The Lace Reader – Brunonia Barry

Title: The Lace Reader
Author: Brunonia Barry
ISBN: 9780061624773
Pages: 416
Release Date: July 31, 2008
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Towner Whitney has been running from her past for a long time.  She’s from a family of lace readers, which means she can read the future in a piece of lace, though she has turned her back on her talent.  But when her beloved great-aunt mysteriously dies, Towner can’t stay away anymore.  She returns to Salem, Massachusetts in order to face all that she left behind.

Review:

I’ve been hearing a lot about The Lace Reader since its release, most of it very good.  Because of that, I put off reading it.  I didn’t want it to be ruined by the hype and thus my high expectations.  But with the paperback release a couple of months ago, I decided I needed to go ahead and read this book.  And I’m so glad I did – The Lace Reader exceeded my expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed every second I spent with it.

The best part of The Lace Reader was the fact that Towner was an unreliable narrator – the reader learns that on the very first page of the book.  We see much of the novel through her eyes and aren’t quite sure how to interpret her memories and experiences.  Can she be trusted?  Is she remembering events correctly?  It really makes the entire book an amazing experience.

The mystery in The Lace Reader is completely gripping.  This is one of those books you can’t put down once you start it.  The setting simply enhances the puzzling nature of the book.  Salem has its own peculiar history, which makes for an eccentric cast of characters.  Additionally, the lace reading is very unique – apparently it’s something that Brunonia Barry dreamed about one night!  Though I’ve been told that the lace making in the novel isn’t accurate, I still enjoyed the descriptions and thought it added an entirely different twist to the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Lace Reader, despite the hype and my (still admittedly high) expectations.  Brunonia Barry has a talent at building suspense slowly and carefully, which made it very enjoyable.  It’s also incredibly unique!  I can’t wait for Barry’s next book.

Comments

  1. I read this one but I read it before most of the hype. I don’t think I had any expectations! I’m also looking forward to her next book.

  2. I read this one but I read it before most of the hype. I don’t think I had any expectations! I’m also looking forward to her next book.

  3. I didn’t like this book that much. There were elements to it that I agree with you were interesting, but overall, the writing was a bit muddled and I didn’t care for any of the characters. I would like to see what Barry writes next though, just to find out whether or not her writing has become a bit more focused and to see what direction she’ll go in with regards to her writing. Great review though! Cheers!

  4. I didn’t like this book that much. There were elements to it that I agree with you were interesting, but overall, the writing was a bit muddled and I didn’t care for any of the characters. I would like to see what Barry writes next though, just to find out whether or not her writing has become a bit more focused and to see what direction she’ll go in with regards to her writing. Great review though! Cheers!

  5. I have read many favorable reviews of this one and almost picked it up in the airport the other day but didn’t…I guess I need to get it read one of these days soon!

  6. I have read many favorable reviews of this one and almost picked it up in the airport the other day but didn’t…I guess I need to get it read one of these days soon!

  7. I really enjoyed this book when I read it last year. I am glad you did, too!

  8. I really enjoyed this book when I read it last year. I am glad you did, too!

  9. I enjoyed this one too! Great review by the way 😉

  10. I enjoyed this one too! Great review by the way 😉

  11. My sister read this one for a book club she’s in (ironic as she’s not not a big reader), but said she didn’t think it was that great. we have very different taste in books, though, so maybe if I borrow it from her, I’ll enjoy it. Not my usual read, though. Hmm…

  12. My sister read this one for a book club she’s in (ironic as she’s not not a big reader), but said she didn’t think it was that great. we have very different taste in books, though, so maybe if I borrow it from her, I’ll enjoy it. Not my usual read, though. Hmm…

  13. I love it when my expectations are high and a book still manages to exceed them 🙂 I’ve just been getting into mysteries, so this sounds like one for me.

  14. I love it when my expectations are high and a book still manages to exceed them 🙂 I’ve just been getting into mysteries, so this sounds like one for me.

  15. Oops! That was me above. Forgot to log out of the holiday swap gmail account 😛

  16. Oops! That was me above. Forgot to log out of the holiday swap gmail account 😛

  17. I just recently read and loved this book. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it as well 🙂

  18. I just recently read and loved this book. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it as well 🙂

  19. Like you, I have been putting off reading it because I heard so much good for it, that my expectations were getting high. I’m glad to know it still managed to positively surprise you! I’ll have to get it from my pile soon.

  20. Like you, I have been putting off reading it because I heard so much good for it, that my expectations were getting high. I’m glad to know it still managed to positively surprise you! I’ll have to get it from my pile soon.

  21. I read this when it first came out. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I’m glad I read it before the hype or I would have been very disappointed

  22. I read this when it first came out. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I’m glad I read it before the hype or I would have been very disappointed

  23. I’m in the very small minority. The book didn’t really do much for me. I think I was too caught up in the lace inaccuracies coupled with the need for a strong editor.

  24. I’m in the very small minority. The book didn’t really do much for me. I think I was too caught up in the lace inaccuracies coupled with the need for a strong editor.

  25. You know, even with Towner’s dramatic first paragraph, I forgot what an unreliable narrator she’d promised to be and was completely surprised at the end of the book.

  26. You know, even with Towner’s dramatic first paragraph, I forgot what an unreliable narrator she’d promised to be and was completely surprised at the end of the book.

  27. I’ll join you, waiting in line for Brunonia Barry’s next book!

    I really like THE LACE READER; Salem is less than an hour away, and I’ve been there many times. It was fun to connect the real places with the spots mentioned in the book.

    Did you see this post from August 2008?
    http://www.sheistoofondofbooks.com/2008/08/11/on-the-road-to-salem-with-the-lace-reader/
    My family and I took a trip to Salem to visit some Lace Reader highlights.
    (I should re-do it with larger pics!)

  28. I’ll join you, waiting in line for Brunonia Barry’s next book!

    I really like THE LACE READER; Salem is less than an hour away, and I’ve been there many times. It was fun to connect the real places with the spots mentioned in the book.

    Did you see this post from August 2008?
    http://www.sheistoofondofbooks.com/2008/08/11/on-the-road-to-salem-with-the-lace-reader/
    My family and I took a trip to Salem to visit some Lace Reader highlights.
    (I should re-do it with larger pics!)

  29. I bought this book ages ago, but for some reason, I just haven’t read it yet. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  30. I bought this book ages ago, but for some reason, I just haven’t read it yet. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  31. I read this one as well and I loved returning to Salem in this book. I had no idea that the lace making wasn’t accurate, but that wouldn’t have deterred from my enjoyment of the book.

    I loved being in suspense given that the narrator is unreliable. It really moved the book for me.

    Great review and I’m glad you picked it up in spite of the hype.

  32. I read this one as well and I loved returning to Salem in this book. I had no idea that the lace making wasn’t accurate, but that wouldn’t have deterred from my enjoyment of the book.

    I loved being in suspense given that the narrator is unreliable. It really moved the book for me.

    Great review and I’m glad you picked it up in spite of the hype.

  33. Just finished the book.
    Liked it but found that it ended a bit too conveniently like the part about Cal repenting and Jack having another woman in Canada. Also found Rafferty’s relationship with his daughter and Towner’s hysterectomy loose threads.

  34. Just finished the book.
    Liked it but found that it ended a bit too conveniently like the part about Cal repenting and Jack having another woman in Canada. Also found Rafferty’s relationship with his daughter and Towner’s hysterectomy loose threads.

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