Clara and Mr. Tiffany
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Clara and Mr. Tiffany

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  10,737 ratings  ·  1,484 reviews
Against the unforgettable backdrop of New York near the turn of the twentieth century, from the Gilded Age world of formal balls and opera to the immigrant poverty of the Lower East Side, bestselling author Susan Vreeland again breathes life into a work of art in this extraordinary novel, which brings a woman once lost in the shadows into vivid color.

It’s 1893, and at the...more
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Published January 11th 2011 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2010)
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Gail
The entire time I was reading Susan Vreeland's "Clara and Mr. Tiffany" I couldn't get out of my head that Clara Driscoll's ties to her boss, Louis Comfort Tiffany, reminded me a lot of another relationship that has so captured my attention——and that's Don Draper and Peggy Olsen.

Leave it to a Mad Men fan girl to make a connection like that, but this novel paints a picture of the relationship between its two protagonists that's a precursor of sorts to its 1960s fictional counterpart. There was an...more
Bonny
While I did learn a bit about Tiffany Studios and Clara Driscoll, this book was far too much like an overwrought and overwritten soap opera for my taste. Clara Driscoll's life, story, and accomplishments could have been much more interesting in a different author's hands, but this Clara weeps, wails, and waits - for acceptance and recognition from Louis Comfort Tiffany, and for love (from LCT?) but doesn't seem to know what to do when she receives what she has been seeking. All in all, this Clar...more
EZRead eBookstore
The woman behind the glass – that is what Clara Driscoll could be referred to. Though there is no certainty that Clara was the innovator for the Tiffany lampshades, that is the assumption made for the purpose of this book.

Here’s a heads up, beauty is NOT is not found anywhere on the inside in this book. With the subtle acts and comments of ignorance, I have to ask, is Clara blinded by beauty? She is portrayed as choosing art over love and even comments that death could be beautiful, in the right...more
Wendy
Sometimes I really like Susan Vreeland, sometimes she just doesn't do it for me. I think she is at her best when she manages to get inside her characters' heads to show what art means to them or what inspires people to create. I just wasn't getting that from this book.

I loved the idea of the story, showing how women made the beautiful Tiffany glass creations while Mr. Tiffany got all the credit. But the book is full of clunky dialogue explaining the process of working with glass and summing up p...more
Jacqie
Didn't finish this one- got to a bit over 100 pages and then realized that I didn't care what happened next. The premise was interesting: a woman artist working in a time when female artists weren't recognized, Tiffany glass, New York at the turn of the twentieth century.

I wanted to fall into the book, and I just couldn't. Clara's character wasn't likable. She seemed prim, although Clara herself seemed to think she was bohemian. She had a mean-spirited sense of humor, and seemed to think that be...more
Blythe Barnhill
I made myself finish 50 pages of this drivel, and that is all I will be finishing because life is way too short to read crap like this. I can thank the author for inspiring me to create my new "life's too short" bookshelf for books I start and don't finish (not because I lack the will power, but because they are not even worth the time I gave them). Here's some helpful advice for the author: 1. Read some books. About 200 or 300 more. 2. Listen to conversations and find out how people actually ta...more
Barb
There are many things to like about this novel though sometimes it felt like the story was a mosaic with each element being very separate from the others. It could have benefited from a more fluid integration of the individual elements and would have made for greater reading enjoyment on my part.

I really liked the bits of history woven in, the rising popularity of the bicycle, the opening of the subway, the development of the city as the wealthy moved into the area, women organizing for their r...more
Amy
I really wanted to like this book. It is based on the life of Clara Driscoll, the women who created the Tiffany lamps, and it has all of the elements of a good story: a turn-of-the-century New York setting, a "strong" female protagonist who must choose between love or her talent, the bonhomie of the art world, etc. Hm. The characters were two-dimensional, there was way too much information about the construction of stained-glass pieces (the book should have included pictures of the pieces so rub...more
Iowa City Public Library
Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland is the delightful fictionalized story of Clara Driscoll and the years she worked with Louis Comfort Tiffany at his New York studio. Clara Discoll was the head of the Tiffany Women’s Division and possibly the person who conceived the idea for the iconic Tiffany stained glass lamps.

According to Susan Vreeland, Clara Driscoll’s story came to life through letters she wrote to her mother and sisters:

“By a remarkable coincidence, three individuals unknown to eac...more
Sandra
Having just seen the Tiffany exhibit at Biltmore Estate, devoted mostly to Tiffany lamps, it was a perfect time to read this historical novel. In one respect, it did not disappoint: it gave me some insight into the design and construction of the lamps and the making and choosing of the extraordinary glass that gives them life.

