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Customer Reviews for

Lace Reader

Average Rating 3.5
( 188 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(47)

4 Star

(64)

3 Star

(41)

2 Star

(19)

1 Star

(17)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Not What You Expect

The author set the stage perfectly in this amazing book, ¿My name is Towner Whitney. No, that¿s not exactly true. My real name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time.¿ Towner Whitney had a rough life, at seventeen her twin sister died leaving Towner hospitalize...
The author set the stage perfectly in this amazing book, ¿My name is Towner Whitney. No, that¿s not exactly true. My real name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time.¿ Towner Whitney had a rough life, at seventeen her twin sister died leaving Towner hospitalized to undergo shock therapy. Soon afterward, Towner leaves Salem and moves cross-country to California. When she receives news of the death of her Great Aunt Eva, Towner makes the dreaded trip back home after a fifteen-year absence. Her return sparks lots of emotions and gossip and the story begins to unfold. The telling of a family history of the women in the Whitney family, who live life quite differently from everyone else and have a unique magical ability to read lace. Interwoven into the story is the background of Towner and her twin sister. Adding to the story is the random disappearance of a young woman tied to the family by strings unknown. The author manages to captivate the audience with her potent descriptions of Salem and its history. Layering and adding multiple stories, giving select information and perceptions to the reader, and throwing twists and turns around every corner, the final chapters explode into perfection. The Lace Reader is quirky and unique in its own way, but the style the author uses makes it a must read for anyone looking for something just off center. High praises for The Lace Reader and Brunonia Barry. Valerie Jones

posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Ok, not great

Based upon the summary and other reviews I was looking forward to reading the book. The idea of reading lace was intriguing and the setting sounded mysterious. I was all set for a weekend of escapist reading but was disappointed and ended up annoyed. The book started ...
Based upon the summary and other reviews I was looking forward to reading the book. The idea of reading lace was intriguing and the setting sounded mysterious. I was all set for a weekend of escapist reading but was disappointed and ended up annoyed. The book started out interesting, the plot went nowhere. The concept of lace reading was original but other than that it was filled with stereotypical characters (can anyone say recovering alcoholic Irish cop?, among others) Although the descriptions of people and places were well written, the plot was not. It was cluttered with non-essentials. By the end of the book, I really didn't care what happened to any of the characters. There are several reasons why I can't recommend the book, but it would spoil it for someone else who might not share my opinions. I was glad I checked it out of the library rather than purchasing.

posted by 611084 on March 2, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    Ok, not great

    Based upon the summary and other reviews I was looking forward to reading the book. The idea of reading lace was intriguing and the setting sounded mysterious. I was all set for a weekend of escapist reading but was disappointed and ended up annoyed. The book started out interesting, the plot went nowhere. The concept of lace reading was original but other than that it was filled with stereotypical characters (can anyone say recovering alcoholic Irish cop?, among others) Although the descriptions of people and places were well written, the plot was not. It was cluttered with non-essentials. By the end of the book, I really didn't care what happened to any of the characters. There are several reasons why I can't recommend the book, but it would spoil it for someone else who might not share my opinions. I was glad I checked it out of the library rather than purchasing.

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2008

    Not What You Expect

    The author set the stage perfectly in this amazing book, ¿My name is Towner Whitney. No, that¿s not exactly true. My real name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time.¿ Towner Whitney had a rough life, at seventeen her twin sister died leaving Towner hospitalized to undergo shock therapy. Soon afterward, Towner leaves Salem and moves cross-country to California. When she receives news of the death of her Great Aunt Eva, Towner makes the dreaded trip back home after a fifteen-year absence. Her return sparks lots of emotions and gossip and the story begins to unfold. The telling of a family history of the women in the Whitney family, who live life quite differently from everyone else and have a unique magical ability to read lace. Interwoven into the story is the background of Towner and her twin sister. Adding to the story is the random disappearance of a young woman tied to the family by strings unknown. The author manages to captivate the audience with her potent descriptions of Salem and its history. Layering and adding multiple stories, giving select information and perceptions to the reader, and throwing twists and turns around every corner, the final chapters explode into perfection. The Lace Reader is quirky and unique in its own way, but the style the author uses makes it a must read for anyone looking for something just off center. High praises for The Lace Reader and Brunonia Barry. Valerie Jones

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 13, 2010

    Everyone's reality is different...

