Title: The Lace Makers of Glenmara
Author: Heather Barbieri
Release Date: June 23, 2009
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
“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.
She arrives 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: Bernie, alone and yearning for a new purpose since the death of her beloved husband, John; Aileen, plagued by doubt, helplessly watching her teenage daughter grow distant; Moira, caught in a cycle of abuse and denial, stubbornly refusing help from those closest to her; Oona, in remission from breast cancer, secretly harboring misgivings about her marriage; Colleen, the leader of the group, worried about her fisherman husband, missing at sea. And outside this newfound circle is local artist Sullivan Deane, an enigmatic man trying to overcome a tragedy of his own.
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 painterly skill. The circle also offers them something more—the strength to face their 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. . . .
I was looking forward to reading The Lace Makers of Glenmara because I thought it sounded like a great story about a person finding themselves, and I do quite enjoy books about Ireland. Additionally, I was really looking forward to learning about the process of lacemaking, since I know next to nothing about it.
I thought Kate was a great character. She was really lost at the beginning of The Lace Makers of Glenmara – her boyfriend had left her, her mother had passed away, and her fashion line had failed miserably. She traveled to Ireland in order to get away from it all, to figure out what she wanted from life. I liked how she got so involved in the community in Glenmara and how she really cared about the ladies she was working with. She wanted to make a difference in their lives. It shows that Kate really had a huge heart and was a sincere, genuine person.
There were a lot of stories told in The Lace Makers of Glenmara; each of the women was affected in some way by Kate’s presence. While it kept the story interesting, there was almost too much going on, too many characters to keep track of. As a result, the reader didn’t really get to know any of the women in depth – it was an analysis that was very much on the surface.
Additionally, the love story between Sullivan and Kate seemed very rushed, almost as though he was inserted into the story because a love interest is expected in a book like this. The reader barely got to know him at all, and it was difficult to believe they fell so deeply in love so quickly, especially with his reputation.
While The Lace Makers of Glenmara was an enjoyable, easy book to read, the entire novel left me wanting more. I wish there had been more character development, more plot development, and more information about how lace is made. However, I thought this was a good effort on the author’s part, and will definitely look out for her future novels.