Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher302 pgs.
Target audience: Middle Reader
In the late fifteenth century on the island of Murano, Italy, Renzo longs to be a glassmaker like his father before him. When his father is murdered, Renzo’s only option is to work as a drudge in his uncle’s studio until he can prove his glassmaking skills enough to pass a test in just two weeks. If he fails not only are his dreams shattered but along with it any hope of supporting his mother and sister. He spends every night at the glassworks practicing but he cannot do it alone. One night he meets a young girl, Letta, and her falcon. she belongs to a group of children persecuted as witches by the Doge for their uncanny bond with birds. In exchange for food and shelter he convinces Letta to stay at the glassworks each night and help him prepare for his test. Before he knows it he’s got the whole lot of bird children hiding in the studio. Renzo must juggle between his glassblowing practice, keeping the Padrone happy, protecting his new secret family from the authorities, supporting his own family and the threat of a possible assassin. Faced with these seemingly impossible odds, Renzo turns to the glass he loves and with the children’s help creates something extraordinary. But will it be enough to save them all? The author uses her unique compassion and understanding of human-animal connections to create a realistic, heartwarming, gripping tale of secrets, betrayal, mystery and loyalty. The details of Venetian life and Murano glassmaking are vivid and flow naturally throughout the storyline. Recommend to fans of “The Glass Swallow” by Julia Golding. (This book was provided by the publisher, Simon and Schuster).