Lady Elisabeth Lawson is a lovely, wealthy young noblewoman betrothed to an equally wealthy young gentleman, an advantageous match dictated by her father. Despite her myriad misgivings, Elisabeth is willing to obey her father and give the marriage her best effort, but plans begin to go awry in the unrest surrounding the beginnings of the American Revolution. Soon Elisabeth finds herself abandoned by her Tory father and fiancé and accused of being a spy. She is forced to rely on the aid of patriot Noble Rynallt, whose character lives up to his name.
But she is determined to make her own way, adopting the name Liberty as she plies the only trade she knows, the lacemaking she learned at her mother’s knee. Noble admires Liberty, her pluck, courage, and beauty. As political tensions and rumblings of war intensify, the couple must decide if infatuation can turn into love, and if they are willing to risk everything to be fully together.
This post contains affiliate links. Read more about that here. This book was provided to me by Revell in exchange for an honest review.
Let me start by saying that Laura Frantz is kind of a wild card for me. I read her first book a long time ago and didn’t care for it, but then more recently I tried again with a newer novel and loved it. Given that more recent experience and the gorgeous cover on this one, I decided to give The Lacemaker a try and I’m so glad I did!
The story is set against the backdrop of the burgeoning American Revolution, and I thought the author did a great job of weaving relevant politics and events into the storyline in a way that is far from boring. An interesting thing that she did was having a Elisabeth assume a different name in the middle of the book, especially a name that has symbolic significance on several levels. It went well with the symbolism attached to Noble’s name as well.
I also liked how Noble’s Welsh heritage entered into the story, mostly through language and food. Being introduced to his plantation and the people on it felt like walking into a different world because of the large role his heritage plays in his life. At the same time, he thoroughly embraces being an American and fighting for independence. It’s a cool reminder that America is a melting pot of peoples.
The writing in The Lacemaker is very smooth and readable, with many lovely turns of phrase. One of my favorite paragraphs is about how she took her life and the people in it for granted before her circumstances changed. I love the line about the ‘scattering of crumbs’ at the end of the passage:
‘How idle she had once been. How at ease. While those around her had callused their hands and catered to her every whim, she’d given it little thought, simply dropping a polite if rote thank-you like a scattering of crumbs.’
Another thing I liked is that Elisabeth/Liberty makes good choices. Have you ever read a book where the hero or heroine decides to do things based on noble emotions without taking time to think, pray, or consider? While this leads to plenty of interesting drama it can also be frustrating for the reader. I feel like it is a testament to Laura Frantz’s skill as a story writer that she was able to create a character who made wise, thoughtful decisions without sacrificing conflict in the least. Just like in real life, there are plenty of things that can go wrong even when we do our best to make good decisions, and plenty of tragic things happen to Liberty and Noble to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.