Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Construction Zone & Review: The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

As you might have noticed, there is a big of "blog" reconstruction going on here lately. I'm getting some help to spruce things up, and move things about. Admittedly, I struggle with this area of blogging, so I'm working with someone to help me do a little update. My apologies if you see things shift around a bit over the next week or so!

Before I left for Hawaii, I pulled out a copy of The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri that I had kicking around on my shelf for a little bit. The school year had just ended, I had been struggling with on and off headaches for days, and finally had a reprieve. Out of curiosity I pulled out this novel and started it to see what it was about, and before I knew it I had finished it. Yes, it was a fast read for me, but really it grabbed my attention and didn't let it go!

Synopsis: The basic premise for this story is centered around young Kate Robinson who after being horribly wounded in love, took off for Ireland to visit the home country of her forefathers. While there, she landed in the small village of Glenmara, where she was taken in by widow, Bernie. While there, Kate was not only taken in by Bernie, but also by her entire community of lace makers. The women taught Kate the basics behind lace making, and while the women sewed, they revealed more about their varied home lives, and deep needs of their families came through. The journey of each lady in the lace making group, as well as Kate, found voice in this quick moving story. For some, they found ways of strengthening their marriages, others, in leaving troubled relationships, and in several cases, new love was found and encouraged. Regardless of the direction of their lives, progress and strength seemed to be realized from the friendships forged in the lace making.

Review: While the story sounds very familiar, like other tales of quilt makers, cooks, or seamstresses wherein a group of women teach a younger novice about a craft and life, there was something fresh and comforting about this story. Kate was a strange contradiction of weaknesses and strengths that I think might be a bit more true to real women than in previous stories of this nature. Although she sometimes shocked me with her openness to emotion, I realized that Kate represented a different type of woman who doesn't need dramatics to show her pain or to grow. It was an interesting idea, to see a woman in pain, but find strength from it in less obvious ways.

Overall, I found The Lace Makers of Glenmara to be this delightful "Quiet Man" meets "American Quilt" that had me charmed from the opening page. The writing was engaging, the characters interesting, and the story endearing. There is romance, young love, later love, family love, painful goodbyes, and beautiful renewals in this story. Overall, it was a different kind of life story than I have read in awhile, and I was thoroughly charmed by it from the beginning.

*FTC Disclosure: This review was written from a book won from LibraryThing's Eary Reviewer program. No payment has been issued for a written review, nor money exchanged for services.

This review counts as my 3rd in the TBR Challenge.


  1. I really liked this book. A fast read but also I thought it was lovely. I only wished there was more to read when it ended.

  2. This sounds like something I would like, and also my mom and aunts! I will have to check it out. I also love your blog's new look!

  3. I love the new look! We miss you over here. Alice says kitty all the time.

  4. I've heard of this one elsewhere. I think I'll wait until I'm in the right mood--quiet and thoughtful. Right now I seem to crave action and thrills, for some reason.

    You are invited to add a link to your review to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon
    ( http://www.semicolonblog.com ). The Saturday Review happens every week, and it's a great place to find links to other bloggers' reviews.

  5. Mary --I'm glad I wasn't the only one to enjoy it so much!

    Gretchen & Sherry--This really is a great book. I hope you give it a chance and can read it!

    Sarah--Thanks. It finally worked out, right? :) I don't miss getting up crazy early every day, but I do miss chatting it up! Alice will be talking in full sentences before I know it.