With exquisite touch, H.A. Lamb brings a new warmth and depth to the story of Cinderella. While we are all very familiar with the traditional version of Cinderella (girl is in rags, girl rides in a pumpkin, hits the ball, and wins over the prince), you will be pleasantly surprised with this considerably altered version. H. A. Lamb’s novel Behind the Lace is an engaging, imaginative, and passionate read. I was captivated as I read the prologue. Paquette Le Clerc’s son, Charles is approached by the King whom is requesting a collection of children’s fairy tales. His rewriting of Cinderella is what we know today. What are the hidden family secrets and crimes, and why does Paqauette cry as she turns her back on her son? All of this is answered with the truth; the story of Aveline, the stepmother of Ella, second wife of abusive Lord Amis, and the forbidden love of Duke Richard Louis De Sorenson III.
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With the order of His majesty the King, Richard Louis De Sorenson II is to be executed on grounds of treason against Her Majesty the Queen. The tale of power and greed drives a family into hiding. It is by chance that young Loiuse comes to the rescue of Peasant Aveline who was tending her uncle’s Inn. While walking home that evening a viscous attack by a stagecoach driver occurs that leaves Aveline with severe physical and emotional scars. The handmade lace that conceals Aveline’s face becomes a symbol of the complexity of family relationships, love, hurt, and the power of grace to find the happily ever after story.
Absolutely heart wrenching, H.A. Lamb weaves an incomparable tale of love and sacrifice. The elements of young Ella’s sexual abuse are handled very tactfully. The writing is intensely emotional. For example, when Ella changes her name to Cinderella, it was the product of pure creative genius on the part of the author. I was completely on edge as Ella and her two sisters escaped from the ball. My favorite character was Olya, the fairy godmother. Yet, this will have the reader question, who is Olya really? Is she the fairy godmother of Ella or Aveline? I have always been the type of reader that often finds more interest in the characters, not plots. H.A. Lamb is able to provide most of the plot by the action of each character. The character development was extremely plausible, relevant to the story, and strong. I feel this is the area that the author is most gifted. My favorite scene was when Olya confronts Aveline by the fire. Olya states, “I see a lot of women like you. Some are burned; some won’t ever walk or talk…They don’t survive. Life is what you make of it. When you help others, you get a sense of satisfaction that no one can ever take away from you.” When I read Behind the Lace by H. A. Lamb, I was more than satisfied. Completely compelling, this novel is full of strong conflicts, tragedies, and joys. As for the ending, that will depend on what you define as happily ever after. I highly recommend Behind the Lace by H.A. Lamb.
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|Heather with her girls.|