Old School Thursdays: The Lace Reader

An old review from 2008 about a book I got as a freebie from Booktagger.

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 mesmerising, 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.”

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry is a book where I didn’t really know what it was about, but one I’m glad I read. I found it to be so utterly engrossing, especially with Barry’s writing style which is direct and brusque, making it literally a page turner. That amazed me because for a style like that I don’t expect to become so engrossed. In fact I’m not usually a speed reader, but The Lace Reader is one of the very few books that I became so absorbed in I couldn’t help but read it quickly.

I was taken by surprise with it. It wasn’t predictable like I find so many books to be; it had lovely characters who were quirky, but at the same time completely normal to me (might be because I’m slightly eccentric myself, who knows), and the ending took me by surprise. It was something I wasn’t expecting and it made everything come together so perfectly, especially as you can’t help expecting something else, and then it all gets turned on it’s head.

I also love how it had little snippets of lace reading at the beginning of every chapter. I think that was a nice touch.

I’ve been reading up on Brunonia Barry. As soon as I read something that I really get into I can’t help but read up on the author (to see their writing history mainly) and even though she has written material before (material to me can mean anything from poetry to screen plays), this is her first original novel and I think it’s a champion effort.

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