I should probably stay away from New England doomed love stories that feature supernatural phenomena (see here.) But I tried again and despite Brunonia Barry’s best efforts (isn’t this a spectacular first name?) I just could not get into The Lace Readeror the heads of people who believe they can read the future in lace. Lace! I’ve heard of crystal balls and coffee grounds but lace?
The mannerist Lace Reader Manual excerpted in the headers of each chapter rubbed me the wrong way for each new chapter, reminding me of the inaneness of the whole idea. So I had little patience for the disturbed woman searching for the past of her mysterious twin in her dead not-quite-grandmother’s house. Not that the novel is devoid of promising characters. The wife-beater turned fundamentalist preacher, while evil, provides a variety of evil doings from coast to coast. And the good cop who tries to bring order to Salem, Massachusetts, with its fake witches and tourism dependent on said witches is perfectly sketched in his ordinary, level-headed behavior. But that was not enough to save the novel for me.