Monday, October 19, 2009

The Lace Reader

Book No: 51
Title: The Lace Reader
Author: Brunonia Barry
Genre: Fiction
Completed: 9/17/09
No. of Pages: 388
Rating: 2.5/5*****

Thank goodness for libraries, because had I spent good money on this book I would have thrown it against the wall more than once, but I restrained myself as I didn’t own the book.

The title is intriguing, as is the premise of the book as presented on the blurb inside the cover, promising a story about a family of women who can read the future in the patterns of lace and the generations of secrets they guard. If only the book was actually about this family of women. The Whitney family of Salem Massachusetts is featured in the book and it does focus on several of the women, but the book is really about Towner/Sophya Whitney, who introduces herself as a person who lies all the time. So we have an unreliable narrator who is telling us the story of her sister’s death and her own mental breakdown. The lace reading plays a very small part in the story, what we are left with is a fairly weak psychological mystery.

This book meanders all over the place, the construction is wildly disjointed, characters come and go with no real purpose, the narrative changes perspective for no apparent reason, time jumps happen all the time and any storyline that holds any promise is abruptly dropped. The big ‘twist’ at the end was not very surprising; I had pretty much figured it out about half way through the book. So beware the hype surrounding this story and if you feel you still want to read it - borrow it.

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