If you take one thing away from Heather Barbieri’s The Lace Makers of Glenmara, remember this: “You can always start again; all it takes is a new thread.” Kate Robinson grew up hearing this advice from her mother, which was drilled into her head during sewing lessons. Like her mother, Kate possesses a gift with a needle and thread, and their creative passion formed an impenetrable bond between them. But after a series of emotional blows leave Kate gasping for air, she discovers that her mother’s advice serves a much bigger purpose than a simple sewing lesson.
Overwhelmed and exhausted, Kate escapes her heartbreak and struggling fashion career with a trip to her ancestral home of Ireland. She stumbles upon the quaint coastal village of Glenmara and befriends a group of local lace makers. As Kate learns the secrets of their traditional craft, she finds the inspiration that has eluded her for so long—and soon the women are working together to create a line of exquisite lingerie. But not everyone is enamored with these new ideas. Kate’s presence in Glenmara has sparked controversy, and the women must summon the courage to face opposition and confront their own personal troubles. As they work together, the lace makers gain the determination to achieve their own goals and face their long-standing demons.
Barbieri found inspiration for this, her second novel, on a trip to the Irish coast and a New York Times article about Polish lace makers. Despite a fairly predictable plot, she has created an interesting story using exceptional characters and the dynamic backdrop of Glenmara, a traditional town trying to balance old world values with modern practices. Barbieri weaves together stories on life, love, friendship and family to create a multifaceted novel, where personal histories define her characters and influence their decisions.
In her affinity for literary patchwork, Barbieri has created an entertaining novel by blending a thoughtful story with a light read, perfect for this summer’s vacation.