Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli


From the author of Made in Italy comes a tale of artisanal tradition and family bonds set in one of the world's most magnificent settings: Renaissance Venice.

When Luca Vianello, the heir to a renowned gondola-making enterprise, experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that his destiny lies elsewhere. Soon he finds himself drawn to restore an antique gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship, along with an intimate first-person narrative set against the richly textured backdrop of 16th-century Venice.

My Rating

My Review

The very first moment that I stepped foot in Venice, I was absolutely entranced. The same thing can be said for the first moment that I started reading The Gondola Maker. From chapter one, readers are instantly taken back to the captivating period of Renaissance Venice.

A minor masterpiece in historical fiction, Morelli does not need conflicts of apocalyptic proportions to enthrall readers of all tastes. The plot keeps rolling between love, loss and dramatic suspense that crafts a realistic story and characters with beating hearts.

Luca is a wonderful protagonist and a great voice to speak for all those coming-of-age dreamers today, despite the difference in time. Most all of us can relate to the pressure of family, the possibility of destiny, and the unclear longing of our hearts. Experience Luca's struggles with such helped with the true time traveling aspect of reading.

Morelli did not just draw readers into a story through this novel, but allowed them to plunge headfirst into a new world.

A world of canals lined with the artful gondolas, elegant nobility, forbidden love, and as close to the beautiful side of magic as reality can get.

With a tone that is dark one chapter and light the next, there aren't many slow portions at all. The pages kept turning, although the pacing didn't feel very fast at all.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading The Gondola Maker, from the descriptive imagery of making the magnificent boats to every decision and consequence of Luca. It's a ticket to 16th-century Venice, and it's hard not to fall in love.

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