Sunday, October 8, 2017

Brunonia Barry’s “The Lace Reader"

I have probably had a dozen people tell me to read this book, and somewhere along the way it ended up on my shelf, but I hadn’t touched it. Last week I was looking for something with a little magic in it, and I finally pulled The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry off of my shelf. It was exactly what I needed.

A little magic. A little history. A whole lot of Salem, MA.

It’s Salem that really won me. I’ve read a lot of books set in New England and often it is painfully obvious that author hasn’t spent a lot of time here. Perhaps they were inspired by one single trip to the region. I’ve written to authors to find out they hadn’t been here at all. This book, though, oozes Salem. I knew immediately Brunonia Barry must live in the area. She knows that little town, she understands how the town’s history has impacted its current tourism industry. She gets it.

Barry’s book has one unreliable narrator trying to figure out who she is, a missing woman, maybe a murder, maybe a suicide, some witches, a cult and a few psychics. So many intriguing details in this story, I couldn’t stop reading it.

The book is a tad confusing and for the first half I thought it was a bit hard to follow. It’s hard to tell what is reality, and what is not. It’s hard to follow the chronicle history of the characters as dreams and psychic revelations get in the way. I don’t want to say too much because spoilers suck, so let me say this the only way I know how: The confusion is intentional. Go with it. It will pay off.

I live just two hours north of Salem, and this book reminded me that I don’t spend nearly enough time there.

You may like Brunonia Barry if you like:

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Chocolat by Joanne Harris

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