Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Glass-Blowers” as Want to Read:
The Glass-Blowers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Glass-Blowers

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,353 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
"Perhaps we shall not see each other again. I will write to you, though, and tell you, as best I can, the story of your family. A glass-blower, remember, breathes life into a vessel, giving it shape and form and sometimes beauty; but he can with that same breath, shatter and destroy it." Faithful to her word, Sophie Duval reveals to her long-lost nephew the tragic story of ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 384 pages
Published January 1st 1983 by Virago Press Ltd (first published January 1st 1963)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Glass-Blowers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Glass-Blowers

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sarah (Presto agitato)
In The Glass-Blowers, Daphne du Maurier explores her French family background through historical fiction, much as she did for another branch of her family in Mary Anne. In this novel, the stormy backdrop is the French Revolution. Du Maurier’s forbears, the Bussons (du Maurier was later added as an affectation by one of the brothers), were a family of master craftsmen in the art of glassblowing.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Glass Blowing

Glassblowing, of course, is an apt metaphor for the Revolution itself. “Con

Daphne du Maurier ventured into family history with Mary Anne and she did it again in this work. Whereas Mary Anne is a fictionalised account of the life of her English great-great-grandmother Mary Anne Clarke, the mistress of the Duke of York, this novel touches on the story of du Maurier's French ancestor Robert Busson, a master glass maker who emigrated to England around the time of the French Revolution in order to avoid imprisonment for debt. In England he styled himself "du Maurier" (after
Mar 09, 2009 Misfit rated it really liked it
"Somehow, we no longer seemed to preach the brotherhood of man"

In this book du Maurier recounts the tale of her forebears, the Busson family of master glass-blowers leading up to and through the French Revolution. Told through the POV of Sophie as she looks back on her life, daughter of master glass-blower Mathurin Busson and his formidable (in a good way) wife Magdaleine and her siblings Robert, Pierre, Michel and Edmé. For Robert, the eldest working his craft in the countryside is not enough a

I found this historical fiction based on du Mauriers French ancestors at the time of the French Revolution a flat, bland, albeit well written, recitation of what happened with very little of the personal about it, or any sense of people or place. It was less than engaging, hard to care about the characters and easy to put down. Not one of Du Mauriers better efforts but having said that, even a mediocre du Maurier is better than some other author's best efforts.

Buddy read with Kim :-).
In The Glass-Blowers, du Maurier reaches into her own historical background, as she did with Mary Anne, to tell a story of a family of glass workers during the French Revolution. Unfortunately, also as with Mary Anne, although she tells an interesting story, she fails to make it emotionally engaging. The characters are often flat, even the narrator, and even the atmosphere and the sense of place, usually a strong point for du Maurier, aren't compelling. The story was just interesting enough for ...more
Feb 05, 2013 LemonLinda rated it really liked it
Du Maurier writes this novel about her French ancestors. She descended from a family of master craftsmen in the art of glass blowing. The story is told by one of the children as she approaches the end of her life. This character writes the family history for a part of the family that had been separated and was unaware of the family drama. Set before, during and after the years of the French Revolution, du Maurier tells the story from the viewpoint of this French woman who was not a fanatic Revol ...more
Even though we have a least six Daphne du Maurier books on our shelves, I had never actually read one until now. I really enjoyed this take on the French Revolution. It took place mainly away from Paris (in that way similar to Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution, a book I really loved). There was less emphasis on the guillotine and more on family dynamics. A very interesting read.
Abigail Hartman
Jun 29, 2014 Abigail Hartman rated it really liked it
I can think of a great many periods in history I prefer to the French Revolution, and a great many events I would rather live through if a time-traveler put a gun to my head and demanded I choose. However, having found this novel at a bookshop (yay, du Maurier!) and being part of the way through Tom Reiss' The Black Count, I decided to dive straight into it. It is certainly nothing like Rebecca; it has none of the suspense or the brooding gothic flavor. It is, rather, the story of du Maurier's o ...more
Daphne du Maurier travelled to France to research ancestors who were involved in the glass blowing industry, and was inspired to write this excellent book, which gives an unusual perspective on the times before, and during the French Revolution.
Not only does this book have an exciting plot and great characters, it's also an absorbing history lesson....
Sep 14, 2008 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of Daphnie du Maurier, and so maybe I already had my mind made up that I would love this book, or maybe it's becuase it is an historic novel, which I love. But the fact that is actually about her own heritage was even more compelling. After reading The Hidden Diary of Marie Antionette A Novel, and learning more about the behavior of the French aristocacy, this book is written from the other side of the fence, from the point of view of the merchants and craftsmen, trying to surviv ...more
Daphne du Maurier used her own ancestry to write this historical fiction. She tells the story of her forebears, the Busson family who were glass-blowers during the French Revolution. I was really excited by the idea - using your own family's history to tell an engaging story. But I wasn't all that engaged.

