Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Review: Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill

Title: Sisters of Glass
Author: Stephanie Hemphill
# Of Pages: 160
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: March 27th 2012
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts



Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family on the island of Murano, the traditional home for Venetian glassmakers. Though she longs to be a glassblower herself, glassblowing is not for daughters—that is her brother's work. Maria has only one duty to perform for her family: before her father died, he insisted that she be married into the nobility, even though her older sister, Giovanna, should rightfully have that role. Not only is Giovanna older, she's prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her.

Maria would like nothing more than to allow her beautiful sister, who is far more able and willing to attract a noble husband, to take over this role for her. But they cannot circumvent their father's wishes. And when a new young glassblower arrives to help the family business and Maria finds herself drawn to him, the web of conflicting emotions grows even more tangled.

My Verdict

Stephanie Hemphill writes a unique and captivating story about a family of glassblowers in 15th Century Venice. The story focuses on sisters Giovanna and Maria and their strained relationship.

Maria and Giovanna live on the island of Murano, famous for it’s glassmaking. Maria grew up helping the family business by mixing batches of glass, helping out in the furnace, and dreaming of someday becoming a blower. Traditionally, it is the eldest daughter who marries into nobility but Maria’s father specifically ordered that she be the one to marry into nobility right before his death. This causes her elder sister Giovanna to become resentful of Maria.

“ Giovanna shoots me
only a sideways glance
as I lace into my new green dress.

I want to scream,
‘I will trade positions,’
that I Desire to polish glass
and stoke the fires
and see the creation of crystal,
like I was permitted to do
when I was a little girl.

But I promised Father
on his deathbed that I would
honor his first and greatest wish for me.
I just did not know I would
lose my sister even before
I lose my Murano.

Now 15 years old, Maria is forbidden from working with the glass she loves so much to stay indoors brushing her hair, and wearing fancy dresses, while her family tries to find her the perfect suitor. But when a young man comes to work for the family Maria starts to fall in love, but not with her suitor. 

“ To follow the head,
or the heart,
this is the question
that rips me apart.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, the writing was great, the story interesting (I really enjoyed learning about the art of glassblowing!) and I liked the main character, Maria, but something was missing that kept me from loving it.


  1. Hello, Ali!

    I'm currently helping out one of my blogger buddies, YA author Mia Hoddell, in finding tour host bloggers for her newest novel DEADLY TO LOVE. I'm wondering if you would be interested into becoming a tour host for this novel.

    The tour schedule can be found here:

    The tour sign-up is here:

    There's no pressure in participating in this tour but I'm sure Mia would be grateful if more people could join. Feel free to also help spread the word for this tour. Thanks & take care!

    Jhobell Kristyl

  2. This is definitely different to what I would normally read, but I think the concept has me intrigued, the writing also comes across very beautifully. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Lovely review! :)

    1. The writing was really beautiful, I usually don't include quotes in my reviews but I really wanted to show how well written it was!

  3. Thanks for the great review, Amanda. It sounds like a lovely book - anything with an artistic character peaks my interest.

    1. Agreed, I love when arts are included in a book. I really enjoyed learning about glassblowing!

  4. I really struggle with books in verse, but I'm going to read the author's other book about the Salem Witch trials!

  5. I have never read a book in verse but this one has an interesting concept. I love that last quote. Thank you for sharing! :)


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