Today it is my great pleasure to be Brunonia Barry’s host on her TLC Book Tour for her novel, The Lace Reader. I have had this book on my shelf now for almost exactly a year, so when I was asked to take part in this tour I was excited to say yes. Because I already had a copy of this novel, I am making the copy from the book tour a giveaway.
I have a lot of fun working as a tour host for TLC Book Tours. Check out their website for more information on this tour and the others that they are hosting.
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
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.
Thus begins The Lace Reader, a novel about a young woman, a family, and a city plagued and, in some cases, haunted by history. Towner has spent a good portion of her adult life in mental hospitals or dealing with her mental illness and the complications of the shock treatments she willingly underwent. She grew up on Yellow Dog Island, just off the coast of Salem, Massachuttes. After leaving the mental hospital, she leaves for California in hopes of running away from the death of her twin sister Lindley. She does not get on well with her agoraphobic mother, and may not have ever returned to Salem if it weren’t for a call from her brother telling her that Eva, her grandfather’s second wife, was missing. She was recovering from a hysterectomy, but she could not stay away from her hometown. Eva, a woman reknown for her lace readings who encourages Towner to embrace the gift she has as well, means so much to her. What Towner finds when she returns is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. She must pull the pieces of her life together and come to terms with her past because running away mearly delayed the inevitable.
If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know that I really enjoy an unreliable narrator when that character is done well. Towner fits into this category so very well. How could I not be drawn into her life through those opening lines? Brunonia Barry goes one step further and makes the reader wonder if Towner is as unreliable as she thinks she is and then, in my case, forget altogether. This is accomplished throughthe vivid characters, a truly awful set of religious fanatics that take the city back to the 17th century, and the introduction of Rafferty, a Salem police officer, who takes over the narration. The interplay between Towner and Rafferty’s narration is suble and the outcome is one terrific read.
I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity reader in that I enjoy and can relate to male characters just as well as female characters. It’s been a long time since I have felt for male characters in a novel the way I felt toward Rafferty. He is not originally from Salem. He’s worked in the police force there for two years. He as a teenage daughter and an ex-wife in New York City. He is a recovering alcoholic looking to live a useful, sober life. While Towner was living in exhile in California, Rafferty grew close to Eva and, for lack of further explanation, learnned to rely upon her readings and opinions. His desire to make Salem a safe place for all and to protect Towner and Angela, another lost soul, endeared him to me. As much as I grew to love Towner, Rafferty made this novel for me.
The Lace Reader was fantastic. This modern view of Salem and how the ciy’s history plays a role in the lives of her citizens, such as Ann, the local wiccan spokeswoman, is interesting and thought provoking (where is a local book club when I need it?). Although I’ve never been to Salem, I got the feeling of what it would be like to live in such a popular vacation destination, one where people reenacted the city’s darkest and most shameful historical periods on a daily basis. I bought this in hardcover when it first came out after reading many wonderful reviews, but it sat on my shelf for almost exactly a year. It waited patiently on my shelf until I joined this tour. As much as I really enjoyed my first read, I’m kicking myself because this could have been my opportunity to re-read it. As soon as I had finished it, I wanted to start all over again. Novels don’t get much better than that.
Brunonia Barry’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS
Monday, August 24th – books i done read
Wednesday, August 26th – Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?
Monday, August 31st – Savvy Verse & Wit
Tuesday, September 1st – Cindy’s Love of Books
Thursday, September 3rd – Eclectic Book Lover
Friday, September 4th – Shhh I’m Reading
Monday, September 7th – Literate Housewife
Wednesday, September 9th – Bookopolis
Thursday, September 10th – The Book Lady’s Blog
Monday, September 14th – Biblioaddict
Tuesday, September 15th – Trish’s Reading Nook
Thursday, September 17th – Books and Movies
For a chance to win a paperback copy of this novel, please leave a comment. I’ll use List Randomizer to draw the winner on Friday, September 11.
To buy this novel, click here.