I'd read a lot of really good reviews about this book, but never purchased it. Recently, the author came out with another book, The Map of True Places which had also received excellent comments. I decided to go ahead and purchase both books when her second book came out and was really excited to get started on The Lace Reader.
Having been to Salem, Massachusetts it was very interesting to read about some of the places I'd been, the Witch Museum, the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion - which is the home that Nathaniel Hawthorne named his book The House of Seven Gables after, and the Custom House where he worked.
The part that seemed silly, was all of the 'real-life witches' (who were good of course) and the local cult members who stood on the corners of the streets and yelled epitaphs at the witches. And you can't forget those who could read the lace.
I think this last part - the witches, Calvinists and the lace readers was why I had a hard time getting into this book and into the characters. Don't get me wrong, the book kept my interest, but I wasn't necessarily invested in the characters.
Or at least I wasn't until the very end of the book. It was at this point where there is a really good surprise ending that I found myself caring for the characters and I wanted things to be set right for them.
The main character of the book Towner, is deeply depressed. There are secrets in her life that are hinted at and these secrets are slowly revealed throughout the book. The biggest secret of course, is left till the end. Towner had grown up in Salem but had moved to California to get away from the source of her depression: her family, the death of her twin sister, and her uncle who beat her Aunt Emma and raped her sister Lindsey. She only came back because her beloved Aunt Eva had died and left her house to her. This is pretty much where the book begins, though I may have given away some of the details that come a little later in the book.
It is what happens to Towner at the end of the book that got my attention and made me more interested in the book - and in fact made me give the book a point higher on my 1 to 10 scale than what I had originally planned to give it.
However, since my review is only luke-warm, I figured I should be fair and ought to present a couple of reviews that liked the book better than I did. Here are a two reviews from BookPage and from AmericanFiction. Take a look at one or both and if they spark your interest, maybe borrow the book from the library. That way you don't have to invest money in buying it!