Saturday, June 1, 2013

Review: The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony

I have been wanting to read The Ruins of Lace for months, since I read an except months before it was released.  I knew it would be right up my alley because of the time period (1600s) and the location (France, anyone??).  Here is the description from the back of the book:
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 an impossible length of it.  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 dreadful fate awaits.

So that is sort of kind of what this is about.  It really follows a whole slew of characters, who are all linked by this lace, by one smuggling attempt for lace.  Flemish silk is illegal in France, so the lace trade is risky.  I am now super, super into this silk trade business.  I learned about silk smuggling in passing while in college, but never in detail.  And now I really want to read up on it.

My favorite narrator/character was, of course, the dog.  He was awesome, and so wise.  And I loved how Anthony was able to portray him so well.  It really was like I was inside of a dog's head listening to it's thoughts (if you are like me and hope that doggies have intelligent thoughts going on up there).  Here is my favorite quote from the book, which was narrated by the dog:

Page 26: "If only he knew.  If only people could talk".

How awesome is that line??

So I loved seeing how so many different people from different backgrounds were affected by the silk trade.  While I enjoyed reading about all these different people, the only character I truly connected with was the dog, and also to an extent Katharina.  I felt a little bit disconnected from the other characters, but I still really enjoyed the book and recommend it.

I can't wait to do more reading on this illegal silk trade!

Title: The Ruins of Lace
Author: Iris Anthony
Date of Publication: 2012
Number of Pages: 310
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Copy

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