2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Beguiling and Bewitching,
This review is from: The Lace Reader (Hardcover)
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On the first page of `The Lace Reader' the principal character defines her family as `quirky' - and that is a defining description of the book itself. It is a complex and tragic story set in an alluring location (Salem) with bizarre characters (including witches) and all is not what it first appears to be. Some readers may dislike the American vocabulary and reliance on first person singular for much of Brunonia Barry's book, but this is more than offset by the author's skilful use of language to combine images and emotions and to seduce readers into imaginative interpretation. The plot is surreal and those priding themselves on being able to predict the outcome of a story will be challenged and have their credulity stretched by the dreamlike (and sometimes nightmarish) nature of `The Lace Reader'.
The puzzling paranormal theme is strengthened by haunting flashbacks to the past and by fearful glimpses to the future, and readers will find themselves transported to an illusionary world where reality is suspended. Without giving anything away to spoil the storyline, for review purposes it is sufficient to list some of the issues involved: mind reading, foretelling the future, mental breakdown, suicide, prejudice and hysteria, love and loyalty, family relationships, religion, witchcraft, violence and abuse, and more. Interwoven within these are dichotomies: life and death, happiness and sadness, truth and deception, victims and bullies, peace and trauma, and more. None of this is trivial; everything is integral, and with only a few minor loose-ends `The Lace Reader' converges to a satisfying conclusion. Read the book - be beguiled and bewitched.