Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Search - The Lace Reader

The Lace Reader
The Lace Reader
Author: Brunonia Barry
Look into the lace... 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. — Can you read your future in a piece of lace? All of the Whitney women can. But the...  more »
Info icon
ISBN-13: 9780061624773
ISBN-10: 0061624772
Publication Date: 9/1/2009
Pages: 416
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 138 ratings
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Lace Reader on + 74 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Towner Whitney is forced to return to Salem MA, after an absence of almost 15 years, when her Great-Aunt Eva goes missing. Once she is back in Salem Towner soon finds out that she will need to confront the ghosts of her past in order to move on into her future. Through a series of flashbacks and memories the reader finds out that the Whitney family is not quite what they seem. The story is filled with a cast of eccentric characters from Towner's mother May who refuses to step a foot off the island she lives on, to her uncle Calvin who has been saved and has started his own religious cult at a local campground, to a collection of witches who seem to have gravitated to Salem because of it's historical past.
The writing in this story is excellent and there were many features that made this book appeal to me. Each chapter is prefaced with a quote from The Lace Reader's Guide by Eva Whitney which is a convention I found appealing in itself. However, these little excerpts do more than just introduce the tone of each chapter, They end up providing important foreshadowing of what is to come later in the book. Meanwhile, the true story of Towner's family is revealed to the reader slowly, memory by painful memory, as Towner actually draws her past back to her consciousness out from the mental "lock-box" where she has stored all her Salem memories away. Then, one final twist at the very end of the story makes the reader to want to go back and start the story all over again, re-reading it with the new eyes.
This is a great book that will keep you guessing throughout.
RedHeadDread avatar reviewed The Lace Reader on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
The Lace Reader is not Great Literature (thank god), but I did enjoy it very much. It's a little more thriller-y than my usual thing, however it's not exactly a thriller either. I did not see that *particular* big twist at the end coming though there were more minor plot twists I did anticipate, which was fine. I'd been through a string of unsatisfactory books recently and this ended it. In short, my reading palate has been satisfactorily cleansed by this book. It is not as sorbet-y as that metaphor might lead one to believe--it's got more gravitas than a sorbet--but it was certainly refreshing. I'd recommend it as a good summer beach read but with more heft than that might might ordinarily imply. It's not a potato chip read, more like pita chips and hummous. Snacky, tasty, but not unhealthy or empty calories.

Now that I think about it, it kind of reminds me of The Time Traveler's Wife for reasons that I cannot quite pin down in my own mind. Partly it's that it is mainstream fiction with a little skid into the speculative/paranormal realm, not enough to scare the normals of course, just enough to make things more interesting. I am a sucker for a sympathetic but unreliable narrator, and Barry's book has that in spades. I predict good things for Ms. Barry if she can keep this up.
katieanddustin avatar reviewed The Lace Reader on + 37 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I had such high hopes for this book. I really thought it would delve into at least a fictional account of the Salem Witch Trials. It may have, but I am half way through this book and have given up! I really enjoy authors who write with style, but Ms. Barry's style is too elusive and complicated to enjoy.
PPatter avatar reviewed The Lace Reader on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I did not care for this book. The story seemed disjointed to me. At one point, the main character stated that she was crazy. That's what I felt about the whole book. It just never grabbed ny attention. The author seemed to jump from one thing to another with no real flow. I could not finish it. I read about 140-150 pages to give it a fair shot. It just never went 'bang'.
SanJoseCa avatar reviewed The Lace Reader on + 328 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The story is about a young woman returning home to Salem after being away for 15 years. All the women in her family are thought to be witches by many of the members in the community. She returns to deal with the disappearance of a favorite aunt and also tries to come to terms with the death of her twin sister.
The ending almost made me cry, I found it very moving. The authors use of changing the points of view was confusing to me, but ultimately added to the story.
The art of lace reading is interesting and I was surprised to find out that it was something the author made-up. It fits very well into the story and played a major role in the lives of the characters.
I loved the book!
Read All 21 Book Reviews of "The Lace Reader"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed The Lace Reader on + 13 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. The author painted a really colorful picture of all of the main characters. I also liked the way she described the setting. It's in Salem, Mass. an area I'm not overly familiar with, but the description made me feel as though I knew exactly what it looked like. I liked this book while I was reading it, but after discussing it with my book club, we all found even more ways to look at the characters and the outcome of the book. What is true and what is fiction? I think it's up for the reader to decide.

I also saw the author at a bookstore signing and discussion of her novel. She mentioned that she is writing another book associate with The Lace Reader. I will definitely be reading it.
SuziL avatar reviewed The Lace Reader on + 25 more book reviews
Odd book, strange premise, ultimately okay.
reviewed The Lace Reader on + 3 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book very much, and i was reaching for something different from the type of books i had been reading. It held my interest all the way.
jerilynea avatar reviewed The Lace Reader on + 6 more book reviews
Interesting and unexpected...worth a read.
reviewed The Lace Reader on
Very confusing. Kept waiting for it to come around to a conclusion and the one that came around was just plain odd. Can't even put my finger on it. Not something I would recommend to anyone.

Book Wiki

Common Title
Towner (Sophya) Whitney (Primary Character)
John Rafferty (Detective) (Major Character)
Eva Whitney (Aunt) (Major Character)
Cal Boynton (Minor Character)
Lyndley Whitney (Minor Character)
(Show all 7 People/Characters)
Fictional Places
Important Events


Want fewer ads?