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Publisher's Summary

Against the unforgettable backdrop of New York near the turn of the 20th century, from the Gilded Age world of formal balls and opera to the immigrant poverty of the Lower East Side, best-selling author Susan Vreeland again breathes life into a work of art in this extraordinary novel, which brings a woman once lost in the shadows into vivid color.
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, which he hopes will honor his family business and 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. Publicly unrecognized by Tiffany, Clara conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which he is long remembered.
Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman, which ultimately force her to protest against the company she has worked so hard to cultivate. She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted in different ways to five men, including Tiffany, who enforces to a strict policy: he does not hire married women, and any who do marry while under his employ must resign immediately.
Eventually, like many women, Clara must decide what makes her happiest—the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.
©2011 Susan Vreeland (P)2011 Random House
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Melissa on 05-16-12

Good read with a few problems

Overall, I'm glad I listened to this book and learned about Clara Driscoll. It was gratifying to find out, through a little Internet research, that the story is based heavily on the real Clara's letters and actual stained glass pieces she is believed to have designed. The narrative, however, does drag on a bit, as other reviewers have noted, and there are a number of barely-developed characters of whom it is hard to keep track. Perhaps most importantly for me, the narrator's voice very often was unconvincing. I found her English accents unrealistic and her tone frequently sarcastic when sarcasm did not seem appropriate. The strength of this book is in the life and character of the real person, Clara Driscoll, who produced incredible works of decorative art (for which, until very recently, she received no recognition), while also managing a large department of mostly immigrant working women during a time when a workplace like Tiffany Studios was almost unheard of for women. Susan Vreeland unquestionably has a knack for bringing art to life.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By William on 04-16-11

Great Take on A Historical Story

I liked this story a lot and found myself checking the internet to see how much was based on fact. Anyone that is interested in that era should check this out. It has a lot of historical background in addition to the main storyline, but the union story at the glass factory was really interesting. Women don't appreciate what our predecessors put up with to get us to where we are not.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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