I found the history itself more interesting than the characters, which seems to be a bad trend I'm finding myself in right now with the books I've been reading. The first part of the story actu
Peter Herrmann
Jul 31, 2015 Peter Herrmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Du Maurier delivers. I found, as with a few of her other books, that the initial part (except for the prologue) was slow going, but once in, very engrossing, and finally a page-turner. My last exposure to the French Revolution was Dickens' 'Tale of Two Cities' (High School, ages ago), so I found this historical fiction (or should it be called pseudo-fiction because it relates closely to Du Maurier's own forbears?) a jarring reminder that history was no less alive and real to the peop ...more
Initially I found this story slow; however the glass blowing tradition embedded within the structure of this family held me, as I revere craftmanship. I certainly enjoyed the use of glass creation as the method of transmission of the Busson family culture. Du Maurier strikes a chord in this book in illustrating how strong family ties and traditions are, even against the backdrop of the French Revolution - which uproots the world the glass blowers have known and will henceforth never know again. ...more
Mar 10, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daphne du Maurier was the fifth-generation descendant of a French master craftsman in the glass-blowing industry who settled in England during the French Revolution. She decided to base this novel around her ancestors and include their possible personal journey in such a historically volatile time. Told through the eyes of Sophie Busson, the daughter of the master craftsman in the form of a letter.

I have mixed feelings about this book! I can appreciate the skill of the writing and I am a big fan
Lissa Notreallywolf
This is a novel set in the French Revolution, in a large family network of glassblowers. Much of it could be dismissed as boring, but Du Maurier makes the business dealings and family dramas fascinating. Presumably it is based on her own family history and few people would present a narcissist like Robert so candidly when it is their great grandfather. It reminds one of the hazards of genealogical research...beyond that I would have liked to have known more technical details about the glassmakin ...more
Oct 16, 2007 Jaimie rated it really liked it
This is a great book about the French revolution from the perspective of a family of glass blowers. It was that good way. It provides a realistic view of how war can affect your perspective on a myriad of it can sometimes pervade all thought and how it can sometimes be ignored.
Mollie Matusick
Mar 25, 2014 Mollie Matusick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vanda Bromwich
Jul 15, 2013 Vanda Bromwich rated it it was amazing
This is a story based on Daphne Du Maurier's own family history. The story of her ancestors who were glass blowers during the French Revolution.
Leslie Shades
Mar 08, 2015 Leslie Shades rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book because it was on a Goodreads "classics" list that a user had created. My first issue was that it was very difficult to find. I ended up getting for Christmas via my family secret santa. I admit it is a facinating story about Daphne Du Maurier's history. They started out as glass blowers in France. The detail about their daily routine was interesting; the description of the French Revolution was filled with bold imagery. And, yes, it was a story well told. For some reason, I ...more
May 20, 2013 Sorcha rated it really liked it
Using her own family history as inspiration, Du Maurier gives us the aging Sophie Duval, who has promised her nephew that she will tell the story of their family, starting with her mother marrying into the local community of glass blowers.

The story starts with Sophie's mother getting married in the 1770s in rural France, where the glass blowers are situated beside the forests that provide the fuel for the furnaces.

Sophie herself gets married in 1788 in a joint wedding with her younger sister. It
The Glass-Blowers is the story of a Busson family and their experience of the events surrounding the French Revolution. The story is told from the point of view of Sophie Duval as she is writing the family history for her nephew. Sophie's father is part of the glass-blowers guild and her mother was a the daughter of a city official who married against her parents wishes. The couple was very successful professionally, and even though it was a hard life, they were probably considered middle class. ...more
Tara Hall
Mar 19, 2013 Tara Hall rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rihani Azhari
Jul 15, 2012 Rihani Azhari rated it liked it
This may be Daphne du Maurier's really significant novel out of the many she has written since 1931.


