Anam Cara's Reviews > The Lacemaker's Secret

The Lacemaker's Secret by Kathleen Ernst
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it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, cozy-mystery

I need more stars!

Honestly, this is the best book I have read recently! It took my breathe away.

I admit it was a slow start, but once I started reading about Seraphine and her life, it was almost impossible to put this book down. Every emotion was expressed as I read about her life in the convent, her finding a calling in life, her love of lace, then her elopement and immigration to America in the 1850's. And the promised "good life" in the New World was fraught with labors and sorrows. It seemed that when things were getting better, another blow would strike her, but she always kept going.

Seraphine is an inspiration. Although as a single person, she probably did not exist, when I think of all the women who were truly a part of this story, who lived portions of Seraphine's life, I am in awe. We are so coddled and pampered. I wonder if today's woman could survive in Seraphine's world. The pioneer women who lived through this period were amazingly strong.

Through this novel I learned of history I had never encountered before. I had no idea that there was a Great Fire in 1871 and how devastating it was. I am now almost angry when I think of how everyone knows about the little fire caused by a cow the same day in Chicago, but totally ignorant of the great loss of life and livelyhood the the Peshtigo Fire. I googled to read more about this disaster.

I was enthralled by the idea of bobbin lace. When I read about the lacemakers in the book, I could hear the bobbins clicking. So I looked it up on a video thinking I do needle work and might give this a try. I watched as fingers flew moving the bobbins from one place to another, turning and twisting. One view of a video of lacemakers in Belgium and I knew it was beyond my abilities.

I had no idea that the people of Wisconsin had done so much to help the Belgians during the First World War. Actually, I had no idea that Belgians had settled so much in Wisconsin! And so as I was reading about the lace project, I looked up Belgian War Lace and found some of the most beautiful pieces of lace I have ever seen. The thrilling part of that is that so many pieces are in the Smithsonian that I hope to see some in person when I make a trip to Washington, DC. Seeing these pieces make me wish I could see the lace that Seraphine made. I can't even begin to imagine the intricate nature of her work done in the mid 1850's.

In this book I had a fascinating story with characters who came alive for me (and some who were real people!), a story that was engaged my mind and emotions, a book that taught me things I had no knowledge of before and wouldn't have even thought to ask about. There is no way that I can think of that I could have learned about this if I hadn't read this book.

I don't think I can recommend this book highly enough!
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Reading Progress

August 12, 2018 – Shelved
August 12, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
September 7, 2018 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
September 7, 2018 – Shelved as: cozy-mystery
September 7, 2018 – Finished Reading

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