According to the postscript, this life of Clara Driscoll is highly fictionalized---and it’s not known whether Clara actually was instrumental in initiating the lamp line f...more
Catherine
Fantastic read. I love historical fiction because it can teach you so much about a particular era. I actually picked up the book based on the beautiful cover and after reading the inside jacket. The story moves along at a good pace and you come to really know the characters. I became a lot more interested in knowing more about the Gilded Age that I was before.
Lori Summers
This was the first book I've read by Susan Vreeland, but this, her latest novel, is just one of a large pantheon of works by her and other authors that might be called "fictionalized history." A specific historical person or event is borrowed and a fictionalized tale is woven around it and what is known about it through historical records. One could argue that "The Girl With the Pearl Earring" started this, but many others have followed.

In this case, the historical person of record is Clara Dris...more
Sharon
Susan Vreeland's latest novel, "Clara and Mr. Tiffany," provides a look at women's lot during the earliest days of the industrial revolution and in the arts.

Clara Driscoll and the other "Tiffany girls" were designers and creators of the famous lamps that came from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Workshops in New York City during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their work was primarily anonymous, and it is only thanks to the surviving letters of Mrs. Driscoll that we have as much information a...more
Susan
Although Clara and Mr. Tiffany is historical fiction, Clara Driscoll and some of the other characters as well as the well-known Louis Comfort Tiffany were real people. Tiffany is famous; his designers, including Clara, who did the work for which he got credit, are not.

Clara, as a widow, was allowed to work for Mr. Tiffany, but any of his “girls” who married had to leave the company immediately, leading to some disastrous results. The men who worked for Tiffany resented the women's presence, eve...more
Sarah
Wow. My mother read this a few years ago, and I knew it didn't thrill her, but wow. That was some bad, bad writing. Seriously bad. I can't even.

I don't think Ms Vreeland had an editor, or this never would have been published. The characters were oft-times indistinguishable, relationships were spoken of as though they were significant, but they were totally flat and unbelievable, and there was really no driving narrative. The gilded age New York City setting should have been interesting, but Vre...more
Pam
I would like to give it more stars because it had the makings of a good book but I just couldn't get completely into it. Way too much in the way of flowery descriptions of colors and glass for me and the dialogue was just rather strange. I think the real story of Clara is probably very interesting but the way this was told, I only saw flashes of it.
It must have been a lot of work because she touches on most of the historical data of the Gilded Age and I would have loved to have known more. Women...more
Terri
Clara and Mr. Tiffany is a fictional novel based on fairly recently discovered information about the work and studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Tiffany of the stained glass windows and the lamps, son of the Tiffany of the jewelry store.` A 2007 museum exhibit, inspired in part by the letters of Clara Driscoll, cast a new light on who exactly did what in Mr. Tiffany’s studio. This book does a wonderful job of portraying the kind of life a working woman would have led in the New York City of th...more
Melva
If you've every done stained glass or admired a Tiffany Lamp, you'll enjoy this book. Clara works for Tiffany's in the womens' glass shop. She is creative and given free rein by Louis Tiffany who sees and encourages her talent. She is a strong feminist and the story gets into the first unions, plight of the immigrants and the grandeur of Tiffany.
There is a lot of descriptions of glass, it's choosing and how they came about their designs, so to like this book, you have to enjoy that type of thi...more
Lisa
I love reading a historical fiction about a subject I know nothing about. The story revolves around Louis Tiffany, of the Tiffany glass works (not to be mistaken for his father Charles of jewelry fame), and Clara Driscoll, an artistic designer and head of the women's division at Tiffany's. The story really belongs to Clara, who up until recently never got the credit she deserved for her role in creating and designing some of the most well known pieces in the Tiffany collection. It was her idea a...more
Danna
Clara and Mr. Tiffany is the little-known story of Clara Driscoll, the artist and designer behind the world-famous Tiffany lamps. The story takes place in early 20th-century Manhattan, at the time of the first skyscraper and the advent of the subway. Clara works at Tiffany Studios, under the guidance of Louis Tiffany (son of the established and successful jeweler, Charles Tiffany). Clara and Louis work together for years, coming up with innovative and beautiful designs for the lamps. Vreeland ap...more
Christine
I have to start this off by stating that I am a huge Susan Vreeland fan. I love the way she incorporates historical fact, artists, their works and the flavour of the time into a completely readable and most importantly, enjoyable book. This book is no different. Clara Driscoll was an avid letter writer and happenstance brought these letters to light in 2007. Gleaning facts from these letters Ms. Vreeland transports the reader back to the early 1900’s … Tiffany Glass was the poor relation to Tiff...more
Ricki Jill Treleaven
This week I read Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland. The novel is based on an exhibit at the New York Historical society and its fascinating catalog, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls. Clara Driscoll was a detailed letter writer like many of her Victorian contemporaries, and this allowed Susan Vreeland to piece together Clara's amazing story.

