Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Girl in the Glass - by Susan Meissner

The Girl in the Glass covers multiple continents, various characters, and several hundred years of time.  Marguerite Pomeroy, or "Meg" as everyone calls her, is an editor at a publishing house that produces travel books.  Ever since she was a little girl, Meg has dreamed of traveling to but one place: Florence, Italy, the land of her beloved Nonna who died before she could take Meg there herself.  Her father has promised several times over the years since then to make the trip, but has never managed to come through on his promise.  Meg has made friends with a brother and sister author team who live in Florence and are excited at the possibility of her visit.  Additionally, their neighbor Sofia has recently been sending Meg chapters of a memoir about Florence that she is writing, a book where she claims to be the last of the Medici family, and where she talks about hearing a voice from the distant past speaking to her through art.  Will Meg's father come through on his promise?  Will Meg make it to Florence?  What will it be like for Meg to meet her Florentine friends in person?

This book started out a little slowly for me.  I had trouble making the transition between the points of view of Meg, Nora, and Sofia (I admit that some of this is the Kindle formatting, and may be easier to notice the transition in print!), but it did not take me long to get sucked in to the story.  Having studied architectural history in college, and having taken a trip to Florence several years ago, the descriptions of the city and the buildings and the art were very real to me, and I could picture them as if I had just been there yesterday.  Not only that, but the clear love of the city and its history made me want to go back tomorrow!

In addition to the city, I loved how the author weaved God into the creative works of the Renaissance.  She wrote "Wise Brunelleschi merely discovered what God had already set across man's path to stumble upon.," and in talking about the Uffizi: "Walking its halls was like walking through a corner of the Creator's mind."  While discussion of God and faith was very sparsely detailed in the book, it permeated the story through notes like this, making it very heartfelt.

The characters quickly became people I cared about, as well.  Sofia made me want to hug her and fix everything that needed fixing; I wanted to find the perfect match for Meg and have a character sweep her off her feet.  Even the minor characters were deep enough to feel like real people, for good or for bad.  While this book would not be classified as a classic love story, the love of the characters for each other, and Meg's search for what love should look like in her own life make it a much more believable tale of love than many others that I've read.

I admit that my own love of Florence may have biased my judgement on this book, but that said, I give this book 4 stars.  The ending seemed a little quirky to me, but overall, I really enjoyed this book and its characters.

You can find Susan Meissner's website HERE.
You can read an excerpt from Chapter 1 HERE.

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I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

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