hits counter The Ruins of Lace (Thorndike Press Large Print Historical Fiction) - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Ruins of Lace (Thorndike Press Large Print Historical Fiction)

Availability: Ready to download

Book by Anthony, Iris


Compare

Book by Anthony, Iris

30 review for The Ruins of Lace (Thorndike Press Large Print Historical Fiction)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    Hmmm...the idea and history behind this novel was fantastic. Before reading this book I knew nothing about lace or its place in seventeenth century France. The author’s research was evidently excellent and the variety of characters added to the historical atmosphere. That being said, I found the overall story shallow, choppy, and forced. There were seven characters guiding the reader through the novel; I desperately wanted to like any of the human ones (spoiler: one of the characters is a dog an Hmmm...the idea and history behind this novel was fantastic. Before reading this book I knew nothing about lace or its place in seventeenth century France. The author’s research was evidently excellent and the variety of characters added to the historical atmosphere. That being said, I found the overall story shallow, choppy, and forced. There were seven characters guiding the reader through the novel; I desperately wanted to like any of the human ones (spoiler: one of the characters is a dog and extremely like-able...just be warned there is graphic abuse and maltreatment but it doesn’t span the entire novel). Thus, with no (human) characters to root for and no language or story to swoon over, this novel ultimately was a miss for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews

    Originally posted at: http://www.longandshortreviews.blogsp... You know the saying, too many books, too little time? It sums up my dilemma perfectly. Sometimes it’s a choice between fiction and the many books on historical events I want to read by year’s end. Lucky for me I got the best of both worlds in The Ruins of Lace. It’s a fascinating read and shows how much work and effort the author took in researching the topic of lace and its impact on culture and society in 16th century France. What ma Originally posted at: http://www.longandshortreviews.blogsp... You know the saying, too many books, too little time? It sums up my dilemma perfectly. Sometimes it’s a choice between fiction and the many books on historical events I want to read by year’s end. Lucky for me I got the best of both worlds in The Ruins of Lace. It’s a fascinating read and shows how much work and effort the author took in researching the topic of lace and its impact on culture and society in 16th century France. What made it all the more captivating was the author decided to tell this story from lots of viewpoints and how lace, its production, and the need to own it, affected people’s life. I also enjoyed, and excuse the pun, how all these individual’s stories became woven together as the book progressed. All the characters were well-rounded, and the dialogue natural sounding. You might think a book of this length and subject matter would be slow paced, but this one was anything but. I found myself carrying it with me and was compelled to read what happened next at any chance I got. I will definitely be looking for more books by Iris Anthony. If you’re looking to read something a little different this fall, I highly recommend this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan Meissner

    This was news to me, that there was a time in French history when lace was contraband. To possess it was a criminal act and to smuggle it into the country was treasonous. Whenever someone with means wants something they can’t readily have, there is always someone who will get it for them for a price, regardless of the risk or who they have to abuse and use to get it. Told in multiple view points, including that of a dog who is a smuggler’s runner, it is obvious the story is really about people – This was news to me, that there was a time in French history when lace was contraband. To possess it was a criminal act and to smuggle it into the country was treasonous. Whenever someone with means wants something they can’t readily have, there is always someone who will get it for them for a price, regardless of the risk or who they have to abuse and use to get it. Told in multiple view points, including that of a dog who is a smuggler’s runner, it is obvious the story is really about people – and a dog – and what they value most in life and what they are willing to do or suffer to have it. I was especially intrigued by the notion that what makes lace beautiful is the part that isn’t there – the air between the threads that creates the pattern – that is the part that gives lace its artistry; the invisible part. That is remarkable to me and worthy of pondering. It’s a great read folks, not a cozy feel-good bedtime book, but a thought-provoking page-turner that you won’t want to put down.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kamilla

