Aspiring fashion designer Kate Robinson is reeling from the betrayal of her boyfriend, the rejections of her designs, and the early death of her beloved mother. Instead of staying with her memories, she goes to Ireland, the land her family fled many years ago. She’s lost, grieving and drenched when she stumbles into Glenmara, an impoverished seaside village. A bus isn’t coming until the next week, and she stays with a lonely widow who’s a member of the lace makers guild. Kate meets the rest of the guild members. They have troubles and joys, including an abusive husband, a rebellious daughter and worries about a fisherman husband. Above all, they’re worried abut financial survival.
The women teach Kate how to make lace, and she’s inspired to create a line of lingerie with their hand-sewn lace. She stays in Glenmara to help and to learn from the women. She becomes involved with a local artist struggling to overcome his own grief and guilt. Throughout the book, all their lives change, including the village priest, who vehemently objects to change and the lacy lingerie.
THE LACE MAKERS OF GLANMARA is a lovely read. It has a fairy tale quality, though the troubles and passions and joys feel real. I cried five or six times reading it, but the end left me smiling. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely read Barbieri’s next book.