Thursday, April 10, 2014

Art Historian Brings 16th Century Venetian Craft to Life in "The Gondola Maker" by Laura Morelli


THE GONDOLA MAKER by Laura Morelli


Laura Morelli has brought armchair travelers into artisan studios from Siena to Santa Fe in her books Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest. Now Dr. Morelli takes readers into the heart and soul of a single artisan with her debut novel, THE GONDOLA MAKER. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship along with a compelling story set in one of the world’s most magnificent settings: Renaissance Venice.

Art historian Laura Morelli debuts her first work of historical fiction, THE GONDOLA MAKER, a tale of a 16th-century Venetian gondola maker who questions his destiny as a master artisan.

THE GONDOLA MAKER’s first-person narrative places the reader inside the head of 22-year-old Luca Vianello, heir to the most esteemed gondola boatyard in Venice, in 1581. It’s his life’s calling, his duty to his father and the generations that came before him. But when an accidental tragedy strikes the boatyard, Luca believes his true calling lies elsewhere. Soon enough, he is compelled to restore an old gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride.

“The story of THE GONDOLA MAKER developed while I was working on a book called Made in Italy,” says Morelli. “The living artisans I interviewed, whether makers of gondolas, carnival masks, or Murano glass, told me how important it was to them to pass on the torch of tradition to the next generation. I began to wonder what would happen if the successor were not able...or willing. The characters of the gondola maker and his son began to take shape.”

Morelli adds, “I hope that lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details in THE GONDOLA MAKER, but more than that, I believe that readers will identify with the struggle of this young artisan. Anyone who has ever questioned their parents’ plans or has sought to find their own way in the world will see themselves in this story.”

Book Details:

By Laura Morelli
Category: Historical Fiction
306 pages
Distributed through Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Broadart

Hardcover ISBN 978-0989367127
Trade paperback ISBN 978-0989367103
ebook ISBN 978-0989367110
Release: March 2014

Amazon Purchase Link: The Gondola Maker


"Sixteenth-century Venice is the star of Laura Morelli's well-crafted historical novel about the heir to the city's most renowned gondola builder."
--Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"The heir to a gondola empire rejects his birthright in this fascinating glimpse into Renaissance Venice."
--Kirkus Indie Book of the Month

"I'm a big fan of Venice, so I appreciate Laura Morelli's special knowledge of the city, the period, and the process of gondola-making. An especially compelling story."
--Frances Mayes, author, Under the Tuscan Sun

"Laura Morelli has done her research, or perhaps she was an Italian carpenter in another life. One can literally smell and feel the grain of finely turned wood in her hands."
--Pamela Sheldon Johns, author, Italian Food Artisans

"Historical fiction at its best."
--Midwest Book Review

About the Author:

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

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