The winner of The Lace Reader is #54, Stacy Gorkow! Congratulations, Stacy!
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Sometimes a book is read by EVERYONE, and for good reason. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry is one of those books.
The book opens with what I think is one of the most captivating opening lines I’ve read in a long time:
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.
So you go into this book being told by the main character that you should never believe her because she lies all the time. Awesome, right? An unreliable narrator. How is that not the basis for a fantastic book club discussion?
So you’re reading along and you find out Towner lives in California, having fled her hometown of Salem 15 years ago to check herself into a psychiatric hospital after her twin sister committed suicide. Towner received electro-shock therapy to help her mental issues, but it also erased a lot of her memories. When the story begins, Towner gets a call that she needs to come back to Salen, Massachusetts because her great-aunt Eva has gone missing. When Towner gets to Salem, you realize you haven’t even met the really crazy people, like Cal, who’s pretty much got a cult following and hates witches and the Whitney family and used to be married to Towner’s aunt , Emma, or Towner’s mom, May, who lives on an island near Salem and helps abused women escape their husbands/boyfriends, or Ann, who does lace readings and plays up the whole witch thing.
And the thing is, Towner doesn’t seem like the crazy liar she claims to be! She seems totally reasonable! Most of the book is narrated by Towner, with a small portion of it being narrated by the police officer, Rafferty, who is investigating Eva’s disappearance, so I was trying to figure out what was real and what was a lie. Towner seems so damn reasonable that I started to wonder if perhaps being a liar was in itself a lie.
There are more SHUT UP and WTF moments in The Lace Reader than I’ve read in a long time. This *is* a hard book to put down, as Barry has crafted a very compelling and fascinating story. Every time you’ve got the story straight in your head, the author throws in a twist that just blows your mind. It is so refreshing for an author to be able to keep a reader guessing! And the ending! Oh, the ending…
The Lace Reader is more character driven than plot driven. The story tends to meander, and while I don’t think this is a problem per se, it makes it hard to write the review and hard to tell people what the book is about. There’s SO MUCH to the story, and I just want to discuss the book, not beat around the bush about how great it was.
I’m eagerly awaiting the author’s next novel, which she is apparently working on right now, as she has a unique ability to craft a very intricate story.
This post was part of the TLC Book Tours tour for The Lace Reader. Make sure you check out the rest of the tour for this fantastic book!
There are all kinds of cool things going on with The Lace Reader.
- Make sure you check out The Lace Reader’s book trailer.
- Soon, LaceReader.com will also have a downloadable t-shirt iron-on design and printable signage for booksellers.
- In the September issue of Book Page, there will be a sweepstakes in which the grand prize is a trip for two to Salem, two nights at The Hawthorne Hotel, and a guided Lace Reader tour of Salem with Brunonia.
Also, the author is going on tour again, and here’s her schedule:
- 9/8 – Bellingham, WA – Village Books – Reading and Signing
- 9/10 – Oakland – A Great Good Place for Books – Reading and Signing (I will probably be at this signing if anyone wants to join me!)
- 9/12 – San Mateo – M is for Mystery…and More – Reading and Signing
- 9/14 – Los Angeles – Vroman’s Bookstore – Reading and Signing
- 9/15—Edwards, CO – VIP Customer Book Club Event
- 9/20—Andover, MA – Meet the Author Benefit for PATHS
Events are still being lined up in:
- New England
Now for the giveaway. I have ONE paperback copy to give away. The contest will run through September 8, 2009. All you have to do is answer this question (if you don’t answer this question, I will come to your house and torture you with tickles for not reading the DIRECTIONS):
Have you ever had a…premonition that came true? Call it whatever you want: a weird feeling, indigestion, whatever. I want to know what it was that came true! If this has never happened to you, then just tell me that.
The contest is open internationally. You can get an extra +1 entry by either tweeting or stumbling this post, just come back and leave a comment that you did so.