    The story is told from the viewpoint of 7 characters in alternating chapters. It's just too many voices and the chapters overlap in odd ways at times. I've read a lot of books from multiple POV and even for the best writers maintaing 3-4 characters is difficult, maintaining 7 and keeping your reader interested ESPECIALLY in a book under 320 pages is impossible. This unfortunate choice flawed the book. At most 3 of the characters were needed to tell the story and there are 2 that are completely i The story is told from the viewpoint of 7 characters in alternating chapters. It's just too many voices and the chapters overlap in odd ways at times. I've read a lot of books from multiple POV and even for the best writers maintaing 3-4 characters is difficult, maintaining 7 and keeping your reader interested ESPECIALLY in a book under 320 pages is impossible. This unfortunate choice flawed the book. At most 3 of the characters were needed to tell the story and there are 2 that are completely irrelevant. While the story of the lace maker was interesting the other story line was trite. And spend too much time in the past and was too many perspectives to keep my interest for long.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Katharina has spent her whole life making lace. It is the only thing she knows. Without it, she will be lost. This is why; Katharina can not let the nuns know that she is almost blind. Because if the nuns where to learns Katharina’s secret then Katharina would be thrown out on the streets. Lisette is in love. Although, Lisette is about to learn the true cost of love. The Count is obsessed with lace. He wants it and will do anything in his powers to get it. I have had a history with historical an Katharina has spent her whole life making lace. It is the only thing she knows. Without it, she will be lost. This is why; Katharina can not let the nuns know that she is almost blind. Because if the nuns where to learns Katharina’s secret then Katharina would be thrown out on the streets. Lisette is in love. Although, Lisette is about to learn the true cost of love. The Count is obsessed with lace. He wants it and will do anything in his powers to get it. I have had a history with historical and historical romance novels. On one hand, I enjoy reading about the history of the story that I am reading and if done right the romance can help between the two characters however; on the other hand after a while, I grow bored of the history and details. I am happy to report that was not the case at all with this book. Instantly, I was attracted to the characters. They had heart, depth, and made you feel for them. Each character had their own voice. It was intriguing to read how important lace was to each of them and how it affected them as well. While, I have never owned an exquisite piece of lace, after reading this book, I will not look at it again the same way. All the history, hours, and labor of love spent in making a piece of lace is amazing. The love story in this book is a tragic one. The Ruins of Lace is a book to be treasured!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Let me first say that I was really looking forward to this book. The whole historical aspect of smuggling lace was such a fascinating subject. And I had high hopes as I began because I love first person point of view and really enjoyed reading Katharina’s voice. What I didn’t realize is that there are seven different voices in this book changing with each chapter. It even includes the point of view told by a dog. The constant switching of characters was a bit confusing - I found myself always ha Let me first say that I was really looking forward to this book. The whole historical aspect of smuggling lace was such a fascinating subject. And I had high hopes as I began because I love first person point of view and really enjoyed reading Katharina’s voice. What I didn’t realize is that there are seven different voices in this book changing with each chapter. It even includes the point of view told by a dog. The constant switching of characters was a bit confusing - I found myself always having to remind myself who the “I” in the chapter was referring to. It made it very difficult for me to connect with the characters. And the chapters from the dog’s point of view got old very fast. Even though I found the subject matter interesting, the actual telling of the story ended up being disjointed and rather depressing. I am glad I read it since I had no idea that lace was actually outlawed at one time and I feel like I learned something new. But on the whole I found it a tad tedious and was ready to be done with it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    PopcornReads

    It has always seemed ironic to me that innocent, beautiful things like lace or tulips become so sought after that they are literally fought over by entire countries. So when I saw The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony, I knew I had to read it. Whether you’re a history buff or not, I suspect this novel will be a welcome change of pace from the novels that are usually featured this time of year. It’s a high-stakes adventure filled with danger, romance, and the ever-present misuse of power. Read the re It has always seemed ironic to me that innocent, beautiful things like lace or tulips become so sought after that they are literally fought over by entire countries. So when I saw The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony, I knew I had to read it. Whether you’re a history buff or not, I suspect this novel will be a welcome change of pace from the novels that are usually featured this time of year. It’s a high-stakes adventure filled with danger, romance, and the ever-present misuse of power. Read the rest of my review at http://popcornreads.com/?p=4733.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Valentina

    A fascinating look into a part of history we don’t usually see represented in fiction, this book will captivate any lover of historical fiction. The most exciting part of this book is the careful melding of multiple storylines. This is never an easy thing for an author to achieve and even less so when dealing with a period in time so far removed from our own. The author is very clever in handling the many plot lines, making them straight-forward enough so that they don’t knot with one another. I A fascinating look into a part of history we don’t usually see represented in fiction, this book will captivate any lover of historical fiction. The most exciting part of this book is the careful melding of multiple storylines. This is never an easy thing for an author to achieve and even less so when dealing with a period in time so far removed from our own. The author is very clever in handling the many plot lines, making them straight-forward enough so that they don’t knot with one another. I do wish some of the characters’ lives had been resolved a bit more than they were, however, because the author leaves one or two of them dangling. The writing is beautiful. It’s by turns lush and sparse, modeling after the lace one of the characters shapes with her bobbins. I do have to warn, though, about one of the storylines, which is told through a dog’s eyes who lives through abuse. As an absolute animal lover, this was almost impossible for me to read, so if you have a sensitivity towards reading about animal abuse, I’d caution you to pick out another book. I hate to tell people not to read a particular novel, but it really was a hard few chapters following the dog’s journey. Other than that, though, I do think this book is worth reading. If you’re interested, look for it in October.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Great story, especially if you want to learn about the ban on lace in the 1600's and the resulting black market. I enjoyed that the author told the story from the point of view of the various characters, with a short chapter from each point of view. She does a great job of painting her heroes and villains so the reader is on board cheering or sneering. I was disappointed in the ending. I felt it was too abrupt - almost as if the author wanted to finish and just wrapped it up to move on. It also Great story, especially if you want to learn about the ban on lace in the 1600's and the resulting black market. I enjoyed that the author told the story from the point of view of the various characters, with a short chapter from each point of view. She does a great job of painting her heroes and villains so the reader is on board cheering or sneering. I was disappointed in the ending. I felt it was too abrupt - almost as if the author wanted to finish and just wrapped it up to move on. It also is not a feel good book, be warned..

