Friday, October 5, 2012

"This story is a treasure that will doubtless call the hand to pull it from the shelf to read again," says Mark L.

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.

For Lisette, lace begins her downfall, and the only way to atone for her sins is to outwit the noble who now demands the impossible. To fail means certain destruction. But for Katharina, lace is her salvation. It is who she is; it is what she does. If she cannot make this stunning tempest of threads, a dreaded fate awaits.

The most lucrative contraband in Europe, with its intricate patterns and ephemeral hope, threatens to cost them everything. Lace may be the deliverance for which they all pray...or it may bring the ruin and imprisonment they all fear.

Mark L. says: 
"A wonderfully resonant tale, delightful and unique...

In the novel
The Ruins of Lace, Iris Anthony describes the clacking of bobbins as the lace maker twists her threads into the insubstantial design that is lace. So prized above all and yet illegal to import or possess within the setting of 17th Century France.   How apt a description is lace for the writing of this book.

The different plot lines, each of so vital a life well-rendered and unique, she twists together as those characters by turn throw themselves into the tasks of living at the edges of their failures, where every step threatens to cast them down, irredeemably.  The daughter of a nobleman, who has lost all, holds the possibility of her father's salvation from a cruel man lobe recalled at times long into the future and willst in his own tortured narcissism. A young gentleman debases his hard earned position to save others. A soldier guarding the border who cannot find a lace smuggler to save himself is banished even from the frontier, and a dog used by smugglers to carry the forbidden lace becomes something other than the whipped cur of his master. There is the tragedy of a lace maker, a young woman, hiding her growing blindness, forestalling the time she is tossed into the hands of pimps.

Desperation and dire straights, hard choices between compassion and immorality, between propriety and legality, and the meanness of such a world are well written and sharp enough to make the reader squirm as Anthony unfolds the lengths of her narrative.  Well done.

This story is a treasure that will doubtless call the hand to pull it from the shelf to read again."

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