Book Source: Sourcebooks
The Ruins of Lace reveals the extreme desire for forbidden lace that pulled soldier and courtier alike into its web. It’s told by sharing the points of view of seven different characters. Some are strangers and will never meet, but they will all ultimately affect the outcome of each other’s lives.
Who knew lace was such a dangerous commodity? I always knew only the very rich possessed it, and I had always heard of Flemish lace being quite sought after, back in the day. However, I never knew about the destruction that lace left in its wake. A terrible legacy to be sure.
The Ruins of Lace is interesting in the way that it's story is told. Each chapter is a different view point of someone who is immediately affected by the lace trade. You know those movies that have several plot lines that seem separate and distinct, but at the end they are all related to one another? That's what The Ruins of Lace is, and I enjoyed it immensely. The following view points are considered in the story (courtesy of Sourcebooks):
* Lisette Lefort: When Lisette was seven years old, she ruined a priceless lace cuff that was owned by The Count of Montreau. It was a mistake that would haunt her family for many years.
* The Count of Montreau: Drowning in gambling debt, struggling with his desires towards men and the disappointment of his father, the Count will go to any lengths to make sure he gains his inheritance.
* Alexandre Lefort: His love for Lisette will drive him to travel across borders to find the coveted piece of lace that will ultimately free the love of his life.
* Katharina Martens: Katharina has lived in a convent for twenty-five years, where she was trained to make beautiful and highly coveted lace, and is considered the best. Now her eyesight has begun to fail, and it’s only a matter of how long she can hide it.
* Heilwich Martens: As Katharina’s older sister, she has been trying to pay for her sister’s release for years but keeps coming up short. How far will she go to earn the money she needs to save her sister?
* Denis Boulanger: Denis has been struggling as a border patrol officer and can’t seem to find any of the forbidden lace being smuggled into France. He has searched loaves of bread, coffins, and dogs… Will an accidental meeting with a stranger be the biggest break of his career?
* le chien: Used to smuggle lace into France, dogs paid the biggest price. Le chien’s best friend was killed, and he’s caught between two masters—one loving and one terribly abusive. He longs for freedom from the “bad master,” but first must succeed in his most important mission yet.
Anthony's writing drew me into the story immediately Each character had their own voice, and because of Anthony's exceptional writing, I empathized with each character for different reasons, even the unsavory Count of Montreau. I didn't like him but understood where he was coming from. I am not even sure which character I felt the most sorry for . I can tell you the fictional dog, le chien, killed me. I wanted to cry whenever his turn came up. I even skipped ahead to see what happened. Don't worry, no spoilers.
The Ruins of Lace was a wonderful book, and for me it was a page turner. Almost made me miss my subway stop a few times too. I love books that find nuggets of history that haven't really been explored as of yet, and Anthony has certainly done that with this story.
Iris Anthony's website: http://irisanthony.com/index.html
The Ruins of Lace home page from Sourcebooks: http://irisanthony.com/index.html
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Paperback, 336 pages
Thank you Sourcebooks for my review copy.
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