

    Love the new look, too! =)

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  3. This sounds like a book that would get me stirred up, but in a good way!

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  4. I listened to the audiobook for Susan Vreeland's The Passion of Artemisia and absolutely loved it! I remember you mentioning that Girl in Hyacinth Blue was a good read, so now it looks like I'll have to put this other Vreeland book on my reminder list!

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  5. This is my kind of historical fiction - and about a female artist too, which always interests me immensely.

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  6. Oh my goodness I so want to read this so I am thrilled it's as good in actuality as it sounds!

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  7. I've always enjoy historical fictions. I'm putting this on my wishlist. Thanks for the review =)

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  8. I am on the waiting list at the library for this. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  9. I love Susan Vreeland's books and historical fiction is a genre I enjoy immensely. I must read this book soon. Thanks for the review!

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  10. Diane, this sounds like my kind of book! Very fascinating story!! Thanks for the review!

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  11. I feel lost that I have never had the pleasure of reading a book by this author.

    BTW love the new look. Please tell me that is the view from your house just to make me very envious!

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  12. I heard about this book on the Books on the Nightstand podcast but wasn't sure it was for me. You just sold me on it, Diane! I'll look for the audiobook.

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  13. So many good books, so little time! Love the new blog look!!!

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  14. What an interesting book. I have my eye on a couple of Tiffany-look-alike lamps btw, just wish I could afford the real thing :)

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  15. Arg, I have this from the library and haven't gotten to it and now it's due back. I'm sure I can't renew it because everyone wants to read it. I'm so mad at myself I didn't get to this, I guess I'll have to request it again and get on it right away when it comes again.

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  16. I have been looking at this book for a while and never seem to pick it up. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I might have to listen since you said the audio was good.

    Thanks for a great review!

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  17. I've seen this book around but really didn't know what it was about (which is entirely my fault for not reading all of the reviews I've seen of it). It is frustrating to read about what women had to work against back then, but I also love reading about strong women, so I think I would like this one.

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  18. Oh, I will definitely read this one. What a good review. And I did love her other book.
    Love your new header!!!

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  19. I've been really curious about this one Diane. I'm glad to hear it's good.

    Love the new blog look!

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  20. I've been eyeing this one and I have read Vreeland in the past and enjoyed her writing. Excellent review that has made me want to grab a copy!

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  21. I love the whole Tiffany look. It makes total sense that these were designed by a woman! Of course they were!

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  22. This sounds like fun, and interesting! I have heard of Tiffany or course but not of Clara. I love it when fiction is both entertaining and teaches me a few new things.

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  23. I really enjoyed The Girl in Hyacinth Blue many years ago, too. Will add this one to my list.
    BTW, I love your header photo.

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  24. I love a good historical novel and this one has been of interest to me for awhile and now that I know your thoughts I will be ordering it soon! My book list is growing by the day! I just can't keep up with them all!

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  25. I have enjoyed other novels from this author, so I have high hopes for this one.

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  26. This does sound wonderful. I love to read historical novels based on real people, especially when they are so closely based on the facts.

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