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB

    "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. "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

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kerstin

    This is another of Casey's suggestions. I really liked this book. It was full of complicated moral dilemmas. Decisions had huge consequences that affected everyone in the wake. Each of the 7 characters had a sympathetic back story, even the antagonist. Favorite quotes come from a bit player, Denis, a failed baker's son turned failed soldier, who chooses to return to his home village after finally deciding to exchange his gun for a loaf of bread. "Now I understood everything. The lieutenant had th This is another of Casey's suggestions. I really liked this book. It was full of complicated moral dilemmas. Decisions had huge consequences that affected everyone in the wake. Each of the 7 characters had a sympathetic back story, even the antagonist. Favorite quotes come from a bit player, Denis, a failed baker's son turned failed soldier, who chooses to return to his home village after finally deciding to exchange his gun for a loaf of bread. "Now I understood everything. The lieutenant had thought I had no imagination, but he was wrong. Now I could imagine anyone could be a smuggler, just as anyone could be a soldier. A person didn't have to be wicked to disregard the law, and a person didn't have to wear a uniform to shoot someone. If I had this man arrested and confiscated his lace, then I imagined I would become just like the lieutenant. The lieutenant who had kicked a crutch away from a cripple and left an old woman sprawled in the mud. If I returned with this man to the border, I could imagine exactly what would happen. The lace would end up adorning the lieutenant's own wrists. And how would that be right? That the cruel should be rewarded and the poor mocked?" pg. 276 "I had done the right thing: I had done the wrong thing. But the right thing seemed so wrong, and the wrong thing had felt so right. There was no wide chasm between yes and no, between right and wrong. There was just a wide, vast plain, and I did not know how I could live there, in the middle of it, without the absolute certainty offered by either side. It was so much easier when I had thought right and wrong were two separate countries. That there was some warning, some point when one crossed from one to the other." pg. 278 "But if the right thing meant obeying the lieutenant, and the wrong thing meant letting a good man go free, then I had done the right wrong thing. Given a choice between being a not-so-good soldier and a not-so-good baker, I would rather live with flour between my fingers than a gun between my hands. Then I could decide for myself; rye or barley. White or brown. An honest choice for honest pay. It would make life so much less confusing." pg. 278

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anne Hamilton

    A strange and compelling read. Each chapter is from a different point of view - including that of a dog! The thread (pun intended) that unites all the disparate stories in a unified whole is 'lace'. In fact, 'lace' almost seems to be a character in this book, as the repeating cycle of perspectives twist and turn so that - at last - the pattern is apparent. Is there any central character? Not really. Is there a hero? Yes. A villain? Yes. A romance? In parts. A thriller? In parts. A crime novel? In A strange and compelling read. Each chapter is from a different point of view - including that of a dog! The thread (pun intended) that unites all the disparate stories in a unified whole is 'lace'. In fact, 'lace' almost seems to be a character in this book, as the repeating cycle of perspectives twist and turn so that - at last - the pattern is apparent. Is there any central character? Not really. Is there a hero? Yes. A villain? Yes. A romance? In parts. A thriller? In parts. A crime novel? In parts. An historical adventure? In parts. Gothic horror? In parts. HEA? Well, certainly for the dog. Such a different, different story it almost defies description. The blurb cites a review saying it's the story of 'two women bound to the cruelty and beauty of forbidden perfection.' Hmmm. I'm glad they said that because, although the women, Katarina of Flanders and Lisette of France, were amazing characters (who never meet in the story), I have to say the ones I remember most are two men. The first is Alexandre Lefort, willing to sacrifice his honour to save the woman he loves as well as her father - the man who rescued him from beggary after his own father died of leprosy. The second is the border guard Denis Boulanger, a man who fails at his chance of freedom - and then has to choose between honour and conscience. Oh, and the dog, of course!

  13. 4 out of 5

    My Book Addiction and More MBA

    MY THOUGHTS: THE RUINS OF LACE by Iris Anthony is a complex and intriguing historical fiction set in 17th century France and Flanders. It is a complicated story of freedom,the fascination of lace,lace makers, the rise and fall of an empire,homosexuality in the 16-17th century in France, and cost to lace makers. “The Ruins of Lace” is a story written with vivid descriptions,detailing the intricate making of lace,the cost to the lace makers,and the lost of so much. It interweaves between the cast o MY THOUGHTS: THE RUINS OF LACE by Iris Anthony is a complex and intriguing historical fiction set in 17th century France and Flanders. It is a complicated story of freedom,the fascination of lace,lace makers, the rise and fall of an empire,homosexuality in the 16-17th century in France, and cost to lace makers. “The Ruins of Lace” is a story written with vivid descriptions,detailing the intricate making of lace,the cost to the lace makers,and the lost of so much. It interweaves between the cast of characters,each with their own story to tell and the tragedy that befalls them. So much destruction and lost due to lace and the people who so crave the contraband,with betrayal,greed,secrets,and the forbidden lace. An interesting story for anyone who enjoys 17th century France, lace making,and historical fiction. I found this story full of twists and turns as the characters maneuver through the intricate times of contraband lace and the people who would do anything for gain. Received for an honest review from the publisher. Details can be found at the author’s website,Sourcebooks,Inc, Sourcebooks Landmark and My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews. Rating: 4 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Mcarthur

