THE LACEMAKER by Janine Montupet


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This historical, set in the town of Alencon, France, circa 1670, comes from the pen of a French lace expert and was a best-seller in the author's homeland. Heroine Gilonne Perdriel is the illegitimate daughter of an errant chevalier, but still was born with a caul, and thus was meant for special things. Like her mother and grandmother before her, she goes into the lace trade at the tender age of five, just as Louis XIV begins placing strict regulations on the lucrative lace industry and harassing French Protestants. After a long apprenticeship, Gilonne is rescued from the workshop when her father's mother--the stalwart Lady Bertrade--takes her into her household at a ramshackle manor house called Grand Coeur. There, she meets Ogler de Beaumesnil, an erstwhile falconer who's made his fortune trading for pelts in New France, returning home accompanied by a number of Huron Indians. But when Gilonne hears that he's been slain, she marries the Huguenot lace-manufacturer, Helye Morel d'Arthur, only to see him imprisoned and then killed for his faith. Gilonne perseveres--starting a lace company of her own; finally learning that her first love, Ogler, is alive after all, and yearning to make her his wife. A surprisingly prim historical but charming nonetheless, thanks to a teeming cast of eccentric characters and happy injections of wry French humor.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1988
Publisher: Atheneum