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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 April 2009
This is a lovely novel in which we are given both an involving narrative, full of mystery, and a rewarding romance. The heroine Fran tries to put back together the shattered fragments of the stained glass window with its glorious angel; as she does so she discovers, through a Victorian diary, the intriguing love story that lies behind the window's creation. This is therefore a story of restoration - not just of a stained glass window however, but of a relationship - Fran's difficult one with her father, who is ill. As with Rachel Hore's two earlier books, both of which I've also loved, the narrative switches between the present day and the past, and the interleaved chapters about the pre-Raphaelite artist who designed the window, and his love for the minister's daughter Laura, are beautifully evoked. I finished the Glass Painter's Daughter having very much enjoyed the storyline most of all, but having also had the pleasure of learning about the art and craft of stained glass making. A rich and lovely novel that, like the window, is cleverly and very satisfyingly pieced together.
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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.
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on 22 April 2009
I could not put this book down. I loved the way the writer takes a subject and weaves a story around it. Have now purchased her previous books and have started her second which is promising to be equally as captivating. Will also be visiting the stained glass museum which I would not have known existed without reading this book.I bought this writer on an Amazon recommendation after reading Kate Morton however I felt her to be more of a Par with Mark Mills
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on 14 July 2014
I had high hopes of this book as the subject matter interested me and the two timelines. Unfortunately a third of the way through I have decided to abandon it as it has descended into a ghastly chick-lit ouevre and I find it boring. I want a book to engage me by good writing and a captivating story ; unfortunately this is not although it started well it then descended into a tedious style; not for me I'm afraid.
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on 23 April 2009
I found this a thoughtful and compelling read. Rachel Hoare has done her homework well, and the characters became like personal aqaintances.This is her best book yet.Please keep them coming, it is so good to find a different new author who goes beyond the usual.
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As my review title says, when I first started this book, I thought it was definately a five star read. It was different and interesting. I loved the story behind it all and how it switched from past to present. I also really enjoyed the development of the relationship between Zak and Fran. I was reading it at every given opportunity.

But, as I got further in (about three quarters through) some things began to really annoy me. Firstly, religion. The author felt it necessary to ram this down your throat at every given opportunity (at one point it says something along the lines of, we may be loved in life but ultimately we go into the dark on our own!). I found it a bit much. Also, things happened far to quickly for me to keep up. I quite often had to go back and check! Finally, the ending was (for me) rushed and far, far too perfect.

It was an enjoyable book, but I didn't like the ending. I would recommend it but I think I'd warn people that it's definately not a light read (especially with all the religion). It saddens me to say, it only gets three stars from me.
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on 27 May 2013
This is the story of Fran who has to come home from an itinerant musical career when her father suffers a stroke. Fran and her father have unresolved misunderstandings within their relationship as do several of the other characters in this accomplished novel. An intriguing restoration commission leads Fran to research the history of a stained glass angel window together with the history of her own family. A particular delight in this novel is the wealth of detail about stained and painted glass of both the Victorian and other periods. It took me through a sleepless and difficult night and I would certainly recommend it.
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on 16 December 2013
This is the first book I have read by Rachel Hore. I will definitely be buying her others.

Its difficult to weave past with present as expertly as Rachel has. I was also impressed with her ability to illustrate the difference between infatuation and love. She explores many facets of loss: of ones child through death or divorce, of parent, of health, of possessions and of love. In all, the book was for me, deliciously moreish and unlike many current books, she did tie up all loose ends, bringing the book to a satisfying conclusion.

One tiny criticism is that I felt she could have left out the story about her friend Jo and the build up via Jo's mysterious behaviour. It leads us to believe this will fit somewhere into Fran's own story and yet it does not. It seems to sit on its own as a sort of 'flash fiction' - Jo was more or less a background figure - only really needed to introduce Fran to Ben and Amber. Therefore I felt irritated and side tract by her mini story which seemed so insignificant to anything much else going on.
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on 28 July 2015
I always enjoy Rachel Hore's books, and she explores a different subject, this time the restoration of old stained glass. Her main character Fran returns to her fathers home after he is taken ill, and begins to help his business partner Zac with the restoration work, as they begin to work together the local church asks them to take on the restoration of a Victorian window damaged during the war. Here the author begins to explore the back story of the window, and the family who commissioned it, and for me this added another enjoyable element to the story. An excellent read, highly recommended.
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on 21 March 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed the intertwined story lines of Laura and Fran, both wrestling with the search for love and the pull of family commitment. The imagery of angels and their representation in stained glass and in poetry gives this story an other worldly feel, which I found enchanting.

I will definitely be reading more of Rachel Bore.
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