Synopsis: A lush, romantic tale from a Printz Honor-winning author.
Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family on the island of Murano, the traditional home for Venetian glass makers. Though she longs to be a glassblower herself, glass blowing is not for daughters—that is her brother’s work. Maria has only one duty to perform for her family: before her father died, he insisted that she be married into the nobility, even though her older sister, Giovanna, should rightfully have that role. Not only is Giovanna older, she’s prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her.
Maria would like nothing more than to allow her beautiful sister, who is far more able and willing to attract a noble husband, to take over this role for her. But they cannot circumvent their father’s wishes. And when a new young glassblower arrives to help the family business and Maria finds herself drawn to him, the web of conflicting emotions grows even more tangled.
The cover for Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill is gorgeous. The doves, the glass vase, the ribbon, and the gondola. It screams romance to me. It’s different, and I think, a great representation of the book and story itself.
Sisters of Glass is a historical novel written in verse. It revolves around a family of prestigious glassblowers that live on the island of Murano. There are two sisters whose lives are disrupted by a father’s dying wish. Angelo Barovier declared that his favorite daughter, Maria, would marry a senator, and not Giovanna, the eldest. Tensions rise when Maria’s sixteenth birthday comes, and it rips their relationship apart. A new glass blower has shifted the dynamic between the two sisters. But isn’t that always the case when a boy is involved?
For me, the characters were hard to relate to. Reading something in verse just didn’t translate the characters personality completely. I felt like there were pieces of their voices and thoughts that were missing. At times, especially during ones of anguish and sorrow, I didn’t think that it didn’t translate. I saw where Hemphill was going, trying to portray Maria’s shortcomings in comparison to Giovanna, but I didn’t think it was fully there. I longed for the words used to fully relay jealousy and anger. There were disconnects and it just felt like sentences were cut a part.
Sisters of Glass is unusual in the way that it is written. Hemphill wrote it all in verse. Now, I haven’t read a book in this style since I was last in school. I was hesitant to read it because I wasn’t sure if the intention of the story would be translated through the words. There is something lacking and maybe this style of writing wasn’t the right outlet for the beautiful story.
The historical details about Murano and the process of glass blowing was interesting. I appreciated all of this because I’ve been to Murano. But sadly, for me, it fell short and wasn’t a great appeal.
But don’t take my word for it. Pick up Sisters of Glass and check it out for yourself.