    When I first began this book, I thought to be reading a simple, possibly frilly book about the back-alley lace trade in late 1600's France and Flanders. Imagine my surprise when the story is told from the alternating, first-person points of view of seven different players, one of whom is so improbable, I just did not know how it could possibly flow. But flow it did! From the almost blind, convent-bound lace-maker who will soon be turned out, to an evil gender-confused Count who believes contraban When I first began this book, I thought to be reading a simple, possibly frilly book about the back-alley lace trade in late 1600's France and Flanders. Imagine my surprise when the story is told from the alternating, first-person points of view of seven different players, one of whom is so improbable, I just did not know how it could possibly flow. But flow it did! From the almost blind, convent-bound lace-maker who will soon be turned out, to an evil gender-confused Count who believes contraband lace is his salvation, the son of a leper who must smuggle lace to save his family's legacy from said evil Count, and a dumb-as-a-box of rocks soldier honor-bound to find the hidden lace, it was an intricate and intriguing read. (I will not name the improbable player, as I want it to be a surprise to all who read this book.) This is one of the most satisfying stories I have read in some time. There was nothing frilly about this book, nothing fragile and demure. It was fast-paced, and held no punches. I highly recommend this book!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    Public library copy. Iris Anthony is a pen name. This author also writes under the name Siri Mitchell. I have read Mitchell's book Flirtation Walk. I chose The Ruins of Lace from the library shelf because it looked interesting. I find the subject of interest, and I like the multiple points of view, but I do not like the language used to tell the story. This is one book I'm tempted not to finish, but curiosity has me continuing. (Halfway through.) Because of the use of vulgar language I do not rec Public library copy. Iris Anthony is a pen name. This author also writes under the name Siri Mitchell. I have read Mitchell's book Flirtation Walk. I chose The Ruins of Lace from the library shelf because it looked interesting. I find the subject of interest, and I like the multiple points of view, but I do not like the language used to tell the story. This is one book I'm tempted not to finish, but curiosity has me continuing. (Halfway through.) Because of the use of vulgar language I do not recommend this book. It's not often, but it's enough to turn me off. The story can be told without using the words themselves. I am quite disappointed. I expected better. Finished. Writing the evil side of things from the mind(s) of those involved causes me to wonder how the writer knows to think in such a way. There are things in these points of view that I'd rather not know. Not because I am a better person, but because I don't need any help to think, speak, or behave wickedly.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I loved the backstory and historical tidbits in this novel. The author’s promise of a story, “like a length of lace itself, …woven from many strands that are twisted and crossed, first overlapping, then intertwining,” left me expecting something extraordinary. I think the book had lots of promise, but fell short. Anthony delivered, in that she created a marvelously twisting tale, and skillfully tied the various threads together over the course of her story. But the ending disappointed me, and I I loved the backstory and historical tidbits in this novel. The author’s promise of a story, “like a length of lace itself, …woven from many strands that are twisted and crossed, first overlapping, then intertwining,” left me expecting something extraordinary. I think the book had lots of promise, but fell short. Anthony delivered, in that she created a marvelously twisting tale, and skillfully tied the various threads together over the course of her story. But the ending disappointed me, and I had real problems with the character development. It seemed that each character encompassed a whole class of people of the time, and while the reader is given some intimate details, I never really felt that I knew the characters or that they seemed genuine. I was too often frustrated when their actions and perspectives were downright incredible, or at least incredibly stupid.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    So.Many. Narrators. Honestly, I usually quite like hearing the story from more than one first person narrator. But this one has so many narrators, I can't even be bothered to go back and count. And one of these narrators is a dog. Under some circumstances, that would be ok. However, this book doesn't really lend itself to whimsy. It's actually rather dark and depressing so the dog narrating issue just jars the reader. It's a distraction to the story line and really adds nothing you couldn't figu So.Many. Narrators. Honestly, I usually quite like hearing the story from more than one first person narrator. But this one has so many narrators, I can't even be bothered to go back and count. And one of these narrators is a dog. Under some circumstances, that would be ok. However, this book doesn't really lend itself to whimsy. It's actually rather dark and depressing so the dog narrating issue just jars the reader. It's a distraction to the story line and really adds nothing you couldn't figure out anyway. It's a shame the narrator issues get in the way of the story. It really could have been very interesting. It's a story I'm sure hasn't been told before, but there are so many issues with the narration, that it's probably not worth your time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heather C

