Saturday, December 15, 2012

On My Bookshelf: The Girl in the Glass

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 changes 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?
The Girl in the Glass: A Novel
By Susan Meissner
Genre: historical fiction/fiction

My thoughts:

I was a little skeptical when I picked this book up. I never read anything by Meissner before and the backcover blurp appeared almost a little too simple, cliché, and childish for a young adult/adult book. Not to mention a bit weird. I mean, seriously, no one can talk to someone of the past through paintings and sculptures. You can imagine how surprised and pleased I was to find it a most refreshing read. 

Meissner uses new phrasing, to-the-point, yet moving dialogue, and a description that enchants as much as it sucks you into her world. Her story, revolving around book editor, Marguerite (Meg) Pomeroy, is one of mystery and history (definitely endearing for me). Meg has had one dream her whole life: to visit the ancient city of Florence. Ever since her Italian grandmother passed away, her father promised to take her as a graduation present. But she has long since passed high school, and then college, and still they have never taken the promised trip, and now she has a life immersed in the publication business. Life goes on day to day, and though she still dreams of going to Florence, reminisces about her past longings and memories of her grandmother, she is resigned to the fact that her father just might not pull through and take her. And then, out of the blue, it happens.

Just not the way she ever expected. And it thrusts her on an adventure that will change her forever.

Probably the thing that singles this novel out the most is Meissner’s powerful way with words. Not only do you believe with every ounce of your being that Meg wants to go to Florence, that she should go to Florence, but you want to go too, to see the things she pictures, the settings she paints, the artwork she describes... Not only do you believe Sophia’s claim of hearing Nora, but you hear her too. And you want to tell the world. There is something almost magical in the way Meissner speaks, like a beautiful lilt of poetry, a last spec of color dancing on the horizon of a dark world. It is captivating.

There was only one drawback to the book. Meg is needy, in many ways, all relatable and understandable, but throughout the books she struggles between “picking” one of three men. By the end of the book, the reader is more or less tired about her wishy-washy desires for love, yet inability to just sit down and choose.

Still, it is a beautiful story about restoration, relationships, and learning to keep your imagination and reality in two places.

What does one do with a heart that has been broken? One might look for a bonding agent that will fuse all the pieces back together. Or one might learn to live among the shards.
Or one might be tempted to sweep up the bits and toss them and be done with hearts. ~ Nora

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  1. Perhaps it's my knowledge of how nasty the Medici family could be, but I have to say I'm sniffing very sceptically at this book myself. That wishy-washy romance element really turns me off, too, have to say.

    Nevertheless, I admire you for giving it a go! Your reviews are lovely and comprehensive!

  2. Sounds like I may have to see if that book is at my library. :)

    Oh and I am awfully sorry about the lack of commenting lately.... been swamped.... Which may also have meant that I forgot about the guest post you asked me about. I AM SO SORRY! Did you still need one? *looks apologetic* Let me know, and if you do, I'll try to get it to you asap. My email is

    God bless and Merry Christmas!!! :D