In 1893 Loius Comfort Tiffany shocks the world with his innovative stained glass windows in the White City at the World's Fa...more
Suzanne Barrett
I hadn’t much knowledge of Tiffany glass creations apart from being able to identify them and knowing when they were manufactured, but thanks to Ms. Vreeland’s historical fiction novel, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, my education had been considerably extended. In addition to penning a novel about the women who worked as glass cutters and designers for Louis Comfort Tiffany–and in particular, Clara Driscoll, much information about the making of the glass, the working conditions of the time, Tiffany’s eg...more
Katherine Sartori
Have you ever admired a Tiffany lamp? This story illuminates the life of Clara Driscoll, major designer for Louis Tiffany, who collaborated with Clara in creating and manufacturing a totally new concept at the turn of the 20th century, sparkling lamps made of mosaic glass. According to author Susan Vreeland, who is meticulous in her research, Clara really was the creative genius behind every one-of-kind Tiffany lamp design. Finally, after she'd enabled Louis to win world-wide recognition, he gav...more
Orsolya
Not until recently has it become known that Clara Driscoll was the leading lady behind the designs and execution of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Tiffany lamps. It is finally time for her to shine and it none better than with “Clara and Mr. Tiffany”.

Characteristic of Vreeland’s work (especially The Passion of Artemisia), Clara and Mr. Tiffany instantly plunges you into an artistic and colorful world. So vivid is your adventure, that at times the reader will feel like rainbows and paint are erupting fr...more
Cheryl
To borrow a phrase from my friend, Cathe: Well, I didn't hate it.

Vreeland chose a challenging topic -- a fictional look at Clara Driscoll, a real Victorian woman who worked in the Tiffany glassworks studios, but about whom almost nothing more is known. Truly an intriguing time in Western and women's history: immigrants teeming to America, women entering the workforce in droves, labor unions flexing their muscles, socialism trying to twine into our culture, new ideas, rampant art, the transition...more
Laura (booksnob)
Louis Comfort Tiffany is a man whose name has gone down in history for his beautiful, artistic Tiffany lamps and stained glass windows. Clara Driscoll works for Mr. Tiffany as a designer at the head of his women's department beginning in 1892. When Clara sees the infinite beauty in the stained glass windows she creates for the World's Fair in Chicago, she envisions a lamp shade of leaded glass with the natural world shining through. Clara becomes the creator and designer behind the elegant Tiffa...more
Roz
I really wanted to like this one more than I did. Essentially the book is about Clara Driscoll, the head of the women's division of the Tiffany Studio and her impact on the development of the leaded glass lamps. I must stay I learned a lot about Tiffany history that I didn't know. Louis Comfort Tiffany was really an artist using glass as his medium, designing beautiful windows but he was portrayed as a very selfish and difficult man. I had no idea that the studio was a complete design enterprise...more
Diane Calhoun
My rule is this: give a book at least 50 pages to engage and keep my interest. I read about 65 pages and gave up. I just didn't care about any of the characters.

I wanted to like this book. I love the Art Deco movement. I think Tiffany mosaics are amazing. I am interested in the time period. But Clara was just not an interesting protagonist. I couldn't keep motivated to continue reading this book.

Clara, a former Tiffany employee, gets her job back after her husband's death. (Tiffany has a rule a...more
AV8R
Susan Vreeland, author of The Passion of Artemisia: A Novel and Girl in Hyacinth Blue, once again stuns with Clara and Mr. Tiffany. The novel focuses on the Women's Department of Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company and their role in the development and production of the leaded glass lampshades that would propel Louis Comfort Tiffany to fame. The novel covers 1892 - 1908, when Clara Driscoll returned to work for Louis after the death of her husband (Tiffany's policy was that only unmarried women...more
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Susan Vreeland is an internationally renowned best-selling author and four-time winner of the Theodor Geisel Award for Fiction, the San Diego Book Award’s highest honor. She is known for writing historical fiction on art-related themes, including Girl in Hyacinth Blue, The Passion of Artemisia, Luncheon of the Boating Party, and Clara and Mr. Tiffany. Her books have been translated into 26 languag...more
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