Lacewood: A Novel of Time and Place

· Jessica James
6 reviews

About this ebook

2020 John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction

A love story that spans centuries…

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 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 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.

A powerful and poignant tale that vividly conveys the heartache of war, the tragedy of loss, and the fulfillment of destiny…even when souls are separated by centuries. Lacewood takes readers on a journey that connects the past with the present—and the present with eternity.

Ratings and reviews

6 reviews
Ellen White
June 16, 2020
The beauty of Lacewood captures you as Katie describing with that first look, not the dust and neglect over the years. The peace and quiet, the healing she was needing. No more being waited on, the work now was her working on her own home. Will comes to help weed the back acreage for her, a cottage, he wants to rent. A man of few words, also wanting the pease and quiet . These two are drawn to one another. An unease he didn’t know how to handle, or a protection he felt needed, toward her. As she is drawn to initials carved in the wood on a window sill, the life of a widow who last lived her. The time capsules of treasures she has found That connects the past and the future together, she is drawn to piece together. A story that draws one in and unfolds as does the mystery of Lacewood. Well written, and enjoyable to read.
Did you find this helpful?
Domus Ardet
June 19, 2019
(4.5 stars) - my kind of ghost story This is a lovely story of healing & hope with a hint of spiritual guidance in the paranormal as well as Providential sense. Katie & Will have both been damaged in different yet similar ways. (Warning: Katie cries. Easily. A lot.) They meet & find that they are at a point in their lives where they are each what the other needs. The mood building is nicely done - spooky but not fearfully so, for the most part. (I tend toward anxiety & it didn't stress me at all) And the characters are frequently witty & amusing. At times the narrative left me a little confused as to what was going on, but continuing on filled in the context. (That seems to be a writing trend or something, but as a reader, I find plot jumps with backfill frustrating) The final chapter is effectively the epilogue. And it's satisfying, but oddly, it's all narrative with no cut scene or dialogue. I think including a happily-ever-after exchange of some sort between the main characters would have made it even better. All that said, it's a really well done "ghost" story, & I thoroughly enjoyed it. Clean romance level: passionate kisses Religion: MCs attend church, wrestle a bit with the question of God allowing bad things, some general spiritual references but all completely organic to the story & everything is open-ended. Only a determined anti-theist could complain. Use of "Lordy" & "Jeezus"
1 person found this review helpful
Did you find this helpful?
Jamie Jack
June 20, 2019
I am not quite sure what to make of this book. I think the author had an interesting premise, but it was not fully realized on several fronts. I found the first part of the book to be so dull that I almost did not continue. Nearly 10% of the book is just taken up with how the heroine got to New Hope and her walk around Lacewood manor. Another significant portion just following this seemed to just detail home repair and the heroine's growing involvement with the future hero. Things get more interesting when the heroine finds out more about the old home’s previous owners through artifacts and letters. But then the book does a strange flip. Part 1 takes place in the present, and then part 2, which doesn't happen until after the 75% mark, takes us back to the Civil War past of the manor. The last 7% or so is part 3 and takes place in the present again. These broad jumps in time made the book feel disjointed. Rather than have parts, and such lopsided parts, I think the book would have been better if the past storyline had been integrated with the present one. For example, the author could have interleaved pertinent past chapters within the current storyline as interrupters, especially if they illuminated what the current heroine found. It would have made for a more cohesive story and overall plot line. I also felt that the author's prose was too flowery in places, especially in the beginning section, and was a little too heavily dependent on descriptive words like adjectives and adverbs that actually distracted from the reading because it was overloaded with unnecessary details. While I completely bought into the Civil War romance (even if the hero of that arc seemed too good in general and an unbelievably fantastic love letter writer), I didn’t get any chemistry from the contemporary couple. Their romance didn’t hit all the right notes (conventions and obligatory scenes) that a love story should have. The big themes that the writer promised would be shown in the blurb were not realized in the book itself (though we were TOLD they were addressed by the characters). In all, I found this book unsatisfying.
Did you find this helpful?

About the author

Jessica James’ award-winning novels are inspired by her love of the land, her belief in everlasting love, and her curiosity about the past. She enjoys transporting readers to another world with complex characters and stores that stir deep emotion.

She is a three-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers' Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Rate this book

Tell us what you think.

Reading information

Smartphones and tablets
Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.
Laptops and computers
You can listen to audiobooks purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like Kobo eReaders, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Follow the detailed Help Center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.