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The Lace Reader    by Brunonia Barry order for
Lace Reader
by Brunonia Barry
Order:  USA  Can
Flap Jacket Press, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

'No two Readers will ever see the same images in the lace. What is seen is determined entirely by perspective' (The Lace Reader's Guide). Towner Whitney's Great-Aunt Eva is the original lace reader from Salem, Massachusetts. Just one of the eccentric women in the Whitney family, Eva reads lace to illuminate both the past and the future. But when Eva vanishes, Towner must return to her hometown of Salem. As she searches for clues to explain her Great-Aunt's mysterious disappearance, Towner is forced to confront a past that nearly robbed her of her sanity and killed her sister.

Brunonia Barry, the debut author of The Lace Reader, spins an intriguing modern tale that combines family saga and sorcery. Set against the eerie backdrop of Salem, Massachusetts, Towner and her family have long been accused of witchcraft because of their ability to make predictions based on patterns in lace. The visions Towner once saw have caused her to question all she believes, including her own sanity. Although Towner has vowed never again to use her ability, she is drawn back into that world as she struggles to understand her Great-Aunt's last days. Eva has left her few clues: some random notes, some dried flowers, and several pieces of antique lace.

The Lace Reader is no mere mystery however. Barry skillfully ties together many themes throughout her tale, including patterns of abuse, cult activities, and sacrifice. The engaging novel is difficult to put down, as narrators alternate chapters, giving differing perspectives on characters and events. The reader is swept up in the deftly woven story and at times unsure whether characters are telling the truth, or simply their own truth? As the book closes, readers will want to re-read it from the beginning, searching for clues that reveal hints of the story's fascinating and compelling ending.

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