The Lace Reader: A Novel
2 journalers for this copy...
I read another copy of this book. Here's what I had to say:
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. True, I might not have loved it quite so much if I hadn't been to Salem and to many of the locations in this book. But I HAVE, thanks to the 2010 BookCrossing Unconvention in Boston. I was fascinated by the concept of lace reading after hearing Brunonia Barry speak about it at the uncon, and it was a pleasure to read a book that revolves around this "fictional" fortune-telling device.
Towner is an interesting main character, for an unreliable narrator. I certainly enjoyed getting to know her, including her abilities, and her family and world. Rafferty is believable. Cal is unredeemably evil/crazy/mean. Eva's a character I would have loved to reach into the book and hug. But Towner is the central figure, someone we want to figure out and get to know, someone we feel for and want to triumph.
The setting and culture make for some interesting wrinkles (especially when it comes to those Calvinists) and unique situations. I love the big house and the islands and things like light tag and lace reading and all that are described in such detail that they just have to be real.
I never quite trust books about twins (I've seen soap operas and bent perceptions dozens of times). But the twist brings something new that makes you think.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
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I hope you enjoy the book. Happy reading!
I've got to admit, if you haven't been to New England and/or are not really interested in the area, some of the charm of this book will be lost on you. My favorite part of it was all the description of the coast around Salem and sailing, walking on the beach, etc., that you'll recognize if you've been to the area. Although it's not high-quality literature, I found it a diverting and intriguing mystery with elements of magical realism. Brunonia Barry takes an interesting concept of reading the future in hand-woven lace and a rather unusual (single, older, physically and mentally ill, "unreliable narrator") heroine up and down the coast of New England as she and her friends try to unravel the mystery of two recent disappearances from the Salem community. There are Wiccans, crazy exorcism-performing fundamentalists, secret underground tunnels, exotic fever dreams, lovable local detectives with a not-so-secret crush on our narrator, and much more. Some of the plot twists and multilayered double-crosses and mistaken identities and expository journal entries are heavy-handed and strain the suspension of disbelief, especially towards the last third of the book. After the final, final plot twist, you'll likely have many frustrations and questions at the end that will not be addressed. However, for an airplane or beach read, you could do a lot worse.
I'll be releasing this book in the Portland area sometime soon - keep your eyes peeled around Congress Street and the Old Port :) I also hope you appreciate that this book started in Virginia, made its way to Boston and then Salem, where it got picked up by a girl from Houston whose family came all the way from Texas to visit her while she was working in Maine, and that it'll soon be picked up by someone in Portland. Next stop: Canada?
We'll see. If you find this book, please reply with the location of where you found it and what you thought!