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I was intrigued to read Brunonia Barry’s new novel The Lace Reader because of its setting: contemporary Salem, Massachusetts. I visited Salem two summers ago to do research for Novel Destinations, which has a chapter devoted to the town’s famous native son — Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose gothic tale The House of the Seven Gables was inspired by a seaside residence there.

The Lace Reader is the story of Towner Whitney, who returns to Salem after an absence of more than a decade. A self-confessed unreliable narrator, Towner hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns of lace. The disappearance of her beloved aunt compels her to finally return to her hometown…and ultimately brings to light the truth about her twin sister’s death.

I enjoyed The Lace Reader as much for the setting as for the plotline. It was fun to read about places I had visited during my Salem sojourn. The House of the Seven Gables (at right) receives a mention, as does the Custom House, Hawthorne’s one-time place of employment.

If you do make it to Salem, it’s an opportunity to explore the landscapes of both a contemporary and a classic tale. On www.thelacereader.com is a walking tour brochure of sites in The Lace Reader (you can also enter a sweepstakes to win a weekend getaway for two to Salem), and thanks to the National Park Service you can take a self-guided walking tour of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Salem.

Along with details about Hawthorne’s ties to Salem and a tour through the House of the Seven Gables, Novel Destinations has plenty of suggestions for a literary itinerary — what to see and do as well as places to drink, dine and doze, among them the ideally-located Morning Glory Bed & Breakfast. You can slumber directly across the street from the famed gabled dwelling. —Shannon McKenna Schmidt

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I’ve read a lot of Agatha Christie novels, but somehow this clever caper escaped me. Four crime-solvers are invited to a London dinner party, along with four people suspected of having committed murder. One of the guests resents the meddlesome ways of their host, whose game that evening turns deadly. CARDS ON THE TABLE is the February pick for #QueensofMystery, hosted by @readwithjamie and @jaylamm.reads. Looking forward to discussing this whodunnit with other Agatha Christie fans! ☠️ 📚 #agathachristie #cardsonthetable #herculepoirot #mystery #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #amreading #books #reading #igbooks #noveldestinations #queenofmystery #harpercollins #williammorrow
#LoveYourLibraryMonth 📚❤️📚 I love that even when I’m on the road, like I am now for a few weeks, I can borrow books from my hometown library via the Libby app. It’s like having access to a secret world on my phone with an immediate and seemingly endless supply of reading material. 📚❤️📚 #hobokenpubliclibrary #readingonthego #libbyapp #miami #changeofscenery #booksandbooze #igreads #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #booksofig #noveldestinations
One reason why I ❤️ my book club: variety. These are our last four reads, a mix of fiction and nonfiction, all vastly different stories selected by various members. Song of Solomon was only my second Toni Morrison, and it was my first time reading works by the other authors. 📚 #bookclubreads #discussionworthy #bookclub #bookstack #igreads #bookstagram #booksofig #readinggroup #bibliophile #booked #books #songofsolomon #tonimorrison #avisitfromthegoonsquad #jenniferegan #calebscrossing #geraldinebrooks #brainonfire #susannahcahalan #noveldestinations

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