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The Lace Reader ~ Brunonia Barry

October 30, 2010

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
416 pages
ISBN: 9780061624773

Visions of the future, found in lace.

Signs and symbols of stories yet to unfurl, unfolding from flowing, windswept hair, along the Salem shoreline.

Storm clouds as harbingers of things good and bad.

These are the things that the Whitney women of Salem are known for living by. For their own good or for tourism benefit, Eva, Emma, Towner and even realist May have all had their hands dipped, elbow deep, in divination, whether they’ll admit to it or not.

For better or for worse, the youngest of these women, Towner, (a self-admitted, unreliable storyteller) begins her narration from the opposite coast. She has been dodging family drama while reading scripts  in L.A. but has been jolted back to the cold stone reality of the north east with one death and one phone call.

Death, the force that sent her running to the opposite shore to begin with, finds her returning to the tangled web of family drama that she knew, deep down, she would never manage to shake. Her grandmother’s mysterious disappearance sends the remaining members of the Whitney family, along with the rest of the town of Salem (and most of the good North Shore), into a neck-breaking, wild ride that ends up so beautifully off course, it could only be pulled off by Brunonia Barry.

Barry is fast becoming one of my favorite storytellers. She so intricately weaves the history, good and bad, of Salem and the North Shore, through her fiction, seamlessly and timelessly. Though I read The Lace Reader after having already read Barry’s The Map of True Places, I don’t think that it matters the order in which the books are read. The two books pull from some of the same minor characters but can be read independently or even at the same time without losing the, ahem, magic.

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