drey's Reviews > The Ruins of Lace

The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony
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's review
Jul 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads, fiction-historical
Read in October, 2012

Iris Anthony’s The Ruins of Lace is an expertly weaved tale of ambition and greed, love and loss, and the injustice of the powerless.

After her mother’s death, Katharina Martens was taken in by the nuns at the abbey at Lendelmolen. Aged was seven, she was taught to make lace. Twenty-five years later, she’s their best lace-maker, but now has the stooped body of an old woman, and is almost blind – courtesy of the working conditions. Her sister Heilwich has been saving for those twenty-five years, to be able to ransom Katharina. Now she’s so very close, will she make it before they throw Katharina out once she can no longer see?

Lisette Lefort was just seven and grieving her own mother’s death, when her actions put her family’s financials at the mercy of the Count of Montreau. Too bad, because he has none. Never mind that he’s managed to bring them to ruin – when the Count stands to be disinherited in place of his father’s soon-to-be-born son, he strikes a bargain with the Cardinal to disregard his father’s wishes. In return for a length of lace. Which, being illegal, means that someone has to be presumed upon to venture into Flanders and return with the contraband. That lucky duck? Lisette’s cousin, Alexandre – who came to live with Lisette’s family when his father dies.

So much death. So much hopelessness. All entwined in a length of lace.

I really enjoyed The Ruins of Lace. Iris Anthony does a fabulous job in showcasing how this little luxury cost oh so very much, and the lengths to which some people would go, to acquire it. And it’s not all doom and gloom – one of the POVs is for The Dog, a degenerate little creature who’s compelled to be a mule for the lace, and who answers to mon cher…

Of course, everybody’s story eventually ties together, and the ending is worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy. Definitely worth a read.

drey’s rating: Excellent!

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