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November 21, 2013

THE RUINS OF LACE by Iris Anthony

                                       RATED 3 HEARTS                                       

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Lace is a thing like Hope.
It is beauty; it is grace.
It was never meant
to destroy so many lives.
   (from back cover)     

Iris Anthony
The Ruins of Lace
Published October 2nd 2012 
by Sourcebooks Landmark 

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(from Goodreads)
The mad passion for forbidden lace has infiltrated France,
pulling soldier and courtier alike into its web. For those who want the best, Flemish lace is the only choice, an exquisite perfection of thread and air. For those who want something they don’t have, Flemish lace can buy almost anything––or anyone.

For Lisette, lace begins her downfall, and the only way to atone for her sins is to outwit the noble who now demands the impossible. To fail means certain destruction. But for Katharina, lace is her salvation. It is who she is; it is what she does. If she cannot make this stunning tempest of threads, a dreaded fate awaits.

The most lucrative contraband in Europe, with its intricate patterns and ephemeral hope, threatens to cost them everything. Lace may be the deliverance for which they all pray...or it may bring the ruin and imprisonment they all fear.

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 The stories are in first person narrative.  Two sisters, Katharina, a lace maker  in Lendelmolen at the Flemish abbey, then Heilwich, who is somewhat of a housekeeper to a priest. The other characters were; Denis, border guard to seek out smugglers, A dog used for smuggling, Lisette, a young girl who is infatuated with lace; Alexandre, who has no future, seeks to be honoured and redeemed; and then we have a count who schemes in using the precious lace to bribe for security  for his financial future.
  • The author takes us on a journey with the characters. Will the young hero be successful in securing  the coveted lace in time to prevent one of being dishonored?  Will he fail?  THE RUINS OF LACE is a historical fiction novel.  Lace was a rare  and outlawed. The upper class were the only ones seen wearing lace. Lace was a treasure.   The characters are all bound  to lace in one way or another. The Seventeenth Century was a time of poverty and despair. King Louis the XII has forbidden the making of lace making in more desirable.Some people paid enormous prices to buy lace while others were forced to make the lace under miserable conditions. There were those fortunate enough to wear the lovely handmade lace and there were those who made the lovely lace. For the people who wanted only the best, the choice was Flemish lace.  Then we have the people who want something they can't and don't have.  People went to outlandish lengths to have this treasured lace. Lace was a commodity that could buy most anything including people. The book was very interesting and I learned something I never knew.  The book is not really about the characters but how lace can change and destroy even though it is so lovely. The book is quickly paced and not a frilly "lacy" kind of book.  It has had a lot of research put into it by the author.  It's a historic romance in a way.  The history and love of lace. I found the book to be rather sad thinking of six year olds taken into miserable conditions to make lace.  Then when their eyesight failed, they were cast to the streets.  It was also sad to think that lace was so coveted.  People would do anything to have Flemish lace. Was the banning, intolerable conditions in which lace was made, the pain and suffering, and the greed --- JUST?  
I would recommend this book if you like historical reads, if you're interested in the fascinating story off lace or you just want a good book to read.

I would give this book 3 Stars.

I was given a complimentary copy of The RUINS OF LACE by Iris Anthony from NightOwlReviews for my unbiased view.

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Iris Anthony is a pseudonym. The writer behind the name is an award winning author of 11 novels. Disguised as her alter-ego, Iris has lived on three continents and traveled to five. She has given up on keeping a diary, buying a château, and liking tea. She stills hopes one day to be able to knit a sweater, play golf on the Old Course, and visit Antarctica. Iris lives in the Washington, DC Metro area in a house decorated with French antiques and Flemish lace.
Iris Anthony
author photo by Tim Coburn  
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