Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations, but the disappearance of two women brings Towner home to Salem and the truth about the death of her twin sister to light.
The Lace Reader is a mesmerizing tale that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths in which the reader quickly finds it's nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction, but as Towner Whitney points out early on in the novel, "There are no accidents."
"Starred Review. Her pacing and use of different perspectives show tremendous skill and will keep readers captivated all the way through." - Publishers Weekly.
"Starred Review. In this, [Barry's] first original adult novel, she combines her focus on the history of this particular community, including its witchcraft trials, religious cults, and quotidian seaport life, with her study of a fractured family seeking truth to bring us a most unusual and bewitching novel. Highly recommended." - Library Journal.
"Unusual and otherworldly, this is a blizzard of a story which surprisingly manages to pull together its historical, supernatural and psychiatric elements." - Kirkus Reviews.
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Rated of 5
Becky Haase Still don't know what lace reading is The Lace Reader begins with an interesting premise, but quickly bogs down in fairly incomprehensible detail of lace reading. Towner is a beguiling character whose personality unfolds as the tale is revealed. She was what kept me reading. The “lace reading” of the title was so shallowly explained that I simply skimmed those parts (which did NOT harm the plot in the slightest). I wondered if the author was any clearer in her understanding or knowledge of lace reading than I was. Cal, the prime antagonist, is drawn with no redeeming qualities and consequently is quickly boring although necessary as catalyst. The “Calvinist” group he leads is so skimpily explained that you are never sure what they stand for or why they act as they do. Rafferty, the “hero”, is more surely drawn, which makes him fascinating to discover as he is revealed. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it for book groups. There are many topics for discussion – mental illness, mental and physical abuse, religious fervor, witchcraft, the ties between twins, self-help groups, charismatic leaders (both good and bad) and the influence they maintain over others and their responsibility for the group’s actions.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Brunonia Barry made her literary debut with the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling novel The Lace Reader (William Morrow). The book landed on international bestseller lists and received rave reviews from publications such as Time magazine, People, Elle, The Washington Post, and The Dallas Morning News, and from writers, including Joshilyn Jackson and Marisa de los Santos. Published in 30 languages, The Lace Reader was named a People magazine People Pick, a two-time Borders Book Club selection, a Barnes & Noble New Reads pick, an Amazon.com Best of the Month, a 2008 Indie Next Highlights List, an iTunes and Library Journal Best of 2008 (audiobook), and a Book Bloggers Best Book of 2008.
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