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2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Lace Reader

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The Lace Reader Cover

ISBN13: 9780061624766
ISBN10: 0061624764
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

The Lace Reader is a wonderfully layered novel of gothic suspense set in Salem, Massachusetts. The women of the Whitney family are psychics who can see the future by concentrating on the patterns in handmade lace. Each chapter opens with a passage from the fictional Lace Reader's Guide. As Towner Whitney revisits Salem (a world she left behind years before) to look for her missing aunt, she uncovers a mystery that is deeper and more complex than the lace that she is compelled to read again. A captivating and smart debut with which to while away a summer afternoon.
Recommended by Lorraine, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Every gift has a price...

Every piece of lace has a secret...

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...

Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations, but the disappearance of two women brings Towner home to Salem and the truth about the death of her twin sister to light.

The Lace Reader is a mesmerizing tale that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths in which the reader quickly finds it's nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction, but as Towner Whitney points out early on in the novel, There are no accidents.

Review:

Brunonia Barry's first novel is a compendium of women's issues stitched into a murder mystery in modern-day Salem, Mass. Originally self-published, "The Lace Reader" later became the subject of a multi-million-dollar bidding war among New York publishers. Now it's being re-released as the first installment of a planned trilogy with a printing of 200,000 copies and all the marketing tie-in gimmicks... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A] most unusual and bewitching novel. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"[A]n ambitious debut....Unusual and otherworldly, this is a blizzard of a story which surprisingly manages to pull together its historical, supernatural and psychiatric elements." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Fans of Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island (2003), Chris Bohjalian's The Double Bind (2007), and other modern pop-psych mysteries will not be disappointed." Booklist

Review:

"Evocative, layered, smart, and astonishing, The Lace Reader is a fever dream of a novel that will haunt me for a long time to come. The Salem, Massachusetts, that the Whitney women inhabit is a wild, dark place, and I loved every moment that I spent there." Joshilyn Jackson, author of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

Synopsis:

In Barry's captivating debut, Towner Whitney, 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.

Synopsis:

In the tradition of The Thirteenth Tale, Brunonia Barrys bewitching gothic novel, The Lace Reader, is a phenomenon. Called “[a] richly imagined saga of passion, suspense, and magic” by Time Magazine, it is a haunting and remarkable tale told by an unforgettable, if strangely unreliable narrator—a woman from an enigmatic Salem family who can foretell the future in patterns of lace. The Lace Reader was a runaway New York Times bestseller—hitting the top lists in major cities across the country, from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles—and has immediately established debut author Brunonia Barry as a major force in contemporary American fiction.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Brunonia Barry studied literature and creative writing at Green Mountain College in Vermont and at the University of New Hampshire. She has created Brain Teaser puzzles for Smart Games and lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her husband and their beloved golden retriever, Byzantium.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

mgdallas, July 4, 2009 (view all comments by mgdallas)
OOOOhhhhh, what a great book! Sort of a historical fiction, with a thriller thrown in for good measure. A fantastic read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
Ambrosia4All, January 24, 2009 (view all comments by Ambrosia4All)
All I can say is wow. This book tells the story of Towner Whitney of recent-past Salem, Massachusetts. A modern day witch-hunt against a woman with a dark secret and mental illness that makes it hard to discern fact from fiction are the draw here. The self-declared unreliable narrator lives up to that title, making the entire book all that more interesting to ponder over in the end.

The hardest parts of this book were: the beginning, which was difficult to understand because you don't get what's going on at first, and everything in Part 2 and on, which is when I was so hooked I couldn't put it down. When you get to the end, you take a deep breath look around and try to put everything you just read together.

While at times the novel does get ambiguous, I rather liked this technique because it brings to mind the hazy memories a mental illness can create. In other words, it makes sense in the context of the book, however, it's not for all readers and you should pick this book up warned in advance. I tend to like books where you have to work at the end to figure out what's happened. If you don't, you probably want to stay away from this (although, in all honesty, I thought the ending was rather straightforward and explained what had happened quite clearly...).

All together a fabulous story which is hard to define (mystery/suspense and drama with a dash of understated romance and great characters is my best guess). Highly recommended to anyone with a penchant for mystery novels or a flair for the dramatic.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 19 readers found this comment helpful)
Lucyspal3, September 1, 2008 (view all comments by Lucyspal3)
This book had some major flaws. In the end the book was about redemption, forgiveness and healing, but the way the reader gets there is too tangled. Other than Rafferty’s past alcohol abuse you never know why he’s so damaged. You only find out in the end why Jack is so damaged with a glimpse in his head, but that glimpse makes him a monster, not a victim.

Did Towner suffer from multiple personalities? Did she suffer from memory loss because of the shock treatment and then made up Lindley to hide her wounds? Did Eva kill herself to awaken Towner?

I felt that the questions left were too many, and the ones answered were too few.
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(15 of 26 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061624766
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Barry, Brunonia
Author:
by Brunonia Barry
Author:
by Brunonia Barry
Publisher:
William Morrow
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Women Sleuths
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Subject:
Psychics
Subject:
New england
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
August 2008
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.25 in 20.48 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical

The Lace Reader Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780061624766 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Lace Reader is a wonderfully layered novel of gothic suspense set in Salem, Massachusetts. The women of the Whitney family are psychics who can see the future by concentrating on the patterns in handmade lace. Each chapter opens with a passage from the fictional Lace Reader's Guide. As Towner Whitney revisits Salem (a world she left behind years before) to look for her missing aunt, she uncovers a mystery that is deeper and more complex than the lace that she is compelled to read again. A captivating and smart debut with which to while away a summer afternoon.

"Review" by , "[A] most unusual and bewitching novel. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "[A]n ambitious debut....Unusual and otherworldly, this is a blizzard of a story which surprisingly manages to pull together its historical, supernatural and psychiatric elements."
"Review" by , "Fans of Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island (2003), Chris Bohjalian's The Double Bind (2007), and other modern pop-psych mysteries will not be disappointed."
"Review" by , "Evocative, layered, smart, and astonishing, The Lace Reader is a fever dream of a novel that will haunt me for a long time to come. The Salem, Massachusetts, that the Whitney women inhabit is a wild, dark place, and I loved every moment that I spent there."
"Synopsis" by , In Barry's captivating debut, Towner Whitney, 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.
"Synopsis" by , In the tradition of The Thirteenth Tale, Brunonia Barrys bewitching gothic novel, The Lace Reader, is a phenomenon. Called “[a] richly imagined saga of passion, suspense, and magic” by Time Magazine, it is a haunting and remarkable tale told by an unforgettable, if strangely unreliable narrator—a woman from an enigmatic Salem family who can foretell the future in patterns of lace. The Lace Reader was a runaway New York Times bestseller—hitting the top lists in major cities across the country, from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles—and has immediately established debut author Brunonia Barry as a major force in contemporary American fiction.
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