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Clara and Mr. Tiffany

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  50,760 ratings  ·  2,238 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
Hardcover, 401 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Random House (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  50,760 ratings  ·  2,238 reviews

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Dec 31, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
I was able to meet and listen to this author as I was just getting into this book. The author is very interesting and friendly. She didn't start writing until she retired from teaching for 30 years.

This is the story about Clara Driscoll who was just recently discovered (about 2005) to have designed the most artistic and detailed of the famed Tiffany lamps. Mr. Tiffany took the credit for the designs from his studio with the exception of one entered in a Paris exhibition for which he named Clara
Apr 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, fiction
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
Clara Driscoll worked for Louis Comfort Tiffany, of Tiffany glass and lampshades during the late 1800's-early 1900's.  She always felt that her artistry was not of the same caliber as Mr. Tiffany and some of the other women in his employ. She was hired back after her husband's death to be a manager, not an artist, after all. But she wanted her boss to see her as indispensible and got an idea for a lamp of yellow butterflies and primroses, which turned out beautifully and basically launched the p ...more
Mar 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
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
EZRead eBookstore
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: amelia-reviews
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
Blythe Smith
Mar 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Book Concierge
Audio book performed by Kimberly Farr

This is an interesting historical novel that tells the story of the woman behind (and in many ways WAY in front of) the man.

Clara Driscoll was a woman of artistic vision. It was she who first thought of using nature themes in stained glass lamp shades. It was her dragon-fly lamp design that won an award at the 1900 Paris World Fair; the newspapers reported the award was won by Louis Comfort Tiffany, but her name was listed as designer.

Vreeland crafts a fine
May 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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
Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it
There were parts of this book that I loved - history, classism, feminism, unionism, time period, the history of stained glass making. In fact, I spent a lot of time at my computer looking up different aspects of the history of Tiffany's stained glass windows, panels and lamps that was really interesting for me. And, they truly are beautiful!

Years ago I took a class in stained glass and worked at it for a couple of years but found it so much harder and more complicated than I imagined it to be. I
Cynthia Cat  Garnder
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is really great
It's really hard-to put down.
I love it
La Crosse County Library
Review originally published April 2011

When my children were young, I took interior design classes at what was then called Western Wisconsin Technical College. One of the things that I became enthralled with was lamps, namely stained glass lamps. I saved and saved, and when I thought I had enough money, I went to a glass studio in downtown La Crosse and drew out a tulip shape with pointed tips that I wanted done in different shades of soft, pale blue. I wanted two lamps, and I wanted to hang
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
This moved awfully slowly and was overwhelmed by a lot of characters who were hard to keep straight.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Suzanne
I'm a tad bit better off for having read it, I suppose. Vreeland transported me again to the time period of the World Fair in Chicago, 1895 (?), which I loved. I could see art, the city, the inside of a millionaire's gaudy mansion, and the nature spaces near NYC through the eyes of a true artist who sees beauty, longingly, in every little thing, gushing at the color schemes and delicate intricacies of a mere petal. I don't see the world like this, so I feel I've been somewhere new. I'm embarrass ...more
This novel is based on the true story of one of the workers who created Tiffany lamps. The book was interesting, though maybe a bit too much like a soap opera for my tastes. The historical aspects of the book were riveting.

While reading the book you will get a look at New York City's current events as the 1800's move to the 1900's. Clara Driscoll is a designer for Tiffany lamps and she loves her job. L.O.V.E.S. her job. She is willing to put everything else in her life on hold in order to desig
Christine Roberts
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own-it
In this turn of the century historical drama, Clara Driscoll is the brain behind the genius Tiffany lamps, not the great Louis Tiffany. It spans almost twenty years of her life and career, and highlights the difficulty of employed women in that area. It's an interesting, creative novel, strong in exactly the right kind of girl power.
The only thing I had issues with was that the book moved slowly to me. It would have made four stars had the pacing been a little better.
Oct 26, 2022 marked it as dnf-bc-i-choose-happiness
Shelves: physical-read
This was another book I picked up without knowing anything about the author or title or story itself. It had a beautiful cover, so I instantly bought it!

I was a little scared that it was historical fiction, as I’m not a historical-fiction-kind-of-gal… and once I started reading it, I was a little alarmed because I literally don’t know anything about the art of stained glass or have any interest in it. I was able to appreciate it as I was reading it, but it honestly got boring fast, and I wasn’t
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
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it

Another winner from Vreeland. Here she focuses on a craft vs. fine art and a female vs. male artists. I now know how the phrase "23 skiddo" came from. (When they were building the Flatiron building in NYC, the winds came from the triangular building to blow up the ladies skirts ala Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch. The cops would tell the guys Skidoo, and it was on 23rd Street.) Now that was very clever to add it when Vreeland did, because other tidbits of the time (like O. Henry opening up
Susan (aka Just My Op)
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
Apr 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
After slogging through 3/4 of this book, I finally gave myself permission to close the covers and return it to the library. I was very interested to hear about Clara Driscoll and her designs for the Tiffany company. But for a woman torn between her art and love, Clara remained a flat, two-dimensional and rather uninteresting character. I couldn't get a handle on her at all. One minute she was espousing feminist/union ideals and the next making rather condescending remarks about her immigrant co- ...more
Sharon Huether
When letters from Clara Driscoll were found, they became the basis for the story "Clara and Mr. Tiffany".
Clara was a designer for Mr. Louis Comfort Tiffany in the late 1800's to the early 1900's. The lamps were her idea. She was inspired by nature and Mr. Tiffany.
Once a woman got married she could no longer work for the company.
When Clara could no longer express her creativeness and because of cut backs, she chose marriage.
She was very happy with her decision.
A very good book.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
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Susan Vreeland was 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 wrote historical fiction on art-related themes, and her books have been translated into 26 languages.

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