The Official Rogue Book Club: Susan Vreeland
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Each month, the Official Rogue Book Club brings together readers, art-lovers, and special guests to discuss books that inspire us to look at art and life in new, unexpected ways.
When it comes to art-related historical fiction, Susan Vreeland’s vivid blend of art and historical fiction ranks among the top. Giving us best-sellers like Girl in Hyacinth Blue and Luncheon of the Boating Party, her 2010 novel, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, tells the story of Clara Driscoll, who personally designed many of Louis Comfort Tiffany's famous glass lamps. Set against the backdrop of New York City's Gilded Age, Clara and Mr. Tiffany is the story of the "ultra-rich and desperate poor; its entitled men and its disenfranchised women" (The Washington Post, 2011). As the Los Angeles Times noted, "Like most women of her time, Driscoll rarely received credit for her ideas or work — this tension, deeply buried rage, drives the novel."
Along with the recognition she deserves for her work, Clara also yearns for love and companionship and is devoted to five men, including Tiffany, who hopes his work will earn him a place on the international artistic stage. Tiffany enforces a strict policy in his studio: He does not hire married women. Any woman who does 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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