The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning is a delightful novel set in the 1800’s in Lauscha, Germany. It is about the Steinmann sisters, Ruth, Joanna, and Marie. The girls live with their father, Joost, who is a glassblower. The girls decorate the glass, polish it, and pack it. When their Father dies suddenly, the girls are at a loss. Their Father never let them socialize with the young people in town, did not teach them to blow glass (it is only passed on to son’s), and did not even let them know about the finances. The three girls are offered a job with Heimer who runs the biggest and most profitable glassworks in the town. While the Heimer family is rich, they are misers and have horrible manners (they are very crude). The business is not run the best way, and Joanna tries to suggest changes. Mr. Heimer does not take them well and Joanna is left without a job. Ruth and Miriam stay with Heimer. Ruth fancies Mr. Heimer’s son, Thomas (one of three). Miriam is a gifted and creative painter. Mr. Heimer takes advantage of Miriam’s skills to make him more money while paying her a pittance. Joanna gets herself a job in Sonneberg with a wholesaler, Mr. Strobel. Joanna continues to work for Mr. Strobel, taking on more responsibility, until something horrible happens to her. Ruth marries Thomas when she ends up pregnant and her marriage is not a happy one. Thomas is a lot like his Father (stingy, mean, and abusive).
In the second part of the book the girls decide to make some changes. Miriam has been learning to blow glass in secret (she had the house to herself after Joanna went to work in Sonneberg and Ruth married Thomas). She has been making small Christmas bulbs to be her canvas. Ruth (after she leaves her husband for his abuse) takes Miriam’s beautiful bulbs into Sonneberg to show Mr. Woolworth (Frank Winfield Woolworth of the Woolworth Stores). Mr. Woolworth bought many beautiful handmade items for his stores in Germany. Mr. Woolworth loves her Christmas ornaments (the sound like they are gorgeous works of art) and places a big order with the girls. For the first order Miriam continues to work at Mr. Heimer’s during the day and blow glass at night. Ruth and Joanna paint the ornaments, silver them, and pack them. The ornaments are a hit in the states. Mr. Woolworth then places an order for heart ornaments. Miriam can now quit her job and work full-time on the ornaments. Joanna falls in love with Peter who has lived next door to the girls for a long time (he has loved her for many years). Ruth falls in love with Mr. Woolworth’s right hand man, Steven (yes, she is still married to Thomas and Thomas will not give her a divorce).
This is a wonderful book. I loved the second half of the book more than the first part. I have written only a little of what happens in this book. The story will make you laugh and cry. I hope you will take the time to read The Glassblower and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, The American Lady! The Glassblower is also available under Kindle Unlimited on Amazon.com. I was provided a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Happy Reading!