    This novel was a very refreshing piece of historical fiction. The topic, the black market for lace in 17th century France, is one that I have not seen around before and was eager to read about. Anthony did not let me down and I was treated to quite the entertaining read. As you move through this book we alternate narrators – we have: a lacemaker, a family whose life is ruined by a careless mistake made to a piece of lace, a dog who is used to smuggle lace, a guard of the boarder who is supposed t This novel was a very refreshing piece of historical fiction. The topic, the black market for lace in 17th century France, is one that I have not seen around before and was eager to read about. Anthony did not let me down and I was treated to quite the entertaining read. As you move through this book we alternate narrators – we have: a lacemaker, a family whose life is ruined by a careless mistake made to a piece of lace, a dog who is used to smuggle lace, a guard of the boarder who is supposed to prevent lace smuggling, and a man who is desperate for lace (I think I hit them all…). Each of these characters lives show you a different part of the lace industry from the crafting, to the smuggling, to the purchasing. There also is enough history of why all the smuggling was happening to give the reader enough background to feel fully knowledgeable of what is happening. The story is fast paced with action of every page right from beginning to end. It reminded me of an American Prohibition time period novel the way everything was black market, dangerous, smuggled, and very lucrative or disastrous depending on which side you ended up on. The characters were captivating, both the good and the bad, and all had flaws – which was rather refreshing. I kept wondering how she would write a chapter from the dog’s perspective, and I thought it was pulled off rather well. She keeps it within the limited scope of what a dog might actually understand, not having the dog think like a human. He was probably my favorite character and must have been a challenge to write! My opinion of the ending has changed a little. When I first finished the book I thought that it was a little open ended and reminiscent of a “pick-your-own ending”. This frustrated me a little, but then I made up my own idea and was happy with my version of the ending. However, I just read a post on the author’s website where she tries to help clear up the ending with a clever scavenger hunt of pages from the book. Here is the link to that post [http://www.irisanthony.com/1/post/201...] so if you have finished the book and want to figure out what she intended you can. It helped me out. She will also be guest posting at Mod Podge Books on the 22nd discussing more about the ending. The authors note and extended discussion with the author about the history behind the book was phenomenal and I really appreciated learning more about it – it really brings the chapters from the dog perspective home. This book was received for review from the publisher - I was not compensated for my opinions and the above is my honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Who would have known that in the 17th c. a sheer piece of lace-delicate and intricately woven was preciously coveted, priceless and forbidden by law and the French king himself? The Ruins of Lace is a novel based on all the sacrifice, crimes, smuggling, corruption and the unimaginably wild extent that people went to obtain even the smallest piece of this craft. Written in the points of view of seven people whose lives enmeshed each others’ all in the pursuit of their quest for lace: Alexandre wo Who would have known that in the 17th c. a sheer piece of lace-delicate and intricately woven was preciously coveted, priceless and forbidden by law and the French king himself? The Ruins of Lace is a novel based on all the sacrifice, crimes, smuggling, corruption and the unimaginably wild extent that people went to obtain even the smallest piece of this craft. Written in the points of view of seven people whose lives enmeshed each others’ all in the pursuit of their quest for lace: Alexandre would need to embezzle it to save Lisette-who as a child innocently ruined a precious lace cuff from her now horrid kidnapper, the Count of Montreau. The despicable Count of Montreau, demands the lace as ransom as he also needs to ensure his inheritance. Katharina has been a lacemaker in a convent for over twenty five years. Blind and hunched she knows no other life but the lace that dances through her fingers. Being blind and of little use, she now risks being thrown to the streets into prostitution. Her sister, Heilwich needs money to get Katharine out of the convent before she meets her dreadful fate. Lace is what Heilwich needs to help smuggle out in order to earn that money. Denis Boulanger was once a baker, then patrol officer and now the king's soldier- his role is to stop the smugglers. And there is also Moncher, the hound used for the trafficking of the lace. All will somehow pass though a certain De Grote’s guile… Admittedly, it was a bit confusing at the beginning to read in all these different points of view- but the story was much too captivating to put down. Iris Anthony, did a fantastic job at fine-tuning the story in making the numerous characters have lives and paths that begged me to read on. I was particularly captivated by Katharine’s life and what it was like for this woman who knew nothing else about the world, but lace. How could she continue living this way- and she was blind?! Intricate as lace itself, this story unwinds through a series of events that lead to every character’s personal mission and quest to resolving an almost insurmountable feat. Mystery, murder, sacrifices and honor, The Ruins of Lace has opened up a whole new world of questions regarding this subject in itself. 17th c. Lace: forbidden, unattainable, priceless, beautiful and historical. Very enjoyable!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heather Book Savvy Babe