    When I was young I assumed reality was just that - real, and therefore the same for everyone. Life experiences have proven that everyone's reality is really based on life experiences and your own filters. This book is a wonderful example of someone living with those around them and having a completly unique reality.

    The caracters are well drawn but not drawn out. The "city" of Salem is as much a caracter as the people.

    A great book! I look forward to Ms. Barry's new book "The Map of True Places".

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Beware: Not About Witchcraft!

    I had a difficult time connecting to the characters in the beginning. I had a fellow book reader tell me to "forget about the witchcraft it was just dressing. The book is about abuse." I took that advice and was able to settle into the story.

    Townser opens the book warning that she is a habitual liar. This sets the stage: there is more to the story than meets the eye. Set in Salem and drawing on the history of the region (witchcraft and Underground Railroad) Barry does an excellent job of weaving a complicated tale that reveals the impact of severe physical and sexual abuse while also showing the resilency of the human spirit and the healing powers of love and forgiveness.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Not for Me!

    If you like a book with lots of local descriptions where plot and action are secondary, than this is for you. This book just never captured my attention, possibly because I do not subscribe to phrenology, mind reading, or lace reading as did many characters in the book. Way too fanciful for me.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A New England Tale that was more of a miss than a hit

    Being from the area where this story takes place, I was very excited to read this book. I had recently read the Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and loved it! Unfortunately this book did not live up to my expectations. The author has an interesting story to tell, and is clearly familiar with the Salem, Massachusetts area, but there were way too many local references. After a while I began to wonder if she was being paid by the mention of local restaurants and attractions. I also found the characters for the most part unlikeable with exception of one or two. The fundamental religious component was also weird and disturbing. My book club (aside from me) enjoyed this book, so you don't have to take my word for it. I personally couldn't wait for it to be over and done.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    I'm with "Are you Kidding me?" Not a good read

    I too read the reviews and thought this would be a quirky but interesting and good read - it wasn't. I read it on tape - and contrary to what others have said - I did not think it was very good. The book is a muddy mess. It was relatively easy to figure out - you could tell where the author was heading = but it didn't make sense. Don't waste your time. Too many books, too little time... leave this one behind.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Unsatisfying

    I felt I had wasted my time and had really looked forward to the book. One must remember that one of the first paragraphs did state "I have always been a liar."

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

    Are you kidding me?

    I bought this book several months ago, after reading a great review. It sounded like a good story, and a good vacation read. Maybe it's just me, but reading all 300+ pages was torture and the only reason I finished the book was the fact I bought it. It is definitely not the kind of book you can't wait to read the next chapter. It is slow, depressing and you have the "surprise ending" figured out about 1/3 of the way through. I definitely do not recommend.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An ending of epic proportions...

    This will suck you in and hold you so far into the plot until the very end! Once there, you'll have to read it again just to make your brain feel better about missing it the first time! I loved the main character and even after I put the book down felt as though she were a good friend that just went a little wayward.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    Keeps you guessing

    This book was a little hard to get into, but when I did, I couldn't put it down. The book was compelling and always kept me wondering what was going to happen. We read the book for my book club and I can't wait to discuss it next week to see what everyone else's thoughts were when they finished. It would be worth a second read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    the LACE READER.....not to be read delicately!

    Given the spirit of Halloween, cold, raw and rainy days, and in the mood to take a virtual trip back to my home state of Massachusetts, I recently picked up Brunonia Barry's the LACE READER. As I titled this review, it is a book to be read delicately, as there is such an abundance of detail, twists and turns throughout that you just may miss something if you breeze through even a paragraph.

    Barry easily made this fictional story come to life in the way she carefully describes the main setting of Salem, Massachusetts - so much so that the reader at times forgets what is fiction and what is fact.

    Some may have a hard time following the story as the narration switches perspectives, but my attention was held throughout, and I would definitely recommend it to others.

    Well done, Ms. Barry! I look forward to reading more of your work!

    J.R. Reardon
    author, CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    WOW! Lies or misinterpretation?

    This is a one-of-a-kind! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Lies or misinterpretaion? Magic? Lace reading? Witches? MYTERIOUS and SURPRISING!! EXCITING READ! ENJOY!

    A few more books I'm crazy about are, THE HELP, by K. Stocket, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by L. Pirrung, and SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME......MASTERIECES!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2008

    Great Book!

