Saturday, June 19, 2010

"The Lace Reader" by Brunonia Barry

How is reality defined? Is it the same for everyone? "The Lace Reader" is an intriguing tale filled of twists and turns that will keep you guessing what is real. Towner (Sophya) returns to town because Eva is missing, and this move dredges up the memories of her past. As she confronts the issues in her life, Towner discovers many truths about herself, her family, and abuse. The setting is Salem, MA.  where witches walk among the regular citizens, as do the "Calvinists" (a cultish group of extremist religious fanatics). Each has a part to play in Towner's reality, but which part? What really happened to Lyndley (Lyndsey)? Emma? the women on the island? and why has Towner been seeing a psychiatrist for so long? Love and forgiveness, truth and fiction, hurt and healing are all woven into the fabric of this story.

I should have known this book would be filled with twists because Towner tells us not to believe her, "I lie all the time," at the beginning of the book. There were many times when I found myself wondering what was going on because the story would change; but I guess that was like looking at the lace, seeing the vision blur, then seeing the clarity of form. I enjoyed the quotes from Eva's "Lace Reader's Guide" at the beginning of each section as they gave some insight into what was coming. I began thinking this book would be about interesting women with a special talent for seeing things in lace, and instead found a book about the effect abuse has on families. While it is interesting, it also bogged down for me at times making me lose touch with the story. While I liked this book, I enjoyed Ms. Barry's second book, "The Map of True Places," much more!

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