I had an epiphany about myself the other day. I have discovered something about my reading choices. To me, reading is like a super soft warm blanket that I wrap around myself on a cold snowy night (if we had those here in Texas) and snuggle in deep. I love stories with a hint of magic. I don't like stories that are about every day painful lives. I want something equivocal to a fairy tale, per se. I love to escape into a book of fantasy that I could only dream of happening in real life, not some horrible Jodi Picoult Lifetime movie yuck. Ok, I know I'm beating a dead horse when it comes to Handle with Care, but geez I hate that book. I feel the need to purge it from my system, don't ask me why, lol.
This is probably why I've enjoyed Brunonia Barry's two novels. The newest one my husband got for my birthday is The Map of True Places. I could not put it down, even at the detriment of my chapters upon chapters of reading for school. It is a bit of a fairytale wrapped into a story. This woman is a successful psychologist who has to go back home to care for her ailing father. Her mother had committed suicide when she was just a girl, and she has a lot of issues. She was raised by her father and his gay lover. Barry likes to set her stories in New England, near Salem, MA, and she's does a wonderful job of making it so colorful and believable with a hint of magic thrown in. It's a bit of a mystery with romance and life-changing choices thrown in. I love to guess endings, but the twist at the end of this novel I definitely did not see coming.
The Lace Reader is Brunonia Barry's first novel, and some characters and tiny details from this novel are thrown in her second one up above. It has the same wonderful New England setting. It's about a woman, Towner Whitney, who ran away from Massachusetts and went all the way to the west coast. Her mother is a nut who lives out on Yellow Dog island and out there runs a shelter for abused women and their children. Towner must come home when her dear aunt, who helped raise her, goes missing and is later found dead. Her aunt was a famous lace reader and ran a wonderful little tea room. Through the story, she comes to terms with a lot of things from her past. It has a similar magical feel as the other novel and has an interesting mystery that leaves you guessing, plus some romance thrown in.
Both novels are intriguing and hard to put down. I loved them and can't wait for her next story to come out.