Thursday, August 07, 2008

Review: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

Barry, Brunonia. The Lace Reader. New York: Wm. Morrow, 2008.

From the moment I read the first paragraph (My name is TOWNER WHITNEY. No, that's not exactly true. My real first name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time.), I knew that I was in for a different sort of read. In spite of her admonition, I fell for some of her stories and was surprised by parts of the ending. This book is set in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem, as we all know, gained its reputation as a "witch town" because of the 1692 trials. Those who were convicted at that time (including my 8th great grand-aunt) were not, of course, witches, but the town now has a substantial population of those practicing Wicca. A cult group called the "Calvinists" (not to be confused with those who following the teachings of John Calvin) who follow Cal Boynton are exorcising the demons in the witches (and others they believe are witches) in town. They figure prominently in the narrative.

There is occasional profanity in the book, but it is mild compared to many contemporary works of literature. As a Christian, I wish that the author had chosen another name for her cult group so as not to confuse them with true Calvinists who follow the teachings of John Calvin. I also have issues with the portrayal of Wiccan teachings as acceptable.

This is a well-written and captivating read.

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