    As someone who lives in Salem, was born and raised here, I really enjoyed this book. I think the author could have gotten into the lace reading a little bit more (but I think that's being saved for a second book) but I LOVED this book. It left me wanting more and I was very impressed on how she expressed the character of this town. Salemites can be a tough nut to crack, but I think she really captured the spirit (pun intended) of this town. I think she catpured the pull the town has between those who view wicca as a religion and those who wish all the witchiness would just go away so we could be known for our rich maritime history instead. This book does the difficult task of honoring BOTH at the same time. The story was good and I surprisingly learnt about a City I thought I knew EVERYTHING about. Highly encourage reading this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    Awesome literary debut! Poetic, mysterious.

    In the town of Salem, Massachusetts, innocent women needing to be controlled were once accused of witchcraft. Now Salem plays host to a group of women who openly parade around as witches and a whole tourist industry reenacts the past in broad daylight. A new religious group calling themselves the Calvinists goes about admonishing and threatening witches and unusual or strong women. Towner's great aunt is a lace reader, a woman who can read the future in lace. Her home and the lace reader group become a sanctuary for women escaping their abusive husbands. Together this circle of women find support and strength.// Towner comes back to town after her aunt Eva goes missing, embarking on a journey that puts her past and present life into perspective. She meets Rafferty, the detective intent on solving the case. Together, their perspectives create an aura of mystery to the events of both the past and present. Towner narrates the history of Salem, Salem's current life, her own personal history and her present in a unique pattern as finely interwoven as lace. Each chapter is prefaced by a quote from the Lace Reader's Guide written by Eva describing the art, history and technique of lace reading and the Ipswich lace makers. Towner's life is like the lace with fine threads all interwoven yet converging. The reader follows all the strands in her life, not as a straight direct kind of plot, but as different memories, some reliable and others imagined, all forming the uniqueness of a piece of art---the life of human being. Brunonia Barry's narrative presents a portrait of Towner not as an isolated separate individual but a person with whom other lives converge. Yellow Dog Island's circle of women reinforces this theme on the interconnectedness of individuals.// This novel was incredible. Brunonia Berry does deal with some hard issues like spousal abuse so if you are looking for a light, happy easy read, this is not a good choice. That warning being said, this novel was awesome! THE LACE READER inspires readers to follow with the imagination and go it where it leads. By the end, all the narrative threads and images add up to something spectacular and rich as past and present and landscape, history and the personal all combine. THE LACE READER is a novel built in layers and nuances like a person's life or like the memories in the mind or like the depths of psychology. THE LACE READER has some surprising and poetic twists towards the end. There is no guaranteed happy easily resolved ending --- but the ending has it's own kind of satisfying richness that combines deep emotion, sadness, even trauma into a new beginning and a new sense of freedom. Beautifully poetic!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Don't Bother

    I was very excited to read this book as the concept of reading lace seemed very intriguing. However, quite early on in the book it became apparent that the author was going nowhere fast. The plot lost momentum very early on and the characters were not well developed and therefore not very likable.The characters seemed to show up out of the blue with not much reason. It's as if the author didn't know where she was heading and simply decided to sprinkle in characters that did not make much sense. Often 50 to 75 pages would go by with not much happening at all. Don't bother wasting money on this one, get it from the library if you must! I'm glad I did as opposed to buying it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Hard to Put Down

    This book is a quick read and it's hard to put down. It has a surprise ending that will make you think.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    Entertaining, intriguing and surprising

    This book was very interesting and a lot of fun. It had good depth of character and some surprising twists and turns, and I'm not usually one to be surprised by changes in story direction. I very much enjoyed it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Surprise Ending

    I can usually guess how a story will end or what will happen in a later chapter but I'm happy to admit I did not see this ending coming! It made the book much more interesting for me because of this and I recommend other know it all readers to give it a try. You wont be disappointed!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an exceptional book . . . .

    What a mysterious, soul grabbing book! This is the kind of story that when you get to the ending, it makes you wish you remembered every little detail all the way from the beginning of the story, to better help you grasp the ending. . . . . there was no way I saw that coming! I love these kind of stories and appreciate being suprised rather than thinking I have it all figured out. Thank you Brunonia Barry - what a great first offering from a promising, gifted writer! I look forward to your next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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