2.5 out of 5: Still reeling from her divorce, Leonora Manin arrives in Venice, the city where she was born, to seek a job as a glassblower in the historic business once owned by her illustrious ancestor, Corradino Manin. As Leonora continues to learn her trade and rediscovers romance, she uncovers dark secrets about Corradino's past and the difficult decision he was forced to make. This debut novel alternates between Leonora's contemporary story and Corradino's 17th century story, but Fiorato's beautiful descriptions of Venice enhance both stories:
Everything here [in Venice] was beautiful, even the decay. Rotting houses stood next to glorious palaces, squeezed on either side by grandeur, their lower floors showing tidemarks of erosion where the lagoon was eating them alive. The stained masonry crumbled into the canal like biscotti dipped in Marsala .... It was as if they submitted with pleasure to the tides--a consummation, one devoutly to be wished.
The Glassblower of Murano is a light historical mystery coupled with a modern love story, all taking place in the beautiful City of Water. The plot is fairly prosaic and predictable, but the evocative setting and likeable characters make this an entertaining read.