Monday, February 7, 2011

Clara & Mr. Tiffany - Vreeland

Susan Vreeland

Clara works for Mr. Louis Comfort Tiffany at his glass studio. What starts as just jobs in elegant stained glass windows turns into her own personal renaissance when she realizes they can take the same simple principles and make lamps. While Clara fights to establisher herself, and her department of female glass workers she must struggle against the conventions of the early 1900's and the rules Mr. Tiffany sets down. The foremost of which is that married women can not work for him.

Susan Vreeland does a fantastic job of bring Clara, the little know and rarely credited designer, to life. A fully formed character, Clara is eager to place, and to make a name for herself. While she craves love, she values her Independence even more. All of this makes her unique for a story set in turn of the century New York.  Clara is supported by a cast of artists, accountants and friends who can be two dimensional at times, they are endearing.

Clara and Mr. Tiffany is a great example of historical fiction. A New York on the verge of becoming a cultural hub is brought to life without being over worked. From boarding houses to the newly made subway, little snippets of history are tucked neatly into Vreelands pages.

Overall I enjoyed this book, even if at times it felt a bit long. If you're a fan of Vreeland, or similar authors you'll find yourself a reliable read here.


Karen said...

I've got this book beside my bed right now and have made a start on it. I agree with you - I'm getting a bit stuck in some places - some of the descriptions are overly long I think.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

This is a timely post! I just finished the audio version of Vreeland's The Passion of Artemisia, and really enjoyed it, my review is up from the other day (I love books on art and books set in Italy, and this was both!) - I will definitely check this one out! I've heard great things about her other book The Girl in Hyacinth Blue.