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Iron Lace

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Overview

When Aurore Gerritsen watched her lover kill her father, it was just one act of violence in a long chain of dramatic events.

Years later, behind the iron lace gates of wealthy New Orleans, beneath the veneer of her society name, linger secrets that Aurore Gerritsen has hidden for a lifetime, and truths that threaten to change forever the lives of her unsuspecting family. Now, as Aurore faces her own mortality, she needs to reveal those secrets ...

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Iron Lace

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Overview

When Aurore Gerritsen watched her lover kill her father, it was just one act of violence in a long chain of dramatic events.

Years later, behind the iron lace gates of wealthy New Orleans, beneath the veneer of her society name, linger secrets that Aurore Gerritsen has hidden for a lifetime, and truths that threaten to change forever the lives of her unsuspecting family. Now, as Aurore faces her own mortality, she needs to reveal those secrets that have haunted her for so many years.

Aurore seeks out Phillip Benedict and asks him to tell her story. He's intrigued, but wonders why the matriarch of a prominent white family would choose to confess her sins to an outspoken black journalist.

Finally Phillip agrees, but though he thinks he's ready for anything she might say, the truth is that nothing can prepare him for the impact of Aurore's shocking revelations.

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Editorial Reviews

Karen Harper
Richly textured and deeply moving, Iron Lace is a break-your-heart love story in the grand tradition.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Named for the trademark elaborate cast-iron grillwork of many New Orleans homes, Iron Lace is more aptly suited to describe the protagonists' lives in Richards's (Bayou Midnight) first title for Mira. Globe-girdling African American journalist Phillip Benedict is leery when he's asked by Aurore Gerritsen, an elderly white socialite to ghost her autobiography. She doesn't intend to publish it so Phillip asks the natural question: Why? "When we've finished, you'll have your answer," is Aurore's answer. As the story slowly unfolds (take a deep breath here), Phillip learns that his great-grandmother, Marcelite Cantrelle, had once been Aurore's father's mistress, and that Phillip's mother, Nicolette, is Aurore's daughter from a love affair with Raphael Cantrelle, Marcelite's half-caste son. (Whew!) Unwilling to raise a child of mixed blood in rigid New Orleans society, Aurore had given Raphael custody of Nicolette. Now, after nearly 50 years, Aurore is trying to right a wrong. This portrait of racism from 1919 to the mid-1960s is intricate, seductive and a darned good read. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778328254
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 492
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Emilie Richards’s many novels feature complex characterizations and in-depth explorations of social issues, a result of her training and experience as a family counselor, which contribute to her fascination with relationships of all kinds. Emilie, a mother of four, lives with her husband in northern Virginia, where she is currently working on her next novel for MIRA Books.

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Read an Excerpt

1965

Phillip Benedict was never easy to find. He had an efficiency apartment on New York's East Side and a room with a bed and hot plate in West Los Angeles. But when Phillip was in New Orleans, he shared quarters with Belinda Beauclaire.

Belinda had a place of her own, half of a run-down shotgun double with four rooms that lined up from front to back like the passenger cars on the City of New Orleans. She had painted those rooms the colors of jewels, amethyst and emerald, garnet and sapphire, and covered them with collages of fabric and photographs. Phillip had never been inside the shotgun when there weren't candles burning or incense from one of the botanicas on Rampart Street that sold goofer dust and John the Conqueror and whispered free advice on how to use them.

Belinda didn't believe in voodoo, but she liked it better than the Christian religions that had kept Negroes down since they stepped off the slave ships. She didn't like the term Negroes, either. Negro was all right if that other race wanted to call itself by the formal Caucasian. But if that other race was white, then by God she was black, and certainly not colored, like something a little kid did on a boring rainy day. Phillip's mother agreed with her. It was just one of the ways Belinda and Nicky were compatible.

Belinda was a stunning woman, a kindergarten teacher with a fluid, loose-limbed walk, a slow smile and her own disturbing mixture of intelligence and sensuality. Everything about Belinda suited Phillip, and these days he found his way to New Orleans more and more often.

