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Extended Audio Sample Clara and Mr. Tiffany: A Novel Audiobook, by Susan Vreeland Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,839 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Vreeland Narrator: Kimberly Farr Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2011 ISBN: 9780307876713
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Against the unforgettable backdrop of New York near the turn of the twentieth century, from the Gilded Age world of formal balls and opera to the immigrant poverty of the Lower East Side, bestselling author Susan Vreeland again breathes life into a work of art in this extraordinary novel, which brings a woman once lost in the shadows into vivid color.

It’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows, which he hopes will honor his family business and earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division. Publicly unrecognized by Tiffany, Clara conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which he is long remembered.

Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman, which ultimately force her to protest against the company she has worked so hard to cultivate. She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted in different ways to five men, including Tiffany, who enforces to a strict policy: he does not hire married women, and any who do marry while under his employ must resign immediately. Eventually, like many women, Clara must decide what makes her happiest—the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Vreeland’s ability to make this complex historical novel as luminous as a Tiffany lamp is nothing less than remarkable.”

    Washington Post

  • “A novel as sparkling and elegant as a Tiffany lampshade…A sensitive portrayal of women’s struggles in the nineteenth century…[Susan Vreeland] has captured the tone of an era…The consistent elegance and vitality of her prose make reading her book a pleasure.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “As she did for a Vermeer painting in Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Vreeland traces the secret history of an objet d’art—this time, the iconic Tiffany lamp…A fascinating look at turn-of-the-century New York City.”

    People (starred review)

  • “There’s no excuse for any reader of high-quality literary fiction to let this novel pass by.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Vreeland’s writing is so graceful, her research so exhaustive, that a reader can’t help becoming enfolded in this fascinating world.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • Selected for the January 2011 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 2/19/2014

    " I've always loved items made of stained glass which of course led me to Tiffany's works. Having seen some of his company's windows in local churches, I found the descriptions of how they were made interesting. I had known that he himself did not make all the items, but I did not realize how large his company was and how many people he employed. Clara was a bit ahead of her times as the head of one of Tiffany's departments, the only department of women in the company. This time in history was not particularly kind to working women, and Tiffany wouldn't employ any married women, which is why Clara had left, and when widowed returned to work. She has come into her own as a designer and designed and worked on the lamps produced at this time. The book presents the lampshades as one of her ideas pitched to Tiffany, but history cannot confirm that as fact. Also her love life is on hold, she seems to be in love with Tiffany, and doesn't want to marry Bernard because she will then have to leave her work. As the company has been operating in the red, specialty items will not be produced and Clara won't be able to design, so it looks like she'll have to leave anyway. It's a good read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellyn | 2/4/2014

    " it was a slow read for me, but only because of the detail. it was interesting and i enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dee | 1/29/2014

    " I have always enjoyed Susan Vreeland's books but this one was not as gripping as her others. Still a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Afton | 1/15/2014

    " I very much enjoyed this book. It's well written but also informative about the struggles women have had being recognized for their creative talent and being fairly compensated for their work. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan | 1/14/2014

    " Okay, I am giving it 5 stars! Clara was a feminist ahead of her time and I loved her sassy style. What a great book that really brought turn-of-the-century New York City alive. Great historical fiction with a super protagonist. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emiline | 1/11/2014

    " I love this author! 4.5 stars, really. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margie | 1/5/2014

    " Fascinating look at how women played a role in the artistic success of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Also a glimpse of the beginning's of the women's labor movement in NYC around the turn of the last century. Lots of research went into this historical fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauretta | 11/12/2013

    " I listened to the audiobook "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Redheadjen | 3/8/2013

    " I tried. I just couldn't waste any more time with it. I liked the premise and the idea of what the potential of the story could be. The writing was just so flat that it did not keep my interest at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Housknecht | 6/2/2012

    " Loved the personal stories, but went into a little too much detail on the art behind the windows. Not my favorite Vreeland book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 1/13/2012

    " I give this 3 1/2 stars. I had such high hopes for this one, but there was just something about it that didn't sit right for me. It was a very interesting read, though. I loved learning about the glass and getting a feel for the time period. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Vicki | 11/27/2011

    " I thought this book was really boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 9/14/2011

    " I read this book for a book club. I found it interesting to learn about Tiffany process of Stained Glass windows and lamps during the turn of the century in New York. Good portrayal of women's lives and restrictions/rights working in manufacturing at that time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 7/14/2011

    " Loved the historical information about the labor movement and women's place in it. I took a stained glass class several years ago- really enjoyed learning more about that industry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo | 5/30/2011

    " Historical Fiction. What I enjoy about reading. I knew very little about Tiffany Lamps except that I would like one. I will look at all Tiffany Lamps and stainglass with a new watchful eye. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brecken | 5/23/2011

    " I love stained glass, and the process, especially Tiffany. It was a nice read. Not astounding language but and interesting story. I'm very interested now if finding out what the REAL story of Clara is. I wish I was still in New York so I could go see the Tiffany glass with her in mind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 5/20/2011

    "
    she is a great writer. and if i ever want to build and run a factory,studio for making mosaic glass windows, lamp shades and other products , this is the perfect manual for doing so-too much precise detail, too little story. i am reading and enjoying more her short stories from LIFE STUDIES. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pjgould | 5/19/2011

    " kind of a women"s lib focus -interesting description of life in NYC in that era. More information on making the tiffany lamps than I needed.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joyce | 5/18/2011

    " A nice piece of historical fiction. I liked it a lot. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Vicki | 5/18/2011

    " I thought this book was really boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cyndi | 5/17/2011

    " I think this was more of a 3.5, but that's not possible here... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maxine | 5/13/2011

    " This book was very intriguing. It deals with several issues. Women in the workplace in the 1900's and the inequities. The artistic abilities of women and their willingness to produce beautiful things knowing full well that they would not get the credit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 5/9/2011

    " Entertaining, but I didn't love it as much as others I've read recently (and perhaps that's not a fair comparison). The author clearly put a lot of work into capturing turn of the century New York, and the fact that much is derived from Clara's actual letters is fascinating. "

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About the Author
Author Susan Vreeland

Susan Vreeland is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including Luncheon of the Boating Party, Life Studies, The Passion of Artemisia, The Forest Lover, and Girl in Hyacinth Blue. She lives in San Diego.

About the Narrator

Kimberly Farr is an actress and eight-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for narration. She has appeared on Broadway and at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre, Playwright’s Horizons, and the American Place. She created the role of “Eve” in Arthur Miller’s first and only musical, Up from Paradise, which was directed by the author. She appeared with Vanessa Redgrave in the Broadway production of The Lady from the Sea and has acted in regional theaters across the country, including a performance in the original production of The 1940’s Radio Hour at Washington, DC’s Arena Stage.