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The lace reader by Brunonia Barry

The lace reader (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Brunonia Barry

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2,8422512,046 (3.54)488
Title:The lace reader
Authors:Brunonia Barry
Info:New York : William Morrow, [2008], c2006.
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:fiction, hardcover, read, read in 2012

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The Lace Reader: A Novel by Brunonia Barry (2006)


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English (245)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (252)
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
Totally not what I was expecting. I thought this was going to be one of those slow family/friendship quasi-romance summer beach reads. While there is a romance element to the story, I found this to be more of a quick reading suspense story. Barry’s use of an unreliable narrator, shifting reality/dream sequences, Gothic atmosphere, an eccentric family and some interesting modern day parallels to Salem’s witch trials history made this a near perfect read for me. I love how Barry uses lace as the medium for the mind readers/fortune tellers of this story, imbuing the lace with a spiritual connection, kind of like Ojibwe dreamcatchers, meant to filter out bad dreams. The addition of the Calvinists, a religious group that admonishes the modern ‘witches’ of Salem and Towner’s family connection to Cal, the leader of the religious group, is perfect tinder for fueling the story.

If it hadn’t been for what I felt was a rather sub-par ending after such a great suspense-building climax, this would have been a 5-star read for me. Even so, I still found this one to be an excellent mystery/suspense read and a stunning debut novel. Brunonia Barry has now been added to my “must read” authors list.

As a word of warning, the story does contain some scenes of domestic violence that some readers may want to avoid. ( )
  lkernagh | Jun 28, 2016 |
Fast paced, a bit confusing at first, but it makes you run to the end. That means you need to re-read it several times!! ( )
  winterslights | Jun 12, 2016 |
I don't usually enjoy the unreliable-narrator thing, but this drew me in and made me want to figure it out.  There are some interesting characters, and the setting is fascinating.  It is a little tough to follow the twists and turns, but it does all come out at the end.  ( )
  Darth-Heather | May 31, 2016 |
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
4 stars
Before listening to this one I read several luke warm reviews of this book. I think people feel mislead both by the title and the hype concerning this book. The book is not about the so called lace reading which is a kind of fortune telling. Lace reading is at best a metaphor throughout the book and at worst a gimmick. The book is about physical and sexual abuse and the resultant mental illnesses. I've worked with abused kids and mentally ill adults, so I wasn't surprised by the ending of the book. I knew what was coming and I found Towner's journey to better mental health an interesting story. There's always a puzzle and a sense of mystery around someone who has a distorted sense of reality.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I didn't expect, setting out, to love this as much as I did, as I can't stand unreliable narrators, but it was brilliant and fulfilling after all. The entire thing is weaved together beautifully and I sped through it in three days, wanting always to be reading. For anyone who likes stories at all, I recommend this book. Especially, perhaps, women from New England. ( )
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
For 15 år siden, da Towner Whitneys liv ble lagt i grus, sverget hun på to ting: At hun aldri skulle sette sine ben i hjembyen Salem igjen. Og at hun aldri mer ville lese i kniplinger. For Towner har arvet denne sjette sansen, den mange av Whitney-klanens kvinner er utstyrt med, den som gjør dem i stand til å spå andres skjebne.
Det er bare ett eneste menneske som kan få Towner tilbake til Salem: Grandtante Eva - den beste kniplingleseren av dem alle. Nå er den gamle kvinnen sporløst borte. Kan Towner finne sannheten om familiens dypt bevarte hemmeligheter i Evas forlatte hus?

"Kniplingenes hemmelighet" foregår i fargerike Salem, byen som er berømt for fortidens utallige heksebål. Historien om Towner favner vidt og er spenningsroman, slektskrønike, historisk skildring og magisk fortelling - men først og fremst er det en sterk og varm beretning som fanger leseren fra Towners første, skjebnesvangre ord: Mitt navn er Towner Whitney. Nei, det er ikke helt sant. I virkeligheten er fornavnet mitt Sophya. Tro aldri på det jeg sier. Jeg lyver i ett sett. Jeg er en gal kvinne - dette siste er san
added by KirstenLund | edithttp://www.aschehoug.no (Feb 26, 2011)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brunonia Barryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bresnahan, AlyssaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandberg, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
To my wonderful husband, Gary, and to my sister-in-law Joanne's magical red hair
First words
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.
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Towner Whitney, descended from a line of mind readers and fortune tellers, returns to Salem, Massachusetts to recover from several traumas and discovers that her great-aunt Eva has suspiciously drowned, and local cop John Rafferty looks into the mystery while falling for Towner.
Haiku summary

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:13 -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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