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Iron Lace (Iron Lace #1)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  1,045 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
When Aurore Gerritsen watched her lover kill her father, it was just one act of violence in a long chain of dramatic events.

Years later, behind the iron lace gates of wealthy New Orleans, beneath the veneer of her society name, linger secrets that Aurore Gerritsen has hidden for a lifetime, and truths that threaten to change forever the lives of her unsuspecting family. No

Paperback, 538 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Mira Books (first published April 1st 1996)
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A gripping, heartbreaking story of a forbidden love from the past in Old the story begins in the 1960's, an ailing matriarch of an aristocratic family wishes to have her memoirs written, and her unusual choice for a journalist to write her life story will come as a surprise. Old secrets unfold, tragedies and prejudices of the past are revealed, and the destruction of long-held hate and revenge play out across generations. It's a very emotional and intense read.

Great storytelling
Jan 24, 2010 Denise rated it it was amazing
This will be one of those books that I will think about for the next little while. Very different than the books I usually read. She explores the racial tensions set in history over decades. A very deep and intriguing story, full of unexpected plots and twists.

I had never given a lot of deep thought to the oppression that black people face daily and throughout history. Even if 3/4 of your grandparents are white, your life will be dominated by the influence of your black genes. There were plenty
Janet Pittman
Emilie Richards' book reveals several intertwining relationships in this story set in New Orleans from 1893 - 1965. The title, "Iron Lace", is ironic since it alludes to a "strong woman who knew what she wanted" and built a house with uncommon iron lace. The book's protagonist, Aurore Gerritsen, was anything but a strong woman. It was disturbing to read Aurore's tale that reveals her racial prejudice, abuse tolerance, child abandonment, and leaving behind her one true love. Even the descriptions ...more
Elizabeth Smith
Aug 21, 2016 Elizabeth Smith rated it it was amazing
A story within a story. Set in New Orleans during the civil rights movement, a young black journalist is hired to write the story of an elderly and aristocratic white woman. Her story begins in the late 1800's during a turbulent hurricane that hit southern Louisiana and progresses to the 1960's. Most interesting is the author's telling of the way in which the lives of whites and blacks were intertwined on a daily basis. But once a line was crossed, they were subject to being ostracized by their ...more
May 26, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-club, 2009
I find that Ms. Richard's books always give you a lot to mull over in your mind. This one is no different. I am at the point where I think that I have figured out the rest of the story, BUT, I will probably be wrong when she throws in a curve or two.
Well, I finished the book last night and I had the book figured out as far as I went.Ms. Richards took it a few steps further once again. A good read, not too light, not too heavy. It tells the story of one woman's life and the many lies she lived du
An interesting tangled story of love and revenge, money and loss, black and white, right and wrong. Aurore hires Phillip to write her life story but Phillip is not sure that he should be writing the wealthy white lady's story. He is used to writing about the Civil Rights movement, and making changes for the blacks. Phillip is trying to figure out his own life but Aurore's story changes much of his thinking. The book is written in 1965 but Aurore's story to Phillip begins when she is young so the ...more
I really like this book so far. It takes place in the 60's but goes back to 1893 to the story tellers youth and a terrible storm in New Orleans and a man with his feet in two places at once and what he does about it....and what happens to him because of it! I love it so far, and so will Tracy and Joanne
Nov 29, 2013 Lisa rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Gaaah! I absolutely HATE it when I'm the only one getting a whiff of the fertilizer when everyone else is sniffing roses. Sorry to be a party-pooper, folks, but I must pronounce this one a "stinker."

Set in New Orleans during a 70-plus-year period (1893-1965), "Iron Lace" is the story of how racial prejudice wreaked havoc upon the "love affair" (and I use the term loosely) of white, privileged (weakling) Aurore Le Danois and bi-racial, orphaned (vengeful bastard) Raphael/Rafe Cantrelle/Etienne T
Feb 19, 2017 Karen rated it really liked it
Good, easy read. Aurore Gerritsen, a wealthy New Orleans woman, facing her own mortality feels she needs to tell the story of her life, including long held secrets that threaten her family and that of her offspring. She seeks out a black journalist to write her memoirs, and the book proceeds from there. Alternating from past to present the story is revealed. There is a sequel, Rising Tides.
Oct 12, 2011 Kelley rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-novel
A friend encouraged me to read Iron Lace / Rising Tides and I'm glad she did. I almost didnt because I thought Ms Richards was a romance writer and I'm not very keen on romances. But it would be a mistake to dismiss Ms Richards as a romance writer in the context of these two books because they are more than that. I always enjoy family sagas that span several generations so that was a hook for me. The characters are robust, realistic and their relationships are interesting and complicated. *spoil ...more
Oct 15, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing
As a segregated New Orleans prepares for Mardi Gras, an elderly white woman asks a young black journalist to write her autobiography. Phillip Benedict is more interested in covering the burgeoning civil rights movement but finds himself unable to refuse Aurore Gerritson.

