|Amazon link: The Girl in the Glass|
Book Review by Amy Drown
Renaissance is a word with hope infused in every letter.
Since she was a child, Meg has dreamed of taking a promised trip to Florence, Italy, and being able to finally step into the place captured in a picture at her grandmother’s house. But after her grandmother passes away and it falls to her less-than-reliable father to take her instead, Meg’s long-anticipated travel plans seem permanently on hold.
When her dad finally tells Meg to book the trip, she prays that the experience will heal the fissures left on her life by her parents’ divorce. But when Meg arrives in Florence, her father is nowhere to be found, leaving aspiring memoir-writer Sophia Borelli to introduce Meg to the rich beauty of the ancient city. Sophia claims to be one of the last surviving members of the Medici family and that a long-ago Medici princess, Nora Orsini, communicates with her from within the great masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance.
When Sophia, Meg, and Nora’s stories intersect, their lives will be indelibly changed as they each answer the question: What if renaissance isn’t just a word? What if that’s what happens when you dare to believe that what is isn’t what has to be?
In My Honest Opinion:
I love Italian food. Several of my favorite movies are set in Italy. I have Italian pop music and opera on my iPod. I even have an entire Italian immigrant community in the Historical Fiction novel I am writing. But even after all of this, I never felt particularly compelled to visit Italy myself . . . until I read The Girl in the Glass.
Susan Meissner has crafted a remarkably moving story that is literally sensual and sensational. Page after page, I could see the glorious antiquities of Florence, feel the golden warmth of the Italian sun and Italian hospitality, hear the music of the Italian rhythm of life, and definitely smell and taste the food. Oh. My. Goodness. The food! I should NOT have read this book while hungry. I kept interrupting my reading to jot down recipes I needed to look up after reading about them in this story. I think I gained a good twenty pounds just by reading about everything Meg and Sophia eat. Darn Meissner and her evil pastas!
Seriously, though, I don’t usually enjoy stories told from only one character’s first-person perspective, but Meissner writes with a talent for bringing all of her characters to vivid, multi-dimensional life, so that I soon forgot I was inside only one character’s thoughts. I could easily relate to Meg’s single life and suppressed desires for both love and the life she feels she’s always been denied, and the way she is awakened and transformed by her visit to Italy reminds me of Lucy Honeychurch in E.M. Forster’s classic A Room with a View. Sophia’s innocence and frailty were absolutely endearing, and one of my favorite aspects of Meissner’s stories is the way she effortlessly intersects the past with the present–in this case, through Sophia’s connection to the historical Nora Orsini. And as each of these three women dares to believe that their lives can be more than they are, I found myself daring to believe in my own personal Renaissance.
All of the cooking, eating, gathering-around-the-table scenes. There are many! Word to the wise–read this book on a full stomach.
FIVE STARS! The Girl in the Glass is both intimate and epic in its scope, and the depth of heart-to-heart storytelling made me an instant and lifelong fan of Susan Meissner. I already have several more of her books on my to-be-read shelf. And one day, thanks to the inspiration of this novel, I will have a ticket to Italy in my hand . . .
To read more about Susan Meissner and The Girl in the Glass, click on the book cover image above or visit her website.
AMY DROWN studied History at the University of Arizona and the University of Glasgow. An executive assistant by day, she is also an award-winning photographer and musician. But her true passion is writing edgy, inspirational stories that explore the deep roots of family, friendship and faith. She is a 2013 My Book Therapy Frasier Finalist and Bronze Medalist, and an ACFW Genesis Semi-Finalist and First Impressions Finalist. Connect with Amy and learn more about Deep-Rooted Fiction™ at www.AmyDrown.com.
****Anyone read this one yet? Any thoughts you'd like to share? Thanks for the great review, Amy!****