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Sunday, October 28, 2012

"The Lace Reader" by Brunonia Barry-AudioBook by HarperCollins

Every gift has a price . . . Every piece of lace has a secret . . .

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 . . .

Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations, but the disappearance of two women brings Towner home to Salem and the truth about the death of her twin sister to light. The Lace Reader is a mesmerizing tale that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths in which the reader quickly finds it's nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction, but as Towner Whitney points out early on in the novel, "There are no accidents."

Publisher:  HarperCollins Audio
Genre:  General Fiction/Adult
Unabridged CDs
10 CD book   11 1/2 hours
Author:  Brunonia Barry

Read more about this book:  Brunonia Barry


Born and raised in Massachusetts, Brunonia Barry studied literature and creative writing at Green Mountain college in Vermont and at the University of New Hampshire and was one of the founding members of the Portland Stage Company. While still an undergraduate at UNH, Barry spent a year living in Dublin and auditing Trinity College classes on James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Barry’s love of theater led to a first job in Chicago where she ran promotional campaigns for Second City, Ivanhoe, and Studebaker theaters. After a brief stint in Manhattan, where she studied screenwriting at NYU, Barry relocated to California because she had landed an agent and had an original script optioned. Working on a variety of projects for several studios, she continued to study screenwriting and story structure with Hollywood icon Robert McKee, becoming one of the nine writers in his Development Group.

Brunonia’s love for writing and storytelling has taken her all across the country but after nearly a decade in Hollywood, Barry returned to Massachusetts where, along with her husband, she co-founded an innovative company that creates award-winning word, visual and logic puzzles. In recent years, she has written books for the Beacon Street Girls, a fictional series for ‘tweens. Happily married, Barry lives with her husband and her only child that just happens to be a 12-year-old Golden Retriever named Byzantium. The Lace Reader was her first original novel.

Barry is the first American Writer to win the Woman’s International Fiction Festival’s 2009 Baccante Award (for The Lace Reader.) Her second novel, The Map of True Places will be published 0n May 4, 2010.


I had another long driving trip to make last week...to Jacksonville and then on to a family reunion in Georgia, and back home to Naples, so I decided to reacquaint myself with author Brunonia Barry and so glad I did.  "The Lace Reader" on audiobook was exactly the right length for the trip and made it melt away for me.  Having read the book when it first came out years ago, it was fun to have someone read it to me again.

This is a generational story of women in Salem, MA, who are gifted in reading the future through several mediums, primarily lace.  The novel is rich in Salem history and locale...seafaring legend and rocky shores...witches and weird fellows abounding, and the book is fraught with lessons in lace-making and lace reading/prophecy. 

Primarily the novel traces the story of Towner Whitney who is called home from CA after many years of self-imposed exile.  Her "aunt" and guardian/mother has gone missing, and Towner is called to help find her.  Drawn home by this and the ghosts she's left behind, Towner tells the reader her life's story and we learn of the the dark secrets of the Whitney family.

While I was mesmerized by all the details of Salem and the Whitney family, I was often lost in the sequencing of the novel in this audio format.  Had I not read the book earlier, I would have found it difficult to follow.  My only criticism in an otherwise perfection of an audiobook.

Through a wonderful labyrinth of disclosures we learn what drove Towner to leave her home and family and what really drew her home again to her eventual healing.  The story is profound and beautiful, ugly and gorgeous at the same time.

Brunonia Barry never fails to entertain and leave us thinking...

I loved this one and highly recommend it!

5 stars            Deborah/TheBookishDame



Sounds awesome! I've never tried an audio book before. But it'd be awesome on a road trip. I'll have to try this book on my next trip. Thanks for the great review!


I think I have this in print. It sounds excellent.

Salem House Press

To find out more about the real tunnels in Salem read Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City and then take the cool Salem walking tour about them. Learn how 144 people hid behind the creation of a park to build a series of tunnels in Salem utilizing the nation's first National Guard to build them so a superior court justice, a Secretary of the Navy, and a bunch of Senators could avoid paying Jefferson's custom duties. Engineered by the son of America's first millionaire.

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