Hers is a story of love and hatred, revenge and betrayal, Creole and Cajun and above all black and white. Anchored by desperate acts during the hurricane of 1893 but rooted in the color bar, Aurore's story forces Phillip to ques
Aurore Gerritsen, an aristocratic woman and owner of the Gulf Coast Shipping enterprise in the 1960's New Orleans area surprises journalist Phillip, a young black man with a request for a visit. She asks him to write her biography for personal use for her and her family. While surprised, Phillip accepts. We see Aurore's story in flashbacks interspersed with her present day. From the terrible hurricane that changed her family's life and destroyed her father's second family we see the difficult ou ...more
Jun 18, 2009 Elaine rated it liked it
One reader accurately summed up this book by saying that it's about forbidden love and revenge.

Is sweet revenge really sweet or is it mostly in the planning and scheming that it seems sweet? When does the sweet feeling fade after the revenge is taken? Is it worth the guilt that overtakes the schemer after the fact? Sweeter still is forgiveness.

Contains steamy, risque, not-very glossed over scenes. Lots of twists and turns, romance, deceit, revenge, sorrow, and guilt. One might have thought it
Jul 02, 2016 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite
Having recently received a Barnes & Noble Nook this was my first ebook and I loved it (both the book and the ereader). "Iron Lace" is a wonderful story of an elderly, white woman recalling her past to a reluctant, negro journalist. The story starts in New Orleans in the 1960s but moves to earlier times as Aurore's story unfolds. Gradually as she reveals her secrets, the reader comes to understand why she chose Phillip to record her memoirs. There are some wonderful characters in this book an ...more
Dale Harcombe
Dec 23, 2012 Dale Harcombe rated it really liked it
This isn't the cover my library copy had but it's close enough.
Aurore, a wealthy woman wants her story told and chooses Phillp Benedict to tell it. He is puzzzled as to why this white woman chose him, a black journalist.It hooked me from the beginning even though admit I picked the reason early on but that didn't spoil the story at all. It is a story of love, revenge,racial tensions and prejudices, ambition,self interest and betrayal that starts in 1965 but takes the reader back to 1893. It is a
Jade Eby
Jul 20, 2011 Jade Eby rated it it was amazing
Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements

