Rick F.'s Reviews > The Ruins of Lace

The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony
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Oct 29, 2012

it was amazing
Read from October 31 to November 03, 2012

"Lace is a thing like hope.
It is beauty; it is grace.
It was never meant to destroy so many lives .

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."

I just finished this most superb of novels and I am simply amazed at how truly affecting it is. Iris Anthony has created an experience as much as a novel.

Truly amazing historical fiction on a topic not previous covered in the genre...riveting and very very emotionally gripping!!!


The novel is about 17th Century France and King Louis the Just and his edict outlawing the smuggling of lace from Flanders. Lace was forbidden to be worn as those who purchased it had to buy it from abroad, thereby depleting the King's Coffers.

The novel is divided between several key characters, those who make the lace, those who desire it and those who are affected by it. Ms. Anthony has researched her subject well, she started the book in 2002 and after many re-writes has produced a treasure.

This is a book that evokes deep emotions on many fronts. The orphan girls who labor in horrific conditions in convents making lace, going blind and deformed in the process is truly hard to read, yet it is true and must be acknowledged. The main plot involves a young girl who spoils a length of lace and the enormous consequences that simple mistake has for so many. The writing is so very spot on that one finds it hard to put down. Each chapter is written in the first person by character involved and allows a range of views. This is a very facinating and absorbing story.

One of the characters who is featured, and who dictates several chapters is "The Dog". One might think this would seem contrived. It is anything but, his chapters are among the most heartbreaking. Dogs were widely used to smuggle lace..the methods were horrific..as the book explains. The use of the dog's narrative gives voice to the over 40,000 dogs that were killed during this period by bounty hunters trying to keep lace from being smuggled into France.

I cannot recommend THE RUINS OF LACE more, it is as unforgetable a book as you are likely to read. While a small part of history, under the perfect pen of Iris Anthony it comes alive in a most vivid and riveting manner.

AN OFFICIAL JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB MUST READ

RICK FRIEDMAN
FOUNDER
THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB
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Reading Progress

11/03/2012 page 307
91.0%
11/23/2016 marked as: read

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