Even though I went to graduate school in French history, I had never heard of the lace smuggling trade in seventeenth-century France. For this reason, I picked up The Ruins of Lace: A Novel of France, Freedom, and Forbidden Lace.
Based on extensive research, Iris Anthony spins an intricate dark historical drama in The Ruins of Lace. Anthony weaves together an impressive number of story lines with the beauty and precision of hand-woven lace, including a heart-wrenching tale of a lace smuggling dog.
Anthony manages to do something which many historical fiction writers often fail to do. She writes about the past without romanticizing it. Anthony’s characters dance on the fine line between ruin and unimaginable riches as they navigate the politics, corruption, and cruel hardships of life in seventeenth-century France.
Fast-paced and compelling, The Ruins of Lace pulls the reader in from the first page. And, concern about the eventual fate of the characters keeps you reading to the last.