    3.5 of 5 Stars *I received this book for review at Book Savvy Babe Blog* The Ruins of Lace is a turn from what I generally read (romance), but this book piqued my interest and I had to give it a try. With a cast of divergent characters in various levels of social standing, all united by forbidden lace, Iris Anthony has weaved together an intricate and intelligent novel. There is so much to The Ruins of Lace that makes it a unique novel. The story is told from multiple viewpoints and characters who s 3.5 of 5 Stars *I received this book for review at Book Savvy Babe Blog* The Ruins of Lace is a turn from what I generally read (romance), but this book piqued my interest and I had to give it a try. With a cast of divergent characters in various levels of social standing, all united by forbidden lace, Iris Anthony has weaved together an intricate and intelligent novel. There is so much to The Ruins of Lace that makes it a unique novel. The story is told from multiple viewpoints and characters who seemingly have little to do with each other. The central theme is lace, a very special, high quality, much-coveted lace that has been forbidden in France. Certain people and characters will do just about anything to obtain the lucrative lace, and for some of the characters in this book, the lace is their downfall. Because of the multiple viewpoints and characters, the pacing is quite slow, especially in the beginning. The characters are slowly introduced and their connections to other characters is not clear. As the story progresses, threads begin to connect and the story pieces together. So, despite the slow nature, as the story came together, I found myself really enjoying the book. I appreciate how intricate this book is, and how the story parallels the lace that is central to the novel. This book is one that left me thinking. When I finished the last page, I was unsure how I felt about what I had just read. I enjoyed the story and how everything pieced together, but I felt that there were a few threads left open. I think that the author may have intended this type of ending to let readers draw their own conclusions, but I would have liked a bit more completeness. As I said, I am used to reading romance books, and I like my endings to have definite conclusions. However, I will say that overall, I was very pleased with this book. I like branching out from my go-to genre on occasion, and I was not disappointed with The Ruins of Lace. The Ruins of Lace is a distinctively unique novel that I would suggest for readers of historical or literary fiction.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Louis

    I read this book for a book club. The story is told from different first-person perspectives. Each of these people, and one dog, are affected by the ban on the importation of lace by King Louis XIII. The setting is the first half of the seventeenth century in France and Flanders. While this might seem a dull subject, one has to remember that banning lace meant that there was a black market and hence smuggling. How lace was smuggled will shock you. The dog's story is very difficult to read. The ab I read this book for a book club. The story is told from different first-person perspectives. Each of these people, and one dog, are affected by the ban on the importation of lace by King Louis XIII. The setting is the first half of the seventeenth century in France and Flanders. While this might seem a dull subject, one has to remember that banning lace meant that there was a black market and hence smuggling. How lace was smuggled will shock you. The dog's story is very difficult to read. The abuse is horrific. I give credit to the author for not sugar-coating how awful this abuse was. This also goes for the lacemakers, as well, who went blind and then were dumped when that happened. They often were victimized by men in the most horrible ways. I was a little ambivalent about the character of the Count. He is portrayed as having been forced to live as a girl for the 1st 7 years of his life by his mother. Now as an adult he engages in homosexual relations. But the earlier psychological damage committed by his mother and father have made his sexual life unfulfilling. He considers himself depraved. My ambivalence arises because as the only homosexual main character, he is the villain. In his case, is his homosexuality innate or the result of the sexual confusion caused by his earlier trauma? Of course I don't think that all homosexual characters should be portrayed as saints, so I am not making that claim. I understand as well that certain characters are going to be repulsed by his behavior so I also do not object to that in particular. I guess that my question is what is the author's viewpoint about this character's homosexuality. At least it makes for interesting discussion. I give this author credit for doing a great job intertwining the different stories and having them come together in a satisfying way. Even if I did not care for all of the outcomes or the unclear ending, I still think that this book is quite an achievement.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melodie

    In the seventeenth and eighteenth century, lace was a most precious commodity in France. Frequently made in the abbeys of the Netherlands, the stuff was smuggled into France by the most ingenious and cruel means. Dogs used to smuggle lace were used and abused in the most despicable of ways. Corpses were frequently used to smuggle the lace as well. The hands that created the lace belonged to children of poor families.Because the lace was s delicate and needed to be kept snow white, these childre In the seventeenth and eighteenth century, lace was a most precious commodity in France. Frequently made in the abbeys of the Netherlands, the stuff was smuggled into France by the most ingenious and cruel means. Dogs used to smuggle lace were used and abused in the most despicable of ways. Corpses were frequently used to smuggle the lace as well. The hands that created the lace belonged to children of poor families.Because the lace was s delicate and needed to be kept snow white, these children sat hunched over pillows in towers, in the dark, their room heated only by the heat generated by the animals housed below them. Their fingers became gnarled and deformed by arthritis, their spines became permanently bent over as time went by.The nuns that taught them to tat(the process of making the lace) were frequently cruel in their teaching methods. Once the lace makers went blind or were otherwise unable to complete their task, they were summarily dismissed, thrown out of the gate to be at the mercy of the public. More often than not, this meant being raped and thrown into prostitution. The Ruins of Lace tells this story using the voices of seven characters, six of whom are human.The story line is tragic and so sad. Like a seeing a train wreck in progress, the reader had to keep reading to see what would come next. I cannot honestly say that I enjoyed this book. I alternated between anger and revulsion through most of the book. But there is a moral thread that weaves throughout the story. That of self worth and worth in general. The reader is asked to define and at times challenge their view of worth.What makes something/someone worthy or unworthy. And I took away new knowledge of history.And that for me made the reading of this book worth it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    AliceinWonderland