ONE DAY IN THE June of 1984 Madame Sophie Duval, nee Buson, eighty years of age and mother of the mayor of Vibraye, a small commune in the department of Sarthe, rose from her chair in the salon of the property at le Gue de hall, and calling to her dog made her way, as was her custom at this hour of the afternoon every Tuesday, down the short approach drive to the entrance gate.

She walk
Jan 12, 2013 Lil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really lovely book. I've been reading all about the leaders of the revolution, but this story is about the ordinary people, not the ones in Paris where the action seems to focus in so many stories but in the little rural villages that live on rumour and are dying for some action of their own. In one respect, it's a simple story about their daily lives; in another light, it's an insight into the changes the revolution brought not just to the nation but to the people's thinking.

Sophie, the woma
Holly Weiss
Feb 11, 2013 Holly Weiss rated it liked it
The introduction to my edition states that du Maurier tried to distance herself from the “excess of gothic.” Known for stories filled with melodrama and suspense, she wrote the Glass-Blowers to frown upon excesses of the aristocracy. Instead of a suspense-filled story, she used Sophie’s letters to explain to her nephew, Robert, that the family was not aristocratic at all. Their sense of worth was in the quality of their art as glass-blowers. This was du Maurier’s way of restaging criticism level ...more
Oct 09, 2013 Abby rated it liked it
I liked reading about the French Revolution from the perspective of a person living in the times. I liked that there were untranslated French words that I needed to figure out or look up (diligence - as in the carriage, for instance, or looking up a recording of Ca ira by Edith Piaf to hear how compelling that marching/singalong music would have been). I found many, MANY parallels to today's economic and political situation in the US, and welcomed the reminder that those who chose sides, or had ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
I adore novels of the French Revolution and this one takes an relatively unusual perspective, that of the countryside. Although the revolution centred around Paris, where the great political personalities clashed, the monarchy were deposed, and the people rioted, its impact outside the capital is also very interesting. Du Maurier's novel is really a family saga set during the revolution. Although its upheavals impinge significantly upon the family's fortunes, they themselves are in no sense cent ...more
Sep 08, 2011 Michelle rated it it was ok
The inside cover of my copy reads: "The Glass-Blowers is a novel about the Bussons, the auther's forbears, before and during the French Revolution. An engraved glass in her possession, and a letter written a hundred and fifty years ago, and found by chance among old family papers left by her grandfather George du Maurier, led her on a voyage of discovery: and the result is a novel which, by reason perhaps of the quiet intensity of the feeling that informs it, surpasses, in our view, any of her p ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Noel rated it it was ok
The Glass-Blowers is Daphne Du Maurier’s historical novel which actually delves into her own ancestry, telling the story of a family of glass makers living and working during the French Revolution. I have read several of Du Maurier’s books, always with gusto, however this one fell short and disappointed me. Her historical information was relevant and interesting, however her characters were less than engaging and somewhat two-dimensional. I failed to feel for them or care for what they did.
Karen Michele
I loved the historical setting of The Glass-Blowers and enjoyed learning a little about the craft, but I just didn’t love the way this story was told. It felt like reading good non-fiction because there just wasn’t the depth of character development or emotional connection to the events of the French Revolution that I was expecting. I got a lot out of reading the book, but just no feelings for it like I usually experience and expect when reading historical fiction. The narrator kept us at a dist ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Shutter of Snow
  • Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution
  • Flaunting, Extravagant Queen (French Revolution, #3)
  • The Gods Will Have Blood
  • The Lost Queen
  • Yankee Stranger (Williamsburg, #2)
  • Fatal Majesty: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • City of Darkness, City of Light
  • Daphne du Maurier
  • Csardas
  • Cousin Rosamund (VMC)
  • Green Dolphin Street
  • The Nonsuch Lure
  • Landfall
  • The Gap in the Curtain (Sir Edward Leithen #4)
  • The Weather in the Streets
  • The French Mistress
  • Mary Olivier, a Life
If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca, she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. Few writers have created more magical and mysterious places than Jamaica Inn and Manderley, buildings invested with a rich character that gives them a memorable life of their own.

In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles that of a fairy tale. Born int
More about Daphne du Maurier...

Share This Book

“how lacking in intuition men could be in persuading themselves that mending some stranger's socks, and attending to his comfort, could content a woman...” 18 likes
More quotes…