Early on a Saturday evening in February, Phillip left Belinda's house and locked the door behind him. Belinda had been gone since early morning, and he had spent the day hunched over his portable typewriter, punching keys with the fingers of one hand and swilling dark-roast coffee and chicory with the other. He was a freelance journalist, and unless he wanted the free to mean more than it should, he had to keep work hours like anybody else.

The sun had nearly reached the horizon, but he was surprised to find that the evening air was still warm and fragrant with the promise of spring. There were rain clouds forming, and the sunset was going to be spectacular.

He was not from New Orleans, had not masked for Mardi Gras as a child or attended the city's staunchly segregated schools. He had no memories of first cigarettes or first kisses to fill him with nostalgia, but every once in a while the city could still reach out and grab him, despite his best efforts to maintain a journalist's objectivity.

Curiosity could do the same. Today, curiosity, in the form of a telephone call, had grabbed and shaken him until he suspected that his good sense had been jarred loose. But, for better or worse, he was on his way to find out.

Phillip backed his car out of Belinda's drive and turned it toward the Garden District. In her brief call, Aurore Gerrit-sen had given him careful instructions on how to reach her home. He followed them now, as his mind dwelled on the remainder of their conversation.

Aurore Le Danois Gerritsen, majority stockholder of Gulf Coast Shipping, mother of State Senator Ferris Gerritsen and daughter of a family with blood as blue as Louisiana's fleur-de-lis, wanted him to write her biography.

The horizon was a glorious sun-washed gold by the time he parked just off Prytania Street. There had been room to park in front of Aurore Gerritsen's house—more than enough room, considering that her property could easily have accommodated the greater portion of a football field. But he wanted to experience the neighborhood, to understand the milieu that had helped to make her the woman she was.

There were more than enough clues along his two-block stroll. The houses he passed were a selection of Italianate, raised cottage and Greek Revival styles that had settled comfortably into the scenery a century before. Some deserved to be called mansions, while others were only homes for the well-to-do. Moss-draped live oaks as old as the Civil War creaked in the evening breeze, and magnolias waited patiently for the days in far-off May when their blossoms would perfume the city.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2012

    Fabulous!!!!

    Emilie Richards hit New Orleans on the head with this one.....Keeps you interested and has some surprising turns.....You will not be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 26, 2012

    definitely memorable

    iron lace is one of those books you read and then can't stop thinking about afterward. the plot was so intriguing, the characters were original, and the story never lagged. the story is so emotional and real you feel like you are a part of it. the ending was definitely bittersweet, but this book was SO GOOD! it's a perfect pleasure read...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read

    Really enjoyed this book - passed it aroind at work and everyone liked it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Blake

    Walks in a hot guy with blon hair can i join?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Cassidy

    Its just us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Cody

    Kk

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Kat to cody

    I gtg b on wensday

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    A Must Read

    My first time reading anything by Emilie Richards and it captivated me from the beginning. I am now reading the sequel to this book, Rising Tides and it is wonderful reading also. Don't miss out on this new author that I just discovered.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 17, 2010

    A Great Book!

    I loved this book. I didn't want it to end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

    THIS IS NOT A NEW BOOK

    This is a reprint of a book published back in the 80's or 90's.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2005

    Amazing Book

    Iam a reader freak of all kinds.....I just love this novel 'Iron Lace'.Your heart need to be of iron not to melt by the story. Iam ready for the sequel but I still have not been able to get it.But am damn sure it will also be as great as this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2005

    Awesome southern read!

    I am an avid fan of southern fiction and non-fiction and this is one of the best books I have ever read. It is very complex and has many surprises. The story is weaved together so well. Excellent. I just ordered the sequel - Rising Tides. This should be made into a TV movie!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2003

    I am fourteen years old and I loved it!!!!!

    This book was very fast paced and I loved it. The emotional content was so fun. Though I did cry at times, I loved the shoke. My heart melts for drama.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2002

    Heart-breaking but worth the read!

    This is an excellent - though heart-breaking - story! Make sure you have the tissues handy! It'll make you smile and it'll make you cry. Be prepared for a full range of emotions. I read it straight through over a day and a half, and now I'm ready to read the sequel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted September 25, 2011

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    Posted December 30, 2012

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    Posted February 9, 2011

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    Posted October 4, 2012

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    Posted July 10, 2010

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    Posted April 13, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews

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