Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

Copyright: 2008
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 385
challenges: None
New-to-me author?  yes

Simple Description:
The following was taken from the author's website:
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 which spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies and half-truths where 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."

Why did I read this book?
I read the description of the book and thought it sounded rather interesting.

About the book:
While Towner is recuperating from surgery, she receives a phone call from her brother.  Her Aunt Eva has been missing for 10 days.  It's time for Towner to come home.   The reason Towner has been gone for so long is because she needed to escape her family.  While she loved Eva, she couldn't deal with May, her mom, or her sisters father, Cal.  Cal abused her and the caused her sisters suicide.  Towner has never fully healed from that.

While Towner is in Salem, Eva's body is found.  At the reading of the will, Towner realizes that Eva left her almost everything.  She must accept her inheritance or the money will go to the church.  Towner accepts it, so that Emma, Eva's sister will be taken care of.  Cal was Emma's husband.  She was also abused.  She is now blind and has mental damage due to the last beating Cal gave her.

While in town, Towner starts hanging out with one of the detectives, Rafferty.  He has been out to get Cal arrested since he moved to Salem.  One of Cal's followers (he has a religious following) has also been missing and she is also pregnant with his child.  Since this girl has been beaten badly before, they suspect that this time Cal killed her.

The story all comes together when Towner and this girl must figure out a way to escape Cal's followers, or they will both be killed.

What I liked Most:
The ending.  The ending was my favorite part of the book.  I enjoyed seeing everything come to a close and figuring out exactly what was happening.  I really didn't figure out the ending either. 

Was there something I didn't like?
Honestly, I was rather confused through the first part of the book.  It took me awhile to really get used to how this story was written.  The author jumps from present time to the past and back and get the idea.  

Do I recommend the book?
This book has gotten a lot of great praise, however I thought it was just so-so.  Maybe it was because I was confused at times.  Maybe it was because I didn't see the ending coming and so didn't pick up on stuff that maybe I should have.  Maybe it was because I wasn't in the best of moods like reading this book. I'm not sure.   While I do think it ended up turning out to be a pretty good book, I wouldn't say it was my favorite.  I do think a lot of readers will like this book and love the twists and turns though.

Luckily, I have been saving website URl's to other reviews of this book.  So check out the links below to read what others had to say.

Honestly, I could swear that I read more reviews on the blogs I follow, but I can't seem to find them (even when I do a search!).'re stuck with those two.  I can tell you that both enjoyed the book a lot better than I did.  


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your honest review. This is in my stacks, but who knows when I'll get to it.

Beth F said...

Nice review and very well done. The book was confusing, and I have been wanting to reread it because I don't think the plot actually holds up once you know the ending. What I mean is that I believe there are scenes that make the ending impossible. I could be wrong. In any case, it could have used some tighter editing.

The lace stuff is only broadly accurate. In fact there are scenes involving the lacemaking that have become jokes among those of us who make bobbin lace.

I'm not quite sure why this book became so popular.

Kris said...

Bermudaonion - You're welcome. I'm interested to see what you think, when you eventually get to it.

Beth - Thanks! It sounds like I'm not alone in my thoughts regarding this book. I'm glad to hear it!

Literary Feline said...

I will be reading this one this year. Like you, I've heard such rave reviews about it. It is good to know though that you found it a bit confusing at first. I'll keep that in mind when I read it.

Ladytink_534 said...

I'd like to read this one eventually.

Kris said...

Literary Feline - I'll be curious to see what you think of the book.

LadyTink - I'm sure you'll get to it one of these days. I'll be interested in what you think of it too.