The Glassblower (The Glassblower Trilogy Book 1)
by Petra Durst-Benning
The Glassblower is the first in a series of three historical novels about a German family who works in the glassblowing industry in the late nineteenth century. That seems obvious by the title, but the title is kind of a tease, because at the very beginning of the novel, the man of the house passes away and none of the women knows how to blow glass. They make livings in other ways throughout the novel, and it takes a while to find out who the glassblower of the title really is.
I really enjoyed reading this novel - I had a six hour cross-country flight and it kept me engrossed the whole way. I love historical fiction, and with the addition of being set in a series of craftspeople's studios, I was hooked. I don't know anything about glassblowing, so when I finished the book I kind of went on a YouTube journey watching a variety of glassblowing videos, which was really educational for me. The book actually did a pretty good job of describing the process, in my uneducated opinion, but it's always nice to see visuals as well.
The Glassblower is really a novel about three sisters who are on the verge of adulthood needing to come into their own in a really abrupt way. It wouldn't be easy for anyone to lose their father at a young age, but for these ladies it's even more difficult. They live in a small town where gender roles are pretty much set. Men are glassblowers and women are helpers. That's it. That's the role they've been playing with their father and that's the plan they had for their lives.
So when their home shop is suddenly left without a glassblower, and no men of the family to fill that role, they are forced to rethink how they make a living. I really loved how each sister came into her own - it was both inspiring and realistic. I think women of this day and age can really relate with a lot of the issues these sisters face. These girls are the age that women today would be thinking about college, trade school, or going into the work world, so it's very fitting that they are discovering their own talents and abilities with that little extra push of making their way in a man's world and not really having anyone to fall back on. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series as well.
Other books in this series:
The American Lady (The Glassblower Trilogy Book 2)
The Paradise of Glass (The Glassblower Trilogy Book 3)