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Book Review: The Lace Reader

October 31, 2009

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry is a novel about Towner Whitney and her return to her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts after the disappearance of her Great-Aunt Eva. Towner, whose real name is Sophya, has not been back to Salem in years – not since the death of her twin sister, Lyndley. Towner was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital shortly after her sister’s death and went through shock therapy treatments that erased most of her short-term and some of her long-term memory. Coming back to Salem forces her to start remembering things from her past – such as her first love, time spent in and around Salem with her sister, and the abuse her sister and aunt experienced at the hand of her Uncle Cal.

The book alternates between Towner’s first-person point of view and a third-person omniscient point-of-view for the other characters’ parts of the story. Towner’s return to Salem is sad and confusing at first, since it is told from her own point of view. As the story progresses, pieces of both the past and present begin to fall into place. I found this book interesting and it was definitely different than most other books I’ve read. I liked the characters, except Cal, who I really hated- as the author clearly intended. I felt pity for many of the characters as many of them are emotionally, and even physically, wounded. My main issue with the book was that I didn’t get the whole “Lace Reader” portion of it. It was a common thread throughout the story (no pun intended), but didn’t really come into play that much – at least in my opinion. Since the title is “The Lace Reader”, I expected it to have more of a key role in the story.

There are many times throughout the book where the reader cannot be sure if Towner and her family are really psychic (or “readers”, as they call themselves), or if Towner really is just crazy like the rumors say. There is a huge twist at the end of the book that I did not see coming, and that rarely happens. I did wonder at times where the story was going, but the ending made it much more interesting. I gave this book 3 stars on goodreads.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 1, 2009 12:14 am

    Hi! Great review, it sounds like an interesting read 🙂

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