Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning (The Glassblower Trilogy Book 1)

"Ruth had already gone upstairs twice that morning to try to wake Johanna. Both times her sister had grumbled something that led her to believe -- wrongly, as it turned out -- that she really was going to get up." Opening Sentence

Synopsis: In the village of Lauscha in Germany, things have been done the same way for centuries. The men blow the glass, and the women decorate and pack it. But when Joost Steinmann passes away unexpectedly one September night, his three daughters must learn to fend for themselves. 

While feisty Johanna takes a practical approach to looking for work, Ruth follows her heart, aiming to catch the eye of a handsome young villager. But it is dreamy, quiet Marie who has always been the most captivated by the magic—and sparkling possibilities—of the craft of glassblowing. As the spirited sisters work together to forge a brighter future for themselves on their own terms, they learn not only how to thrive in a man’s world, but how to remain true to themselves—and their hearts—in the process.

Review by Mirella Patzer

Originally published in German in 2003, The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning is the delightful first installment in an exciting new trilogy entitled, The Glassblower Trilogy. The book was translated into English by Samuel Willcocks and now English speaking countries can enjoy this wonderful unique story. 

The joy of reading historical fiction lies in its ability to take readers to lesser known periods of history and learn about the way of life during that time. This book does this splendidly. The story takes place in a small town in Germany called Lauscha where the main industry is glassblowing. The craft is reserved for male artisans only, of course, with women completely excluded. Three young women, Johanna, Ruth, and Marie are the daughters of one such glassblower. Indulged and beloved by their doting father, their life is suddenly turned upside down when he dies suddenly. Penniless, they must find a way to sustain themselves in order to survive. What transpires is a fabulous story, filled with hardship, determination, and tenacity as the three women fight for their rights and seek to show off their talents in a world that frowns upon the work of women. 

The writing is simple yet lyrical, and flows effortlessly when reading. The characters are vivid and credible, uniquely beguiling. The story never lags and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep a reader's interest throughout. It is a tale of power and aspiration, where three women rise up from the dust of hopelessness into one of success. This is wonderful women's historical fiction, highly recommended! Highly enjoyable! Highly readable! 

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