Monday, December 17, 2012

She Is Too Fond of Books: Review of The Girl in the Glass

I detest book reviews that summarize a book’s plot because the reviewer always gives away some detail (typically more than one) that readers would prefer to discover themselves. It happens all the time.

However, I cannot resist reviews that communicate things like, I loved this book; I cannot stop thinking about this book; I want to share this book with you; I think you’ll love this book, too; and here’s why.

Deftly weaving together the threads of three women’s lives, Susan Meissner has created a book as rich and evocative as Florence, Italy, itself. The Girl in the Glass gives us Meg Pomeroy, a book editor house-sitting in a cottage in California. Her job is the only solid thing in her life. A fragmented childhood, a broken engagement, and an unfulfilled promise from her father give Meg’s life an untethered quality, and her dream of visiting Florence, Italy, the home of her beloved Nonna, lies always in her heart. It is possible to be homesick for a place one’s never been.

Through her friend and client, Lorenzo, who lives in Florence, Meg receives a manuscript written by Sofia Borelli, another Florentine, who claims to be descended from the Medicis. Sofia makes other eccentric and mysterious assertions, such as the ability to hear the voice of a Medici ancestress, Nora Orsini, through works of art. Though more than a bit dubious of such claims, Meg is drawn into Sofia’s story, and her desire to visit Florence strengthens

Interlaced between Meg’s story and Sofia’s manuscript is Nora herself. A child of the Italian Renaissance, Nora reflects on her short life on the eve of her wedding to a man she barely knows. Despite her precarious childhood, Nora clings to the secret of the “girl in the glass,” a secret her nurse told her years ago. This same secret serves to benefit Meg and Sofia, as well.

Meissner’s plot is well paced, with surprising twists and intriguing developments, and her descriptions are vivid, conveying a strong sense of place. Through her characters’ lives and circumstances, Meissner skillfully and elegantly addresses themes of loss and faith; reality and imagination; instability and perseverance; and the qualities of love. Although the book begins slowly, it quickly gains momentum and pulls readers into Meg’s life. The denouement is fully satisfying, even though some questions remain unanswered – just like in real life.

The Girl in the Glass is one of the better books I've read lately. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Moreover, Meissner's descriptions are so well written that I found myself daydreaming about Florence! I'm thrilled to discover an author new to me; I'll be reading more from her.

To whet your appetite, here's chapter one of The Girl in the Glass on

 I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds very interesting. I agree with you, I dislike the classic review with spoilers.

    I like the atmosphere of the book you describe.

    Thanks for your review.


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