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Topic: The Lacemakers by Janine Montupet

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Subject: The Lacemakers by Janine Montupet
Date Posted: 10/26/2009 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I'm reading this book now and I'm becoming more and more intrigued by lacemaking. Set in the 17th century village of Alencon, the lacemakers of the city are struggling to survive because the king has outlawed the making of their lace; Alencon lace. He only wants a new style of lace made, Pointe de France, but the villagers don't know how to make it and they are resentful of the people brought in to teach them and outraged over the loss of their income and a trade that some of the families have done for generations. The story follows the daughter, Gilonne, of a lacemaker as she grows and becomes skilled in the trade herself. Reading about what these girls went through as young apprentices is heartbreaking! At 5 and 6 years old they were sometimes tied to a chair and forced to work 18 hours a day instead of running and playing as children of that age do now. Sad!

The author has included footnotes here and there and bits about what certain nobles were doing and wearing at this time and now I'm dying to know how much of this book is based in truth.

Has anyone read this? Know anything about the lacemaking in France during this time?

Subject: lace
Date Posted: 10/26/2009 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/11/2009
Posts: 5
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So glad you said something about this book, i've been intrigued by it but haven't read it yet. i saw a few bad reviews so i put it on my later list....

but the way you describe it you just piqued by interest again....

with the footnotes about the history i'm sure alot of the lace technique is accurate, have you ever seen pictures of women doing crewel work, that alone looks very hard and complicated.  i can't imagine how hard lace work had to be...

you know when women want to impress someone about they're wedding dress, they always say the the lace was made by blind nuns in france or something?

not exactly sure what that means? whether it was making the lace in poor conditions that made them blind or what!!!

but now i'm going to have to read the book and do a little research on top of it.

thanks for the info.....

mel

 

 

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I finished it and I really, really enjoyed it. I only saw two reviews for it at Amazon that were both really good and I agree totally with them. ;-)


My only complaint would be the typical romace aspect of it. Beautiful, poor, orphan girl finds out she's really from a noble family, that kind of thing, but it didn't detract from the story for me at all and I am not a fan of much romance. It's so much more than a romance novel!


It gave a lot of information about lacemaking, the plight of the poor, the disparity between the poor and the nobles, and a lot of fascinating info about the persecution of the Protestants that was occuring during this period. From the research I've done, this book is pretty factual and tells a good story too.

The lacemakers really did go blind at an alarming rate! That actually factors into this book. The lacemakers worked 16 to 18 hour days doing intricate needlework in poorly lit rooms; no wonder they went blind!

I would give it five stars and wholeheartedly recommend it to all of you!

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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This book sounds like something I'm up for--thanks for sharing.


I wore my mother's wedding dress when I got married (the first time ), and she made a huge deal about the Alencon lace it is trimmed with ---- so I did some research then, and learned a little bit about the different types of lace, where each is from, how each is unique and made---it's a lost art, with all of our machine-made trims now, but the Alencon style is very very pretty.  I'm putting this on my Wl!

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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OK, so I tried to WL it, but it's not recognized in the PBS system--not by Title, Author, ISBN # or any combination of the above.  What does one do next??? (short of buying it, which is tempting....)

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 10:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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I found it in the system using ISBN 0345363531.

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 10:22 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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I found it too, and put it on my wishlist.  Not surprising.  Valli even drops a hint that a book is good, and I'm off ordering it or wishlisting it.  I blame Valli for my chronic low/no credit problem.

Date Posted: 10/30/2009 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Thanks, Erika--for some reason the listing I found of it on Amazon did not use that ISBN, but it does work, I'm WL-er #3!

Date Posted: 11/15/2009 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Oh Valli I am so loving this book!  Thanks so much!!

Date Posted: 11/16/2009 10:17 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Letty - Glad you're liking it as well.  I believe when I put my name on the WL, I was no. 2. 

Date Posted: 11/16/2009 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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...and Letty has just kindly offered to forward it on to me after she is finished with it (I've accepted, duh! Thanks, Letty!)....I'm happy to do the same......

Date Posted: 11/16/2009 4:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Letty, I'm glad you are enjoying it! And, it's great that you are passing it on to Colleen!

This copy is an unpostable, but only because it's old and the cover is a bit tattered, so it's a great one to be passed around and shared. Just slap some more tape on that cover, Letty!

Colleen, I just saw your post about the Alencon lace on your wedding dress. Even if you get rid of the dress one day, you should snip the lace off and save it. Hey, that's what the nobles did, why shouldn't you?! ;-) I looked at lots of pictures of the lace online, but I wish I could actually see some in person. It looks to be so beautiful.

Date Posted: 11/17/2009 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Valli,  I did just as you said with the tape the cover was fragile but as I told Colleen it's not postabe but readable.

Colleen, If I can I'll finish today,  I've had a bit of a stomach bug yesterday and I'm still not feeling great, but I will get it to you as soon as I can.



Last Edited on: 11/17/09 8:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/17/2009 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Great, Letty! I think it will stand up for more readings with the cover taped now. The book itself is actually in good shape, it's just that darn cover.

Hey, Letty! Are you going to re-use my genius wrapping to mail the book to Colleen??? LOL!!! :-D If I were smart, I would have included the bill in that envelope. LOL!!!

Date Posted: 11/17/2009 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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*G*  Just what I need another bill!!  But when you mail out so many books I am all for creative wrapping.



Last Edited on: 11/17/09 7:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/18/2009 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Valli--if I could ever figure out how to post pics, I would go and take a pic of the bodice and post it to you----but alas, I am a techno-dinosaur. My avatar is through the kind auspices of my dear hubby--it and pics are beyond me. But--it's gorgeous, Alencon lace, and very distinctive, once you see it you get the hype.