Sunday 22 July 2018

Carole's Sunday Review: The Lace Reader

Author: Brunonia Barry

Title: The Lace Reader
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, & Magical Realism 
Pages: 390
Published: 2006 
Where I Got It: Borrowed from friend

In the tradition of The Thirteenth Tale, Brunonia Barry’s bewitching gothic novel, The Lace Reader, is a phenomenon. Called “[a] richly imagined saga of passion, suspense, and magic” by Time Magazine, it is a haunting and remarkable tale told by an unforgettable, if strangely unreliable narrator—a woman from an enigmatic Salem family who can foretell the future in patterns of lace. The Lace Reader was a runaway New York Times bestseller—hitting the top lists in major cities across the country, from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles—and has immediately established debut author Brunonia Barry as a major force in contemporary American fiction.

My friend suggested I give this a read since she had read it and wasn't completely sure on her feelings, so she wanted to see what I thought and she thought I might like it may be more than she did. 

I am unsure, to be honest. 

The story follows Towner who can read lace. She had left town to get away from the drama and the town. Things happen and she must return so she can help try and solve the mystery of her Great-aunt's disappearance who had taught her the way of reading lace. She really doesn't want to since she will be facing a lot of drama and memories that haunt her. 

Unreliable narrators are always tricky. They can be interesting but then there is that shadow over the story so it can make it hard to truly grasp or understand the story. Which there really were times I was so doubtful that I just assumed none of it was real or accurate. I wanted to feel bad for Towner, but I had a hard time believing her especially since had that brain thing done to her which messed with her memory. 

The characters were the most interesting part of the story, but the story itself? Eh. I had a hard time really getting into the story because it was so stagnant and at times it was confused on what type of story it wanted to be. When things DID happen, it HAPPENED and I was hooked. However, there were very few times. 

Overall, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. It was simply just okay. The only thing that saved it from being bad was the characters. I was intrigued by them, but the story fell flat for me. I'll give this 2 stars. 


  1. Just okay is still better than awful.

  2. I always have a hard time with unreliable narrators.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  3. I read this a long time ago. A bit confusing for me.

  4. Sounds kind of creepy. But I'm also not a big fan of the unreliable narrator. Thanks for the review, Carole!



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