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Jakarta Post

`The Lace Reader': Unravelling an embroidered puzzle

  • Sara Veal


Jakarta   /   Sun, January 24 2010   /  12:30 pm

Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader, a delicately crafted mystery about generations of women in Salem, Massachusetts, is deceptively light, yet intricately patterned, much like lace itself. A mesmerizing first novel, it casts a powerful spell with its involving exploration of memory, misogyny and magic. Like all the women in her family, Towner Whitney can read the past, present and future in patterns of lace, particularly in the Ipswich lace handmade by the ladies of Salem using centuries-old methods. It's a curse as much as a gift, with a disturbing vision catalyzing her departure from Salem 15 years previously. She returns home when her beloved great-aunt disappears, an event that forces her to confront her fractured and forgotten past, and discover what really happened to her twin sister all those years ago. The Lace Reader reads like a dream, with misleadingly simple pros...