Jen's Reviews > The Lace Reader

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
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's review
Sep 22, 2008

really liked it
Recommended for: Women who are open to mysticism
Read in October, 2008

I wanted to read The Lace Reader because it is set in Salem, Massachusetts, and it's about a family of women with the gift of reading fortunes in lace. Each chapter starts with a little excepts from "The Lace Reader's Guide" about how to make or read lace as we follow Towner Whitney's return to Salem after a decade's absense following the suicide of her twin sister.

Towner returns when her great-aunt Eva, a gifted lace reader, goes missing. Towner has the gift, too, as well as hallucinations and visions and dreams and memory gaps from the shock therapy she endured after her sister's death. The women support each other: her mother May, an agoraphobic who runs a shelter for abused women on an island she never leaves; her aunt Emma, blind and frail after beatings at the hand of her ex-husband Cal, a born-again Christian and leader of a violent anti-witchcraft cult. Cal and his "Calvinists" have it in for the Whitney women, and Salem's witch trials, which have drawn tourists to the town, aren't just historical fact in this book.

It's a complex psychological drama that has plenty of interior and exterior action. I'm still chewing on it, actually, and I think I will be for awhile.

"There are mystics and there are mechanists," she said, "and they see things with different eyes."
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