Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Gondola Maker Book Review

I have a different kind of book that I ventured out into reading just to change things up a bit called The Gondola Maker written by Laura Morelli.
When Luca Vianello, the heir to a renowned gondola-making enterprise, experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that his destiny lies elsewhere. Soon he finds himself drawn to restore an antique gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship, along with an intimate first-person narrative set against the richly textured backdrop of 16th-century Venice.
Awards for The Gondola Maker:
2014 IPPY Award for Best Adult Fiction E-book
Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award & the da Vinci Eye Prize  
Praise for The Gondola Maker: 
"I'm a big fan of Venice, so I appreciate Laura Morelli's special knowledge of the city, the period, and the process of gondola-making. An especially compelling story."
--Frances Mayes, author, Under the Tuscan Sun

"Laura Morelli has done her research, or perhaps she was an Italian carpenter in another life. One can literally smell and feel the grain of finely turned wood in her hands."
--Pamela Sheldon Johns, author, Italian Food Artisans

Sixteenth-century Venice is the star of Morelli's well-crafted historical novel about Luca Vianello, the eldest son of the city's most renowned gondola builder. ----Publisher's Weekly Starred Review

The heir to a gondola empire rejects his birthright but comes full circle in this fascinating glimpse into late-Renaissance Venice by art-historian-turned-novelist Morelli (Made in Italy). ----Kirkus Indie Book of the Month

The Gondola Maker is historical fiction at its best. ----Midwest Book Review
My Review:
This book was like going back in history because the references were so vivid, I almost felt like I was there. It definitely was a different time and in some ways not. Women were treated differently just like they are today but not in the same ways. They still had pre-arranged marriages that required dowries and were to marry men that would bring prestige to their parents.
This story is about one such woman who meets a man named Luca who left his father's business because he did not think he wanted to be a gondola maker. He wanted to try something else and he and his father had a terrible falling out because of it.
This story is the journey that Luca makes in trying to figure out what he really wants to do as far as professionally and how he feels about a certain girl.
There are some true parts in the story, especially about the gondola makers as the author tried to stay as true to what and how they made them as she could. It's a story rich in history and customs and lovers finding ways to be together. And of course, as all stories go, there are troubles and misunderstandings, which is typical in any life, any century. It's the only thing that stays constant no matter which era you live in.
Happy Reading!
About the Author: 
The first time I visited Venice as a wide-eyed teenager, I knew I was supposed to buy Murano glass, but I had no idea why. All I knew was that I was whisked to the famous "glass island" on an overcrowded, stinky boat. I waited behind two dozen American and Japanese tourists to pay an exorbitant price for a little glass fish--what a bewildering experience!

Still, it was the artistic traditions of the world that lured me to travel and inspired me to pursue the history of art. Living in Europe and Latin America, I realized that in many places, centuries-old artistic traditions are still living traditions. So began my quest to discover craftspeople passing on a special kind of knowledge to the next generation.

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called "The Genuine Article" and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, "What's the difference between art and craft?" was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.