The mad passion for forbidden lace has infiltrated France, pulling soldier and courtier alike into its web. For those who want the best, Flemish lace is the only choice, an exquisite perfection of thread and air. For those who want something they don’t have, Flemish lace can buy almost anything—or anyone.

For Lisette, lace begins her downfall, and the only way to atone for her sins is to outwit the noble who now demands an impossible length. To fail means certain destruction. But for Katharina, lace is her salvation. It is who she is; it is what she does. If she cannot make this stunning tempest of threads, a dreaded fate awaits.

The most lucrative contraband in Europe, with its intricate patterns and ephemeral hope, threatens to cost them everything. Lace may be the deliverance for which they all pray…or it may bring the ruin and imprisonment they all fear.

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The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony, a Novel of France, Freedom, and Forbidden Romance

The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony

For those who want something they don't have, Flemish lace can buy almost anything—or anyone.

  What Booksellers Are Saying

"Desperation and dire straights, hard choices between compassion and immorality, between propriety and legality, and the meanness of such a world are well written and sharp enough to make the reader squirm as Anthony unfolds the lengths of her narrative. Well done. This story is a treasure that will doubtless call the hand to pull it from the shelf to read, again." —Mark Lehnertz, store manager, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

“I loved it…lovely historical fiction.”—Suzy Takacs, The Book Cellar, Chicago IL

"Iris Anthony has managed to create a story that is atmospheric & driven at the same time... this book is every reason to go to bed early at night and every reason NOT to sleep once you get there."—Shawna Elder, Iowa Book, Iowa City, IA 

Perfect reading for any book club. Download these free resources, including: ideas for your bookclub meeting, discussion questions, a map of France, and a conversation with the author. 

Ruins of Lace Book Club Kit
Book Club IdeasDiscussion QuestionsAuthor InterviewMap of France

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"This book is every reason to go to bed early at night and every reason NOT to sleep once you get there."

  Interview with Iris Anthony

Sourcebooks Landmark: Lace smuggling? It doesn’t seem quite right to put those two words together.

Iris Anthony: And that’s exactly where this book started. I ran across a reference to lace smuggling as I was doing research on costuming for a different novel back in 2002. At that point, the idea of lace and the concept of smuggling were so disparate that it was hard to place them side-by-side. But they kept niggling at me. And finally, the thought of putting two such unexpected things together proved too great a temptation. I had to write about it.

SL: The novel is set during an era in France when lace was forbidden. Can you talk about that?

IA: Sure. Louis XIII issued five edicts that placed prohibitions and restrictions on clothing, and on April 3, 1636, he forbid the wearing of lace altogether. That’s the edict which provided for confiscation, fines, and banishment from the kingdom. Sumptuary edicts were enacted across Europe during this time period. The reasons were several. In France’s case, money was being lost across the border through lace purchases in Flanders and Italy at a time when the King desperately needed money to fill his treasury due to expenses from wars and other pet projects. It was hoped that forbidding the wearing of lace would keep all that money in France and, therefore, available to the King. Download the full conversation here.

Iris Anthony, author of Ruins of Lace

If you would like more information about our book clubs, please contact Valerie Pierce.

978-1-4022-6803-8 • Trade Paper • Historical Fiction


Author Iris Anthony discusses the creative process and the meanings in her new book, The Ruins of Lace.

“These simple choices, compounded by a myriad of threads, leads to an unimaginable consequence.” 

For media inquiries or review requests please contact Beth Pehlke.