I love to read, and I love to read books through which I broaden my world somehow. So, books with some history, musicology, textiles, art, or other passions in my life, generally attract my attention. During this semester break, I have already read two books, and both were good and interesting in their own way. I chose one because it involved ‘lace’, a textile, and the other because the woman became a piano teacher (as I was once, while in college). I am now on my third... so read on.
The Lace Reader
By Brunonia Barry
This story takes place in Salem, and involves several women who can read the future in patterns of lace. Towner Whitney is the main character and she returns to Salem when her aunt dies. The story involves the disappearance of two women, which in turn brings secrets of the past back into Towner’s life and explain the surprising truth about the death of Towner’s twin sister.
The Piano Teacher
By Janice Y. K. Lee
The story takes place in Hong Kong and alternates between the time of the Japanese occupation in the 1940’s and later in the 1950’s. The main character is Claire Pendleton, a British woman who accompanies her husband to Hong Kong for his work. She becomes the piano teacher for a young Chinese girl. The story intertwines various people who appear in both time periods, particularly a man, Will, who Claire has an affair with. One will learn a lot about the Japanese occupation, and life amongst the various people of Hong Kong at that time (English, Chinese, Japanese, American). And, of course, there are surprises near the end of the book.
The Glassblower of Murano
by Marina Fiorato
I am not in the middle of another book, one and an at a point where I don’t want to put it down. It is a fairly light story (yet very interesting), of a young half-Venetian, half-English woman who moves to Venice to follow in the footsteps of her famous ancestor, Corradino Manin (who was one of Venice’s foremost glassblowers. She is learning while there, the secrets of her ancestor, who apparently sold his methods and his soul to France, to assist Louis XIV in the building of the Hall of Mirrors at Versaille. I love reading about places I have been, and am making copius notes of some of the places mentioned in the book, so that the next time I go to Venice, I can trace the tracks.
If any of you read one of the above, let me know what you think!