Question: How does one read a book that opens like this:
"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.
I am a crazy woman...That last part is true."
Answer: Very carefully!
While in a California hospital recovering from surgery, Towner Whitney, a disturbed thirty-ish woman, receives a lacemaker's pillow from her Great Aunt Eva. Towner is descended from a long line of lace readers: women who make intricately-patterned Ipswich lace, and can also read the intended lace-owner's future while looking into and through the lace. After receiving Eva's pillow, Towner feels a deep foreboding. Her fears are realized when her brother, Beezer, calls from Salem with the news that Aunt Eva is missing.
Towner quickly returns home to Salem determined to find Eva when she learns that a young woman associated with Eva is missing, too. She befriends and starts dating Detective Rafferty who is assigned to the missing persons cases. Towner can read minds and lace, plus she has precognition skills. Will she help Rafferty solve these cases before it is too late?
Complicating Towner's surgical recovery and relationships is her lingering grief over her twin's untimely death when they were both seventeen. This grief permeates everything, from her memories to her decisions about her future. Another complication is her coping with the memory of unspeakable abuse within her family. Deciphering what is real, imagined, and untrue makes this a challenging and fun book to read.
Brunonia Barry has written a fascinating book that has bits of history, romance, religious fanaticism, witchcraft, suspense, and several mysteries that seem as intricate and intertwined as Ipswich lace. Hint: Read this one with a totally open mind until the end. I hope you enjoy The Lace Reader!
Until next time...