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The lace reader by the dread pirate Brunonia…
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The lace reader (original 2006; edition 2006)

by the dread pirate Brunonia Barry

CrewmatesArr! ReviewsPopulARRrityCrew sysMentions
2,5942282,306 (3.54)466
Matey:EmScape
Tome:The lace reader
Them scribblers:Brunonia Barry
Pearls o' Wisdom:New York : William Morrow, [2008], c2006.
Piles o' Booty:Yer cargo, To raid
How ye liked it:****
Pennons:fiction, hardcover, read, read in 2012

Work details

The Lace Reader by the scurvy dog Brunonia Barry (2006)

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I'm disappointed, as I fell for the hype and thought The Lace Reader would be a more historical tale that spanned centuries from colonial times to the present and include more detail on Salem. Instead it was much more a personal tale of tragedy and hope, with serviceable prose. More descriptive language and insight into the human condition would have made it less selfish and absorbed. Would recommend The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd as it has a similar flavor, for those who liked this book and vice versa. ( )
  astasin | Sep 9, 2014 |
I struggled to get into this story, but once hooked, I couldn't put it down.
( )
  ArleenWilliams | Jul 22, 2014 |
After her grandmother disappears, Towner returns home to Salem, Massachusetts, for the first time since having a mental breakdown, where faces estranged family, buried memories, and all sorts of secrets.

I had mixed feelings about this book, resulting in a lukewarm rating. I particularly liked the setting of Salem, including the sympathetic treatment of modern-day witches, and Yellow Dog Island, where Towner grew up, with its feral yellow dogs living in caves. I did not like the switches in points of view and verb tense, as I found them clunky. I figured out the "twist" well beforehand, and it seemed somewhat gimmicky to me. Most off-putting for me was a short chapter from the point of view of Towner's ex-boyfriend, the only part from his perspective in the entire novel, in which he reveals that he raped Towner while she was drunk, something she doesn't even remember--this detail seemed completely unnecessary, made Towner into a helpless victim, made the ex-beau into a total villain, and all to no good purpose that I could see. Finally, the climax seemed somewhat overblown and, frankly, quite unbelievable.

I chose this as a vacation book, and it does make a quick, entertaining read, but it is not likely to be a book with much sticking power.

Vacation read in 2014. ( )
  sturlington | Jul 13, 2014 |
What a clunker, was what I said when finished it. It needed lots of editing and I would have been perfectly happy without the lace reading and spells. There was a semi-decent storyline buried in there but there was way too much junk and bad writing to really bother seeking it out. Also, amd I supposed to believe that Towner invented and seemed to think existed a twin sister called Lyndley? Or is the story just all made up? Too many wierd things and not enough coherent storyline. Bah!
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
I abandoned this one just short of the one-quarter mark for the following reasons:

• Chapter 9, just finished, consists of a very long, exhaustively detailed, heavily dialogue-ridden scene that seems pointless. It should have taken a lot less, it seems to me, to convey whatever this protracted scene was intended to get across. Show, yes, good plan, but you don't have to show every damn thing. My confidence in the author's ability to be selective dropped too low.

• I put it down for two days, and when I picked it up again I couldn't remember who half of the characters were. They'd made little or no impression.

• It's in the present tense. I gave it much more of a chance than I do most present-tense fictional narratives--some get only one page--but it wore me down.

Too bad, because I liked the setting and the premise (even though I had to go to the Internet to find out what a lace pillow is because the author didn't tell me) and I was mildly interested in the setup.

(Unrated)
  Meredy | Feb 14, 2014 |
no reviews | add yer opinyon

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Scribbler's nameRoleType 'o authorWork?How farrr the crew's sailed
Brunonia Barryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bresnahan, Alyssateller o tha talesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandberg, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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The Lace Reader must stare at the piece of lace until the pattern blurs and the face of the Seeker disappears completely behind the veil. When the eyes begin to fill with tears and the patience is long exhausted, there will appear a glimpse of something not quite seen. In this moment an image will begin to form . . . in the space between what is real and what is only imagined. --The Lace Reader's Guide
Dedication
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To my wonderful husband, Gary, and to my sister-in-law Joanne's magical red hair
Startin' out
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My name is Towner Whitney. No, that's not exactly true. My real first name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time.
What the sprogs be sayin'
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He was worse than a Starbucks snob, but he didn't tell her that. He didn't even drink Starbucks coffee. Used to. Then, last year, his daughter had saved up her allowance and bought him a French press for Christmas, and now he couldn't drink his coffee any other way.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061624764, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2008: Brunonia Barry dreamt she saw a prophecy in a piece of lace, a vision so potent she spun it into a novel. The Lace Reader retains the strange magic of a vivid dream, though Barry's portrayal of modern-day Salem, Massachusetts--with its fascinating cast of eccentrics--is reportedly spot-on. Some of its stranger residents include generations of Whitney women, with a gift for seeing the future in the lace they make. Towner Whitney, back to Salem from self-imposed exile on the West Coast, has plans for recuperation that evaporate with her great-aunt Eva's mysterious drowning. Fighting fear from a traumatic adolescence she can barely remember, Towner digs in for answers. But questions compound with the disappearance of a young woman under the thrall of a local fire-and-brimstone preacher, whose history of violence against Whitney women makes the situation personal for Towner. Her role in cop John Rafferty's investigation sparks a tentative romance. And as they scramble to avert disaster, the past that had slipped through the gaps in Towner's memory explodes into the present with a violence that capsizes her concept of truth. Readers will look back at the story in a new light, picking out the clues in this complex, lovely piece of work. --Mari Malcolm

(raided from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:57 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A young woman descended from a long line of mind readers and fortune tellers has returned to her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, for rest and relaxation. Any tranquility in her life is short-lived, however, when her aunt drowns under mysterious circumstances.… (more!)

(summary from another edition)

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