Author: Shirley Conran
Publisher: Touchstone
ISBN: 1416535489

Shirley Conran's novel, Lace, is a mysterious and erotic tale of friendship, betrayal, love, loss, and above all desire.  Please be aware that Lace is most definitely for adult readers only.  They are not advertising this novel by saying, "Before Fifty Shades there was...Lace" for nothing!  That said, if you enjoy graphic and erotic tales (as do I) then you will love Conran's novel.   

Lace was first published in 1982 and has sold over 3 million copies.  I can only imagine the stir it caused with it's graphic nature when it first came out.  It has since been reprinted, most recently in November 2012.  I was surprised to learn that Lace came out as a miniseries on ABC in 1984 and was one of the highest rated TV movies of that year.  I definitely will be looking this up to see if I can find it somewhere! 

Lace does not start slowly, it shoots out of the barrel in 1963 Paris with a 13 year old girl in a back alley abortionist's clinic.  It then fast forwards to 1978 New York where four old friends are unexpectedly brought together by Lili, a young Hollywood star with a grim past and ax to grind with the ladies.  After Lili summons the four successful women together, Lace goes back and tells the story of how the four girls met and became friends.  The four friends are Parisian Maxine, American Judy, and British Kate and Pagan.  They met in Switzerland as teenagers where the three Europeans attended a boarding school while Judy was an exchange student working as a waitress.  The four young girls grew close and became best friends as together they experienced puberty, became boy crazy, had sexual exploits, and kept many sacred secrets.  

Lace goes on to reveal how each girl's life unfolds.  Never far from thought (and sometimes sight) were the other friends.  Judy moved to Paris and was taken under the wing of Maxine's Aunt.  Maxine convinced her father to allow her to move to London to study interior design.  While there she lived with Pagan and Kate who were going through their London seasons to be launched into society.  Mixed in between the tales of Maxine, Judy, Pagan, and Kate is the story of Lili.  Orphan Lili was taken in and raised by a widower in Switzerland at a young age.   While things weren't always perfect, Lili was healthy, happy, and loved.  However, after years in a happy home, tragedy hits and Lili finds herself alone in a strange place.  What happens next shapes the person that Lili will become. 

Shirley Conran's Lace, is a wonderfully detailed story that I enjoyed from beginning to end.  Conran masterfully created 3 dimensional characters that brought each page to life with their witty dialogue.  I especially loved reading about the younger girls and their adventures in and out of school.  I was also kept on my toes throughout the novel, trying to figure out Lili's mystery at the center of the story.  Just when I thought I knew the answer, another twist was thrown in.  

I definitely recommend Lace to all romance and women's literature lovers.  Get ready for a great read that has memorable characters, a wonderful plot, and a mystery that will keep you guessing! 

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