The Lace Reader, a novel set in contemporary Salem about a family of women who can read the future in lace patterns, benefits from the dark, atmospheric quality of the historical town in which it is set. Though it is not about the Witch Trials, taking place more than three centuries after they happened, the story “draws metaphorically on the 17th-century witch hunts,” (USA Today) and can have applications in classes studying both historical and contemporary American literature.
The book is rich with thematic elements. Along with a re-imagination of the archetypical hero narrative, Barry’s choice of Salem as the background for her novel invites comparisons between the fearful atmosphere of 17th-century witch trials and the uneasy political climate in which we live today.
“Brunonia Barry tells a suspenseful, fast-paced story. Her many sympathetic characters are nicely drawn and inhabit a world thick with local charm and historical detail. ”— Boston Globe