Brunonia Barry’s The Lace Reader
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
Brunonia Barry, a screenwriter, tells this supernatural mystery in a series of powerful vignettes that move back and forth in time. Towner Whitney tells her own story even though she is an unreliable narrator with “gaps” in her memory. Towner comes from an old Salem family known for a predilection toward quirkiness and an uncanny ability to “read” lace. Unfortunately, what Towner sees in the lace on her seventeenth birthday nearly causes her to lose her mind. Exactly what causes Towner’s mental breakdown is just one of the many mysteries in this multi-layered gem. Switching deftly between first and third person, Clark also introduces Detective Rafferty, a burned-out cop from New York City, who simultaneously investigates the strange death of Towner’s eccentric great Aunt and the bizarre disappearance of Angela Rickey. Towner and Rafferty, while tentatively exploring a relationship of their own, must also contend with two warring factions–the witches of Salem and the fervent Calvinists led by Cal Boynton.