Posted by: istop4books | August 4, 2011

The Glass Blowers by Daphne du Maurier

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.
We’ve heard the story of the French Revolution, in particular I’ve read a couple of biographies of Marie Antoinette, but this is told from the point of view of Sophie Busson, the daughter in a family of merchants; people who were not privileged in the sense that the nobility was, they worked for their livings after all, but compared to many in Europe at that time, they were indeed in a class of their own. Educated, living in good solid homes and earning a living at a prestigious trade set them apart from many. Sophie’s brother, Robert proved an interesting character, as he was brought up in very close contact to the nobility from whom his parents leased their factory. He was influenced by this superior class of people and this affected him in all aspects of his later life as he felt a sense of entitlement to the good things in life, whether he worked for them or not. Not too different from what happens in today’s society.
The story continues through the War of the Vendée and the Nationalist movement while events occurring in Paris seem to be happening somewhere distant. In general Du Maurier stays close to the Busson family and to what affects them.
I thought the book was OK; I didn’t love it and in fact, skimmed bits and sped-read through others. Very unusual for a du Maurier book.

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