In real life Clara was a designer for Mr. Tiffany. The story centers around her as she fights for women's rights in the work place and passionately designs stained glass lamps. My favorite parts of the story were all the period pieces: Clara's love for Walt Whitman and sorrow upon hearing the news of his death, Clara getting a "wheel" (bicycle) and enjoying the freedom of exploring the city on it, and the plight of the suffragettes.
I liked this book but I didn't love it like I loved Luncheon of the Boating Party. There is a lot of time spent in the story describing the process of making, selecting, and cutting glass. I felt like it became tedious after awhile, but my friend Audrey from book club loved that part. So I think your enjoyment of this book will center around your desire to learn in a technical way how those beautiful stained glass lamps are made.
Susan Vreeland is a talented writer no doubt. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
A year passes like a revolving wheel, and when the spoke of January comes round again, it finds itself in a different place. And so with pain. It does not leave us where it found us.
You can keep upright only by moving forward. You have to have your eyes on the goal, not on the ground. I'm going to call that the Bicyclist's Philosophy of Life.
Son, if the mountain was smooth, you couldn't climb it.
and one from Susan B. Anthony:
The true republic -- men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.
and one from Emily Dickinson:
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies --
I read this in July to fulfill the Historical Fiction portion of my Eclectic Reader Challenge. Now I am scrambling to get all my reviews posted before the end of the year!