Tag Archives: brunonia barry

The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry

3 Jun

“I turned my head toward the wall and stared at the trees.  For weeks I stared.  I stared at them as the leaves finally fell away and they revealed their lacy black branches underneath.  I looked for Jack in the web of lace.  He wasn’t there.  I looked for Lyndley, too, but she was nowhere.”

Cover for The Lace Reader

The Lace Reader begins with an introduction to Towner Whitney.  She admits right away that she’s a liar and she’s crazy.  She doesn’t seem crazy, though.  Definitely confused, and a little odd.  But Towner has been through a lot.  Her twin sister Lyndley, committed suicide fifteen years ago, and she was admitted to a mental institution shortly after the event.

Towner talks about a pillow used to make lace. It probably looked something like this. (found at http://dianelaces.wordpress.com)

When we meet Towner, she receives word that Eva, a grandmother-like great aunt, has died.  Towner has to face her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, for the first time since the tragedy.  Although she prepared for a quick trip for a funeral before returning home to San Diego, Towner faces unfinished business, mystery, and a little bit of romance.

The Whitney family is mysterious, unique, and full
fascinating characters.  The characters overall were the best part of this novel.  I loved trying to figure them out, distinguishing everyone’s quirks and their histories.  Author Brunonia Barry meticulously wrote this book interspersed with details that hint at the truth as the reader attempts to solve the multiple mysteries in Salem.

The near downfall of this novel is in the clunky way that the story changes perspective.  I have no problem with a change in point of view, and it works for the telling of this story.  I just wish it had been done more smoothly.  Towner is the narrator until about the twelfth chapter, and then it suddenly switches taking me completely by surprise.  I wish that this concept had been introduced earlier on.  It also would have helped if it at least stayed in first-person.  It felt strange to have things narrated by Towner, and then be in third-person but from someone else’s perspective.

Overall, the story was amazing!  At first, I hesitated to give it such an incredibly high recommendation.  But now, days later, I find myself desiring to read it again, looking more deeply into the lace and uncovering even more of its secrets.  As someone who seldom re-reads, I have to rate this one Five Stars!