Brunonia Barry's "The Lace Reader" is a complicated novel. It tells the story of Towner, a thirty something year old woman who has returned to Salem, MA from California after her beloved great aunt has gone missing. The reader quickly discovers Towner fled Salem after a series of traumatic events, which she begins reliving soon after coming to town. A series of violent events begin happening to people close to Towner, and it soon looks like Towner herself may be the next victim. A fantastic twist at the end of the novel leaves everyone--including the reader--in shock at the magic and mystery that surrounds old Salem.
"The Lace Reader" is a hard novel to get into, and then to follow. Three characters narrate different parts of the novel, the story does not follow a linear time sequence, and several of the characters are constantly changing their version of the story. On top of these obstacles, Barry's language is choppy and often confusing making it hard for the reader to follow the complicated story line. This novel would have benefited from a good editor and some enhancement of the central storyline, which at times becomes so vague the reader isn't sure what's happening.
Overall, the story in the "The Lace Reader" was interesting, but too disjointed to really like. I would recommend this book to people interested in Salem or in witchcraft, but not necessarily to the casual reader.