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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Clara and Mr. Tiffany - Susan Vreeland

I was going to give this novel four stars, but after some thinking I felt I might've been a little too generous with my four stars, hence skewing my whole rating system. I ended up revising the ratings for a lot of books on my Goodreads shelf, and giving this one three stars instead.

Clara's hero-worship of her employer Mr. Tiffany weirded me out a bit. She stresses that her feelings are platonic and professional but to me she acts almost like someone in love, if not with Tiffany as a person then with his mind, or his artistic sense. The stilted dialog and tedious explanations about glass-making techniques slowed down my reading somewhat, but as the story goes on I became more interested in what happens to Clara professionally as well as romantically. I liked Clara's flamboyant artist friends, and really enjoyed the parts about women's rights in the workplace in turn-of-the-century New York. Despite its weaknesses, the novel sheds an interesting light on the little-known role of women behind iconic pieces of art.