Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Lace Reader

by Brunonia Barry

Beginning this story is like leaning back into a soft feather bed on a winters night. I am breathless with anticipation as each page ends and I turn to the next. I want more, and I want it now. But also, I dread coming to the end.

I feel the breeze blowing my hair back from my face, and smell that northern sea. There is nothing like it. I watch the bricks of Salem passing under my feet. I am there.

Towner is the main character. Her story is no less compelling or real than those of the others in the book. Eva, May, even Ann one of the more renowned witches in town all have their own equally strong personalities and stories. Mostly, it is about the Whitney family, life in a small town, and the injuries we all suffer as we make our way through life. It is the story of life through the eyes of Sophya, who takes the the name Towner in a desperate attempt to distance herself from things she cannot bear to remember.

May lives on Yellow Dog Island, and her home is a sanctuary for abused women. Emma, her half sister lives there as well. They work the land for food, and they make lace. The Whitney family woman all read lace. It is a family gift, or curse depending on how each woman sees the lace.

Towner is living in California until a call from her brother draws her to her home in Salem. A home only minutes away by boat from Yellow Dog Island. Once she is again face to face with where she spent her childhood, she has to deal with family mysteries both current and in the past. Facing these mysteries, learning to accept the abilities she had to read people, and to see them after they have passed on is a fascinating and intriguing read. No less intriguing is the story of Towner's healing.

Like the most beautiful examples of lace itself, this story is woven, interwoven and no thread is left hanging free. It pulls them all together to create a work of art to be cherished. A piece to look at again and again merely because it exists.


  1. This sounds like a really good book. I have been tempted to buy it several times. Great review.

  2. You're a good reviewer, you make me want to read this.