I pulled The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry out of a pile of donations to price at the Used Book Store and I don’t know why the heck I started reading it. The heroine begins by outing herself as a liar, which turned me off in a big way. Then she amended the statement to say that she is crazy. Either way, an “unreliable narrator”.
Well. That is slightly more interesting. After a chapter, I decided to buy it myself.
Towner has returned to her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts because her great-aunt Eva has disappeared. They are a family of psychics that can see flashes of the future in lace. Towner has rejected her blahblahblah, moved to sunny California and never meant to return. She arrives at Eva’s house and Eva is there, telling her to rest or whatever. She falls asleep and Eva’s body is found in the water about a million miles away. That wasn’t heavy-handed or anything.
You have the “mother”, May, who lives on an island running a sort of shelter/commune of abused women and children. She seems to have been inspired after Towners’ twin sister, Lindley, who was sexually abused by her father, killed herself. The father is now a born-again bastard with a band of evil followers that exorcise demons at a nearby campground. Seriously. There is also a sub-plot with another young victim and then there is the local cop/love interest.
The big reveal first occurred to me at about the halfway point of the novel, and I felt stupid for not seeing it sooner. I don’t want to SPOILER anything here, but hello, My Sweet Audrina. However, I will give Barry credit because there were plenty of red herrings that made me doubt my conclusion. If I hadn’t made the guess as soon as I did, I would’ve had several moments of The Sixth Sense – having to rewind that sucker.
Also, there are several interesting supporting characters that I enjoyed, such that I could envision the WB television adaptation: sort of a Gilmore Girls meets The Medium. I’d watch that show.
So. While the ending was almost entirely expected, the ride was pretty fun.