    - A beautiful cover and a fascinating topic. - Although some readers have complained about the structure or the alternating perspectives, I found this aspect of the book worked. It fit with the overall arc of the narrative. - What didn't work for me was the lack of character depth. - I'm not sure it had anything to do with the number of characters; but likely more to do with the author's handling of her multiple characters. - For one, when you are writing in the 1st person, the author should lose th - A beautiful cover and a fascinating topic. - Although some readers have complained about the structure or the alternating perspectives, I found this aspect of the book worked. It fit with the overall arc of the narrative. - What didn't work for me was the lack of character depth. - I'm not sure it had anything to do with the number of characters; but likely more to do with the author's handling of her multiple characters. - For one, when you are writing in the 1st person, the author should lose their own voice and change it into that character's 1st person persona. In this book, (with the exception of a few minor occurrences), all of the characters sounded similar. However, this is not just a problem specific to this book; many well-known books suffer from this same problem. - But because of the lack of character depth, I found it difficult to understand or empathize with any of the characters. For instance, Katharina was just seemed guileless to the point of stupidity, Lisette's guilt starting to become irritating and Alexandre's intense sense for "honor" and retribution seemed rather foolish at times. - The ending by far, was the worst. Anti-climactic and along the lines of a cheesy action movie. - The author, to her credit, does write well, but overall this book was OK. For a better historical fiction read & great characterization, I would stick to Wolf Hall. (Then again, that might not be a fair comparison. Mantel has won the Booker twice.)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    My history was a little bit rusty. I had no idea that lace had been outlawed in France in the 1600s. The Ruins of Lace was a little bit of a history lesson for me. The one thing the book didn't really explain was WHY lace had been outlawed. A little bit of internet exploration gave me the answer. Bottom line, it had to do with only having nobility showing off their wealth and no one else. Google Sumtuary Laws for more explanations and other places where lace was outlawed, including the early Ame My history was a little bit rusty. I had no idea that lace had been outlawed in France in the 1600s. The Ruins of Lace was a little bit of a history lesson for me. The one thing the book didn't really explain was WHY lace had been outlawed. A little bit of internet exploration gave me the answer. Bottom line, it had to do with only having nobility showing off their wealth and no one else. Google Sumtuary Laws for more explanations and other places where lace was outlawed, including the early American Colonies. On to this particular book, The Ruins of Lace is told from many viewpoints, from the people wanting the lace, to the lacemaker, to the lace smugglers. At times I felt like there were too many viewpoints and storylines to keep track of, but it really did help give an overall picture of what was really going on at the time. My favorite character and viewpoint was the dog. I loved that idea of telling the story from the eyes of the lace smuggling dog. As a somewhat crafty person, I could really appreciate the craft of lacemaking and my heart really went out to the lacemakers. Their conditions as described in the book must have been madness inducing. However, reading the book also made me want to look into how to make Flemish Bobbin Lace. I really liked this story and I think it will appeal to a large audience. I'll definitely be recommending this book to the historical fiction fans and the needleworkers in my life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Taffy

    First line: "It had been two months now." Interesting book with eight different view points, including a smuggling dog. Lace is illegal and worth more now than ever. Used as bribery, smuggled into France and made by nuns, Flemish lace is precious. I really liked all the different points of view and how they came together in the end. I'm not sure I liked or understood the ending. But the journey was intriguing. I had a hard time putting the book (ereader) down. The book starts with a nun who is a l First line: "It had been two months now." Interesting book with eight different view points, including a smuggling dog. Lace is illegal and worth more now than ever. Used as bribery, smuggled into France and made by nuns, Flemish lace is precious. I really liked all the different points of view and how they came together in the end. I'm not sure I liked or understood the ending. But the journey was intriguing. I had a hard time putting the book (ereader) down. The book starts with a nun who is a lacemaker; her sister wants to buy her freedom; a soldier is charged with finding illegal lace but is an idiot; a desperate boy whose love is taken in exchange for lace; the count who needs the lace; the dog who carries the lace. And that's not all! The story is as intricate and woven and tight as the Flemish lace that has so many lives and dreams riding on it. An interesting time in history that I hadn't ever heard about. Very interesting! Rating: PG S: No; innuendo's about homosexuality, whores L: No V: Fights Liked: Learning some history from 1636 The Dog Disliked: How lace ruined everyone

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Prior to coming across The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony, I never had any idea that lace was once contraband anywhere – let alone in France! I still find myself wondering exactly why a king would care about something so frivolous. But, I digress. The story is told in first-person by several different characters. The reader always knows who’s talking. Each chapter is titled after the name of the speaker, and each speaker has a distinct voice. Plus, circumstances are different enough through most o Prior to coming across The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony, I never had any idea that lace was once contraband anywhere – let alone in France! I still find myself wondering exactly why a king would care about something so frivolous. But, I digress. The story is told in first-person by several different characters. The reader always knows who’s talking. Each chapter is titled after the name of the speaker, and each speaker has a distinct voice. Plus, circumstances are different enough through most of the story lines that it’s just that much easier to keep them straight. The hardest one for me to read was the dog’s perspective. Yes, the dog. Apparently, dogs were commonly used by lace smugglers, and their treatment was just atrocious! And, yes, the reader is made fully aware of just how atrocious it was for those poor animals! There are many threads that make up this story, and each has its own significance. They are all related, even if the speaker doesn’t meet some of the others featured in this book. The threads are expertly woven together, much like the lace for which so much is lost.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melisende

