I crossed something off my list at last!!
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really liked this book, although I was confused at times. Part of the reason for my confusion was the fact that I had too many interruptions while reading it. The organization of the book didn't help. The story is told from multiple points of view which can be distracting under ordinary reading circumstances.
With all that being said, I did really like this book. Towner Whitney has returned to her hometown of Salem. She has a troubled past which includes hospitalization in a psychiatric ward, the mysterious death of her twin sister, and a highly dysfunctional family. Her mother is agoraphobic but she runs a shelter for abused women who make the famed Ipswich lace. Her aunt Eva has died and left Towner her home. Cal Boynton, another aunt's husband, is the leader of a fundamental cult that harasses the Salem witch community, and is a recognized abuser. Cal is accused of the possible murder of the missing woman he was living with. All of the Whitney women have the gift of "reading lace", but Towner refuses to accept this gift. This complicated story traces the events that follow Towner's return to Salem. I was totally unprepared for the surprise twist at the end that ties everything together in a very satisfying package. (This is not to say it's a happy ending kind of story, but it a satisfying end.)
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