by: Iris Anthony
publish date: October 2, 2012
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.
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.