    Our story starts with two sisters – Katharina, who is a lacemaker at the Flemish abbey of Lendelmolen; the other, Heilwich, who is a housekeeper of sorts to a nearby priest. Both stories are presented in the first person narrative. As intricate as the pattern of the lace, the other voices are added to the story - Denis, a border guard whose job it is to seek out the smugglers; a dog used for smuggling; Lisette, a young girl who has fallen under the spell of lace; Alexandre, a young man with no fu Our story starts with two sisters – Katharina, who is a lacemaker at the Flemish abbey of Lendelmolen; the other, Heilwich, who is a housekeeper of sorts to a nearby priest. Both stories are presented in the first person narrative. As intricate as the pattern of the lace, the other voices are added to the story - Denis, a border guard whose job it is to seek out the smugglers; a dog used for smuggling; Lisette, a young girl who has fallen under the spell of lace; Alexandre, a young man with no future of his own who seeks redemption and honour; and a wily, scheming count who hopes to use this precious gift as a bribe to secure his own financial future. As one by one the characters meet and their stories merge, we are drawn along on the journey – will the prized lace be secured in time to prevent the dishonor of one – or will our young hero fail in his task. The reader will be held spellbound until the final chapters reveal all – and the pattern is complete. I read this in one sitting – it is not an overly long book, nor are the chapters drawn out. All is concise and the stories easy to follow.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Denise Mullins

    While a novel based on historic details outlining the gruesomely bizarre method of smuggling lace in 18th Century France represents a fascinating premise, Iris Anthony's handling of it was awkward and comical in all the wrong places. The seven alternating points of view should have added to the suspense and pacing, yet the poorly developed voices of the individuals (including a dog's) merely emphasized the clumsiness of interactions between characters. Besides a lame interspersing of a few Frenc While a novel based on historic details outlining the gruesomely bizarre method of smuggling lace in 18th Century France represents a fascinating premise, Iris Anthony's handling of it was awkward and comical in all the wrong places. The seven alternating points of view should have added to the suspense and pacing, yet the poorly developed voices of the individuals (including a dog's) merely emphasized the clumsiness of interactions between characters. Besides a lame interspersing of a few French phrases in dialogue (ostensibly to lend an air of authenticity) there were few examples of historic flavor, and the repeated mentioning of oxen and other animals defecating or urinating made this reader shake her head in confused amazement. This was compounded by outlandish subplots involving cross-dressing, dogs posing-and passing- as diseased humans, and a subterfuge to hide the gender of a baby in a house full of nobles and their staff. The corny melodramatic flourishes were more befitting a Mel Brooks parody but I doubt that even he could have made more than a B-level effort from this pile of "merde".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alysa H.

    Setting aside the question of whether this book is long enough to adequately develop 7 different POV characters, I was a bit puzzled by the consistently YA writing level/style, considering the varying ages of the 6 human characters (plus 1 dog), who range from young adult to 30something at least. I can appreciate the way that the different perspectives wove together -- like lace, as the author points out in a somewhat grandiose foreword. The subject matter is indeed interesting, though I'd have l Setting aside the question of whether this book is long enough to adequately develop 7 different POV characters, I was a bit puzzled by the consistently YA writing level/style, considering the varying ages of the 6 human characters (plus 1 dog), who range from young adult to 30something at least. I can appreciate the way that the different perspectives wove together -- like lace, as the author points out in a somewhat grandiose foreword. The subject matter is indeed interesting, though I'd have liked a lot more historical/background information than what I got here. My biggest issue actually turned out to be this: WHAT was with the "evil gay character" BS? Okay, one of your POV's is a dude that's kind of evil. But apparently that's because he was made to cross-dress as a child, and he hates women but wants to be one, and trans* equals gay, and that's why he's evil? No. Just, no. This book was overall okay, though I would give it 1 star if I were rating based purely on the random unnecessary homo- and transphobia.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    During the reign of King Louis XIII, lace was banned in France. The story of six people and one dog and the importance of lace in their lives during this time is told in alternating chapters beginning with Katharina. At 30 years of age Katharina is the best and oldest lacemaker in a convent. She is practically blind and sits hunched over. Her older sister wishes to buy her freedom but the head nun won't giver her up. When the nuns find out Katharina will be kicked out of the convent and fated to During the reign of King Louis XIII, lace was banned in France. The story of six people and one dog and the importance of lace in their lives during this time is told in alternating chapters beginning with Katharina. At 30 years of age Katharina is the best and oldest lacemaker in a convent. She is practically blind and sits hunched over. Her older sister wishes to buy her freedom but the head nun won't giver her up. When the nuns find out Katharina will be kicked out of the convent and fated to become a prostitute as all the past lacemakers have become. As a child, the Count stayed at Lisette's home. She snuck into his room to spy and found some beautiful lace that she soiled. Her father has to pay the Count back an absurb sum due to the increased value of the forbidden lace. Will lace be the ruin of these mostly humble characters or the salvation? I liked how the stories came together. I found myself eagerly awaiting the fate of each of the characters, even the dog.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.