Okay so this charming book brings me back to one of my all-time favorite books...The Help by Kathyrn Stockett. It has the same southern charm and a moral message to be heard. When a wealthy and elderly white woman asks an African-American journalist to pen her memoir he is nothing short of suspicious. Phillip initially blows off the dying wish of Aurore Gerritsen but after listening to her convincing first half of the story, he agrees to wri
Jun 10, 2011 Caitlyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THe story was good and written like most of Emilie Richards other books, so it is not an unexpected read. The stories told (historical and modern day) are well integrated in this story and as a read I believe the reason the story is being told. The two stories in this book are great character studies but the relationship beyond the two main characters fell a little flat. I would still recommend this book and am about to move on to the sequel, but unlike some books that have sequels I feel like t ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Jenn rated it really liked it
I loved this book! This is a beautifully written story of the conflict between black and white in the deep south. It begins with an elderly white woman, Aurore, asking a young negro journalist, Phillip, to write her memoirs. He does so reluctantly, at a time when segregation is still enforced. The story then returns to Aurore's childhood, to events that shaped her young life, to the man she adored, and to the mistakes she made. Throughout thestory we see Phillip's own painful journey into his pa ...more
Apr 13, 2013 Naomi rated it really liked it
Aurore Gerritsen grows up in a the loveless household of her parents in the 1890's. Her father is a flawed man but a really good business man and builds a thriving business on the waterfront in New Orleans. He has survived a devasting storm, nearly drowning but losing his mistress and their child. She has another child that survives and he makes his mission in life to avenge his mother and sister's deaths. Aurore gets caught up in this series of events and makes some bad judgements, too. The sto ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Kara rated it really liked it
This put an interesting perspective on biracial conflicts, segregation, and southern times in the past. It was a very good book and I found myself thinking about it long after the last page. I'm not sure what I expected, but after reading the books in the Happiness Key series I thought another book by Emilie Richards would be more of the same. This was different. Sad, but not too sad. I usually hate a book that keeps switching from past to present to tell a story, but it worked well in this case ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it
I would rate this Pg-13 to R, I skimmed over a few sex scenes. I think it was a beautifully written romance with feminist and political undertones. It's end resulted in a lot of post book contemplation, which to me is the epitome of a good read. It created new ideas and interpretations and was discussable. It did not bash men, but showed women and men as equally flawed. I think it was not the best as far as endorsing living morally, which is important to me. But it did show consequences of many ...more
May 21, 2011 Dot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took this book on our recent vacation and got hooked very quickly! It's a richly woven tale with lots of relationship layers. I got a great historical lesson on social class & culture in New Orleans during the 19th/20th centuries. After reading this book, I am also reminded that life truly IS all about the choices we make, but those choices don't only affect us, but, in many cases, they can affect those that come generations after us. Iron Lace is a beautifully written book definitely wort ...more
Oct 25, 2013 Shannon rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2011 Candace rated it really liked it
I took with book with me on my trip to New Orleans and I loved it! It is set in New Orleans during the early 20th century and then during the 1960s. It follows the life of an elderly white woman who decides to tell her life history to a black writer. He expects it to be an ordinary history of a rich white woman, but it is anything but. As she delves into her past he is taken on a journey that is both haunting and troubled. It was a very interesting read, especially being in New Orleans.
Dec 26, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is our February 2013 selection for Book Club at Main Street Books, 3rd Monday Book Club. I chose not to read the January book. It was a relatively quick read, although I had extra time to read while on CHRISTMAS break from work. I felt like the characters were real but we'll see what other members have to say. There was a quote on page 458 I thought was fantastic. "Everywhere he looked he saw walls that all the Joshuas in the world couldn't tumble."
Nov 09, 2015 Tiffany rated it it was amazing
This continues to be one of my favorite and most recommended books (along with the sequel). Richards paints a beautiful picture of old New Orleans with very well-rounded characters dealing with family secrets, race-relations, romance, natural-disaster, and much more. The sequel, Rising Tides, does not disappoint either. I would recommend buying both at the same time, because once you finish the last page of the first, you're going to want to dive into the second! SO SO GOOD.
Jul 23, 2011 Kim rated it it was amazing
Read this on while in colorado when I couldn't find The Mockingjay. It was such an awesome read with lots of surprises and family drama - but in a good way. Loved this book --especially learning about New Orleans through the 1800's and early 1900's. Interesting all the racial tension from the perspective of both white and black. Great great book.
Jul 07, 2011 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Enjoyed this fast-paced New Orleans-based novel about an old woman trying to right past wrongs. The story deals with issues of racism from 1919 to the 60s and features several twists and turns. The family saga continues in a sequel, Rising Tides, I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next.
Tracy Ralls
Oct 02, 2012 Tracy Ralls rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I've ever read. The woman who lent it to me had a diffult time getting into the story, but I was immediately drawn in. This story is well written, and has depth in characters and historical detail. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in a story of hard lessons during tough times through history.
Betty Bell
Jun 27, 2012 Betty Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm on my way to find the sequel!
This is a fascinating historical account of a New Orleans society matron Aurore Gerritsen as told to a young black outspoken journalist in 1965. It is a story of class, culture and tangled race relations that comes alive with sights and sounds of New Orleans and a complex history of Louisiana.
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I'm the author of seventy-something novels, including romance, women's fiction and mystery. When We Were Sisters debuted in June 2016, a stand alone novel about two foster sisters traveling back into their past together. I loved writing it and love the cover my publisher chose.

I'm also excited about my recent series, Goddesses Anonymous, which started with One Mountain Away and was followed by So
More about Emilie Richards...

Other Books in the Series

Iron Lace (2 books)
  • Rising Tides

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