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The Ruins of Lace    by Iris Anthony order for
Ruins of Lace
by Iris Anthony
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Crowley

The Ruins of Lace is set in France during the reign of King Louis XIII. Lace has become a precious, but dangerous commodity. Due to smuggling from Spain and Flanders, who are at war with France, King Louis has forbidden the possession of lace. Anyone found with lace, faces being accused of treason. Yet, lace continues to trickle in from various smugglers. The novel is an elegantly woven tale of the smuggling of lace into France.

Katharina Martens has spent most of her life at Lendelmolen Abbey making lace. But as her eyes begin to fail, her sister Heilwich struggles to come up with the money to pay for Katharina's release before she is cruelly tossed out of the abbey. Heilwich slowly begins to unveil the evils associated with smuggling lace in seventeenth-century France. Grave robbing and murder are the past-times of those who create a market for forbidden lace.

The story of Lisette and Alexandre Lefort is closely interwoven with Katharina's. When the much hated Count of Montreau arrives and threatens the family with blackmail, he offers silence in exchange for lace. When Lisette offers herself as a hostage to save her father from being hanged as a traitor, Alexandre sets off on a dangerous quest for the forbidden lace the Count of Montreau desires.

The Count of Montreau struggles with his own demons. His future as the heir of Eronville is uncertain now that his stepmother is pregnant. If she delivers a son, his father plans to disinherit him. However, the count ruthlessly plots against his father and stepmother using Alexandre and Lisette as pawns in his cruel game.

The Ruins of Lace is an elegantly crafted story of the extremes to which those who covet lace are willing to go. Iris Anthony spares no details in this tale of a precious but forbidden commodity. Readers will marvel at how a simple piece of lace could destroy so many lives. This is a unique novel on a topic few authors have explored. Readers who love historical novels set in France will consider it essential reading material.

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