Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Girl in the Glass

Imagine having a trip that you have dreamed of taking, since you were a child. Your father has told you, and promised your grandma, that he will take you someday. As you get older, you start to wonder if the trip will ever happen. You think of taking it on your own, you meet clients through work that live there, and it weighs on you. Finally, your dad comes and tells you that now is the time, soon you will book a trip. You start to hear that your dad may have done something that borders on bad and the next thing you know, you receive a parcel with a ticket for that day. You throw together a suitcase of stuff, send some quick messages to let your work know you won't be in the next few days, you find a friend to take you several hours to the airport and board a plane alone. You expect to see your dad when you arrive, yet when you arrive, he is no where to be found. You are alone in a strange city, a city you love and have always wanted to visit, but where you know only a couple of people that you have worked with but never met and you have no reservations, no plans.

This is what happens to Meg in The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner. The Girl in the Glass is a captivating story that tells the story of Meg, Nora and Sophia.

Meg fell in love with Florence as a child. Her grandmother had a painting of herself as a child near a fountain in Florence. All of her life, she has dreamed of visiting her grandmother's Florence and experiencing her beauty. She works as an editor for a publisher of travel books and two authors, Lorenzo and Renata, that she works with live in Florence. They all know of her dream to visit Florence. Lorenzo introduces her to Sophia, a woman that lives across the hall from him that wants to be a writer, by sending Meg some sample chapters from the book she is writing.

Sophia claims to be the last living descendant of the Medici family. She provides tours of Florence for travelers and is writing a personal memoir woven amongst the back drop of the great sites in Florence. Once Meg starts reading, she is hooked and keeps asking for more stories. The only thing that bothers her is how she will convince her company to publish the book, because Sophia claims to hear Nora Orsini speak to her through the great paintings and statues in Florence.

Nora Orsini lived in the late 1500s and was the descendant of Cosimo de' Medici, when Florence was in the prime of the Renaissance. Her story is woven throughout the book and told from her perspective. She is present in Sophia's manuscript, as well.

After many years of promising to take her to Florence, Meg's father comes to her one morning and says that this is the year. She expects that they will plan the trip together, but one day a package arrives with a plane ticket for her and a cash card. The ticket is for that day! She frantically pulls everything together and gets to the airport for her flight, certain that her dad will be waiting to greet her in Florence. After waiting around the airport for a while and having no sign of her father, she wonders what to do, where to go. She tries to text Lorenzo, letting him know that she is stranded at the airport but he does not respond. If only she had an address of her friends. It is then that she realizes that she has the address, Sophia has printed her address on her manuscript that Meg brought with her. She takes a taxi to their building, but Lorenzo and Renata are not home. Fortunately, shortly after arriving, Sophia returns home and welcomes her into her home.

Through the course of the next week, Meg experiences Florence and gets to know Sophia, Lorenzo and Renata better. I'd tell you more, but then, you wouldn't need to read the book. Suffice to say that the book is a wonderful tale that pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading. My only disappointment with the book is the inclusion of the Forward to Sophia's book. It's not that I was disappointed that her book was published, it was that I was disappointed to have two years summarized in two pages. I like that I don't have to wonder what happens to Meg and Sophia, but I would love to read more of the details of those two years. Who knows, maybe the author used that Forward as a way to provide a teaser for a future book that will explore the development of the story from the end of the first tale to the publication of her book.

No compensation was received for this post. A copy of the book was provided through Blogging for Books. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

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