Lace by Shirley Conran – Book Review

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About the Book:

“Which one of you bitches is my mother?” 

Four elegant, successful, and sophisticated women in their forties are called to New York’s Pierre Hotel to meet Lili — a beautiful, young, and notoriously temperamental Hollywood movie star. None of the women knows exactly why she is there; each has a reason to hate Lili and each of them is astonished to see the others. They are old friends who share a guilty secret and who have for years been doing their best to keep that secret quiet. Their lives are changed forever, however, when Lili suddenly confronts them. When the women refuse to answer her, Lili proceeds to travel around the world through the playgrounds of the rich and famous, seeking to answer the question that has obsessed and almost destroyed her. 

From Paris to London, from the boardroom to the bedroom, Lace takes the reader into the rarified world of five unforgettable women who are as beautiful, as complex and as strong as…lace. 

About the Author:

Shirley Conran has worked as a design consultant, journalist, and editor for The Daily Mail and The Observer. Her first book, Superwoman, sold more than a million copies worldwide and was followed by eleven bestsellers. She currently lives in London.

My Opinion:

When I was offered this one for review I was intrigued because I recognized it – I had read it when it first came out (big sigh) 30 years ago. I didn’t think I would remember much and thought it would be interesting to revisit a book from my erm, younger days. I remembered what a sensation this book made – there was even a mini-series that was one of the highest rated movies in ’83-’84. 

It’s a doorstopper of a book at 754 pages, certainly not one that you can sit and finish in one day. There are 5 main characters; the three school friends Maxine, Pagan and Kate, their American friend Judy and of course, Lili the child born to one of them. There is a huge supporting cast of parents, aunts, lovers, husbands, children, employers and friends but it’s not hard to keep up with them all.

As the synopsis above told the four old school friends find themselves in a hotel room unsure of why they are together and why they have been called there by Lili, a famous actress. She asks that famous question and the story begins. Lili’s tale starts off with horros and  then the tale moves to the Swiss finishing school where the four girls meet each other and they discover just how little they know about life, love and sex. Each girl has a romantic entanglement and at the end of Part  1 one of them is pregnant but the reader does not know which one. The story then moves back and forth in time to tell how the women came to be the rich, sophisticated beings they are.

Aaaah, to sink into a soap opera in book format. ‘Cause that is exactly what this is. Lots of angst, lots of rich people, lots of fancy clothes and plenty of love scenes – some better than others. It was an enjoyable read – the characters were strong and the plot –  if a bit mind bending – was enough to keep the pages turning. The identity of the mother came as a surprise but the identity of the father was a jaw dropper. I did not remember who from my initial reading so that made this re-read fun.

It was long. I’m not sure it was all necessary but the details were fascinating over the course of the three days (I think) I read this one. Lili’s story was heartbreaking…and a bit disgusting all at the same time. The book is a lot about female friendships, women coming of age and men being piggish.

You can purchase Lace on

Disclosure:  I received a copy of Lace gratis from the publisher. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions. I received no compensation for my review.


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