Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Needlework Fiction--The Lacemakers of Glenmara
The Lacemakers of Glenmara Heather Barbieri (2009)
***** 5/5 stars Check out GoodReads for more reviews of this book.
This book had me laughing out loud and shedding tears, even though I was sitting in the middle seat of a plane as I read. I loved it. The dialog was especially good--some of the best I've ever read.
The story, about an aspiring fashion designer who goes to Ireland on a trip she was supposed to take with her mother who recently passed, is sad and wonderful. During her travels, she meets a group of middle-aged lace makers in a dying Irish town and together they transform each other's lives. I hope it will be made into a movie, because the friendship of the women, the beauty of the Irish landscape, and the tension in the lace would be fully realized on the big screen.
Barbieri is a short-story writer and her first chapters use short story techniques to set mood. Her short sentences composed of descriptive phrases were particularly good in depicting the mind set of someone who had just lost her mother and been left by her fiancé. It made for difficult reading, but as the story progressed, the book was much smoother.
I give this book 5 stars not for the touching story, but for the beauty of the dialog and the light touch the author gives to a sad, funny and ultimately hopeful story.
Resources about the lace featured in this novel.
A Renascence of the Art of the Irish Lace-Making is a pdf of a book originally published in 1888. Chock full of beautiful photographs of Irish Lace and descriptions of lace types, it helps
The website for the Irish Lace Museum is slow to upload, but the photos are breathtaking. Specializing in antique Irish lace from the last half of the 19th-century, it may be worth a stop if you visit Northern Ireland