Top critical review
66 people found this helpful
Started brilliantly, but unfortunately its hold on me weakened
on 4 April 2010
I was drawn to this book because of the storyline - the idea of a present day story revolving around the restoration of a stained glass window, whilst another story goes back to the past to discover the secrets behind the window's past - really appealed to me. Time slip novels can often be fantastic reads, if the suthor is able to make both stories engaging and relevant to eachother. When I first began reading THE GLASS PAINTER'S DAUGHTER, I truly felt that this was going to be such a book. However, as another reviewer has described, I also felt that about two thirds into this book, I found myself growing less and less fond of it.
The main character, Fran, inhabits a world of music and art - she is an accomplished musician, yet because of growing up in her father's world of stained glass, she also has artistic abilities. The two men who come into her life - Ben and Zac - also reflect this dichotomy; Ben is the organist at her local church and she meets him when she joins the choir, and Zac, who is her father's employee, reflects the artistic nature. At first, this adds another dimension to the book but after a while, it becomes just another element which got on my nerves. Unfortunately Hore writes about this triangle in a very cliched way, meaning it is obvious what will eventually happen.
But I think what prevented me from really enjoying this book as amuch as I thought I would is that there are so many strands to Fran's story and the book as a whole, that each strand seemed to have to compete for attention. Without wishing to give things away, while Fran works on the restoration of the window, there are also issues revolving around her ill father, her early childhood and her mother in particular, Fran's friends, her love life, not to mention the slowly unfolding story which is set in the past. Because of all of these, I felt as though despite reading hundreds of pages, I was not getting very far with the book. Different threads are picked up and put down sometimes with different amounts of time and attention given to them. I felt as though the story set in the past was often pushed to one side resulting in the book feeling a little clumsy at times. Rather than past and present relating in a nearly seamless way as other books manage, it made the two stories appear unrelated.
I was so disappointed with my reading experience regarding this book. I truly thought that I was going to love it. Unfortunately, for me, its hold on me lessened until I became slightly ambivalent towards it. Rather than sinking into this book, becoming surrounded and engulfed by the story, I felt as though I was just plodding through and I often found myself skipping sections so that I could get further along.
Although it started brilliantly - which is why I could not justify awrading only two stars - the magic of it disappeared.