I'm in a book club at my office. We just finished The Lace Reader
by Brunoni Barry.
This is the story of Towner Whitney or Sophya and the women in her family: Great-Aunt Eva, Emma and May - and we can't forget her twin sister Lyndley or Lyndsey - or can we?...
Brunoni Barry decided to self-publish her first novel and it took off like a rocket, which created a bidding war. Learn more about it here
. You can listen to the podcast at Prosecast, it's an interview by Cathi Bond.
I love the line in the beginning: "...in the space between what is real and what is only imagined." This speaks to all things unknown and sets the stage for a mystery filled with suspense. What I didn't realize, in the beginning, is that it actually explains the entire book.
The Lace Reader is another story set in witch haven: Salem, Mass. But don't be fooled. This story has a different type of backdrop. It's not your typical Salem witch
story. There is an interesting mystery to this story - or maybe a few of them.
One of the new twists to this tale, is the use of Ipswich Lace. The women in Towner's family can read the future - in lace. All they have to do is hold a piece of lace up in front of a person's face, and the reader can see the future.
This was a very creative device to the story and I only wish this aspect would have been developed more because it was fascinating, like phrenology. And I loved the snippets of history delicately woven, like a thin thread, throughout the story.
The mystery starts when Towner's or Sophya's Great Aunt Eva is thought to be missing. Sophya feels duty-bound to travel across the country, to return home, and find out what is going on.
But, immediately, Sophya is caught up in something. We just have no way of knowing what it is:
1) Is it a ghost story?
2) Is her Great-Aunt Eva really at home, sneaking around but healthy and happy?
3) Is everyone crazy?
4) Has anyone searched Aunt Eva's house?
But it doesn't help solve the mystery when they find her. There are still a lot of questions to be answered. SPOILER ALERT:
Don't read on if you haven't read the story yet and don't want any info about the story leaked out.SPOILERS:
One question is why did Eva leave everything to Sophya and not her own daughter, Emma? There are so many more questions. Like, what really happened to Lyndley or Lindsey? And why did she kill herself so suddenly?
It makes for a page-turner.
BUT, then, I got to the end. And, I felt "slightly" cheated. Kind of like when Dorothy woke up back home in Kansas with all her friends from Oz surrounding her. Nothing was real.
The same is true here: Towner really was crazy.
And I have more questions now than I had in my head at the half-way marker, in the middle of the book:
1) Did Towner have a split personality or can everything simply be explained away by hysteria and hallucinations?
2) If it was a split personality, did the alter ego surface because she was s. abused by Cal?
3) Was any of the abuse real or was that another part of her hysteria?
4) Was Sophya crazy from birth or did that develop because of her father's s. abuse?
I don't want to ruin it for everyone and it was an interesting story but, like I said, I felt a little cheated at the end. But, if Brunonia Barry decided to write a sequel that answered all my questions...
Well then, the Lace Reader would be a great book.