The reviewer for Bookletters said, “If you choose to read just one novel in these waning days of summer, it should be the lovely and terrifically paced The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry.” This book is part historical novel (did you know that lace making was a key industry in Salem, Massachusetts?); part romance and part mystery.
The opening sentences drew me in immediately. “My name it Towner Whitney. No, that’s not exactly true. My real first name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time.”
And it gets better. Towner has returned home to Salem after a long absence because her Aunt, Eva, has drowned in the harbor during her daily swim. The death is suspicious and involves an accusation of witchcraft (of course – it’s Salem, after all), a local evangelist and the tea room Towner’s Aunt has been running.
And through it all runs the thread of lace and lacemaking and the women who can read the future in the patterns the lace makes. This is “a mesmerizing tale that spirals into a world of secrets” that leave you pondering the difference between fact and fiction, real and make-believe, the scientific and the fantastical. Meg