Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Lace Makers of Glenmara - Heather Barbieri

Summary:  "You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her -- "all it takes is a new thread."  Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling twenty-six-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself. 
Soon she arrive on the west coast, in the seaside hamlet of Glenmara.  In this charming, fading Gaelic village, Kate quickly develops a bond with members of the local lace making society.

...Under Glenmara's spell, Kate finds the inspiration that has eluded her, and soon she and the lace makers are creating a line of exquisite lingerie.  In their skilled hands, flowers, Celtic dragons, nymphs, fish, saints, kings and queens come to life, rendered with almost painterly skill.  The circle also offers them something more -- the strength to face long-denied desires and fears.  But not everyone welcomes Kate, and a series of unexpected events threatens to unravel everything the women have worked so hard for... (Summary from book - Image from )
My Review: The Lace Makers of Glenmara takes place in the brilliantly lush and mystical country of Ireland. I fell in love with the Irish countryside quickly and the ladies of Glenmara’s lace-making circle weren’t far behind. The further I read, the more connected I felt with each woman and her experiences: Bernie, recently widowed and lonely; Oona, struggling with the aftermath of a devastating surgery; Colleen, waiting for her husband who has been out on the sea far too long; Moira, unwilling to leave an abusive relationship; and even the uniformly unpleasant Aileen, who had her own list of demons. These women were complicated and imperfect -- they were real.

And then there was Kate -- young, desperate, and devastated by the betrayal of the man she loved who finds comfort in Ireland and in the lace makers of Glenmara. She wasn’t in town very long before she stumbled into the path (and bed) of Sullivan Dean, a handsome local artist. I was a disappointed that Kate wasn’t more cautious in pursuing Sullivan – given her resolution to swear off men of his ilk – and thought they could have taken more time getting to know each other before becoming intimate. While most of the lace makers (and obviously, Sullivan) were delighted to have a visitor in town, Kate’s presence and her various activities draw the ire of Father Byrne, Glenmara’s xenophobic and nosy local preacher. He’s a creep, but it was fun to watch him get riled up.

Overall, I appreciated Kate’s back story, her relationship with Sullivan, and her interactions with Father Byrne, but I was infinitely more absorbed in the lace maker's lives. I enjoyed the Irish setting and the women of Glenmara, and felt that they were what made this book interesting. I would probably recommend this as a good one time read – the kind you borrow, but don’t keep.

My Rating: 3.75 Stars

For the sensitive reader: Some sex, though usually the shut-the-door-wake-up-the-next-morning variety. Some fairly liberal use of Irish words that I can only assume are comparative to American curse words(eg. feck, shite, Jay-sus). 

Sum it up:  A somewhat enchanting tale of love, loss, and lace.

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