Staff Review: The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry

There’s already a bit of buzz about this book, and it’s not even out till the end of the month!  But I got my hands on an advance copy, and I couldn’t put it down.  Towner Whitney is dragged back to Salem, MA, when her beloved aunt dies under mysterious circumstances.  Aunt Eva was a “lace reader”, rather like a tea-leaf reader, and was well-known in certain circles in Salem.  Towner’s mother lives on nearby Yellow Dog Island with abused women, who weave the lace used in lace reading.  Slowly, through the book, we learn Towner’s history, about her defiant and reclusive mother; about Lyndley, Towner’s twin sister, who committed suicide when the girls were 18; about Emma, another aunt who was so beaten by her husband that she is now blind; Cal, Emma’s ex-husband and former alcoholic turned rabid born-again preacher; Rafferty, the police detective who becomes involved with Towner; and Salem itself, with its tourists, New Age hippies, Old Age townies, and its history.  Like lace, the story weaves a web around the reader and draws you in.  I predict that you will be hearing a lot about this book very soon.


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