Lacewood is the first novel I’ve read by author Jessica James. I kept seeing posts about the book earlier in the summer through my Triberr feed and decided to check it out. I admit the author’s name drew me in as I have a family member with the same name, but she doesn’t write books!
The book is billed as “A clean faith-filled Southern small-town novel: A Novel of Time and Place.” It’s listed in the categories of Gothic Romance, Women’s Christian Fiction (almost seems like a contradiction), and American Historical Romance.
However, I’m glad I didn’t pay attention to the categories before purchasing or reading because I might have skipped this one over. Although I am a person of faith, I stopped reading Christian Fiction several years ago, as many of them are too “preachy.” This novel isn’t.
Two people trying to escape their pasts find a connection through an old house—and fulfill a destiny through the secrets it shares. Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless Southern novel about love and loss, roots and belonging, and spirits of the past that refuse to be quieted…
Moving to a small town in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.
Purchasing the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story, Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.
The past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the shadows for centuries is fulfilled.
Rich in emotion and poignant in its telling, Lacewood is an unforgettable story about love and loss, roots and belonging…and spirits of the past that refuse to be quieted.
My Review: 4 Stars
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Lacewood, but I was pleasantly surprised. The book begins when New York socialite Katie McCain makes an impromptu trip from DC into the Virginia countryside in search of her grandmother’s home and stumbles upon a two-hundred-year-old abandoned mansion. Katie purchases the property on a whim and leaves behind the New York social scene. She soon discovers the house has secrets and longs to learn about its past inhabitants, especially the “Widow of Lacewood.” Katie stumbles upon some long-lost letters that help unravel the mystery of the Civil War Era owners.
Will Durham is a home-town hero who has his own issues to overcome. Katie allows him to move into the caretaker’s cottage in exchange for helping with renovations of the mansion. It doesn’t take long for the two of them to discover a mutual attraction.
The big surprise for me came about three-quarters of the way through the book when the author takes us back to the days of the Civil War and Annie’s story. The few chapters bring us back to modern-day and a resolution.
If you like a good, clean read, you’ll enjoy Lacewood. It does reference faith but isn’t preachy. There is no foul language (a couple of mild words here and there that I didn’t notice until another reviewer pointed them out). There is only kissing—no love scenes, although they are inferred in the last part of the book.
James does a wonderful job with descriptions. I could easily picture the mansion and the surrounding area. She also captures the typical small-town atmosphere.
Personally, I would have like to have seen more of Katie’s and Will’s love story. A good portion of the book deals with unraveling the mystery of the house rather than the attraction between the two main characters.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Lacewood and would not be averse to reading other works by this author.
A note about ratings. I consider three stars and above as positive reviews. I reserve five stars for books that keep me turning the pages and that I would read again. (Yes, I’ve been known to do that.)
5 Stars: Awesome story! Couldn’t put it down – Highly recommend.
4 Stars: The book kept me interested – Check it out.
3 Stars: It was okay. Not my favorite, but I didn’t dislike it enough to discontinue.
2 Stars: Book didn’t hold my interest, problems with the plot, characters, poor writing, etc.
1 Star: Don’t bother!