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Laura looked faint, and her face paled white around freckled, sunburned cheeks and peeling nose.

Is it more like the area of cheeks and the nose? Not like surrounding regions?

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The meaning would be around sense 13:

13) in the vicinity of; near to ⇒ "somewhere around the building"

So in your example:

Laura looked faint, and her face paled white in the area of freckled, sunburned cheeks and peeling nose.

The surrounding regions are being described.

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  • Laura looked faint, and her face paled white around freckled, sunburned cheeks and peeling nose.

In a very course/rough manner, this means

  • Laura looked faint, and her entire face paled white; her face had freckled, sunburned cheeks and a peeling nose, but one cannot see paleness directly on freckles, sunburned cheeks, or a peeling nose.

It was a way of describing the sunburned aspects of her face at the same time as describing her becoming pale. It's painting an impressionistic picture of seeing someone become pale in relationship to her freckled sunburned cheeks and a peeling nose.

Similarly, of the Cheshire Cat, one could say, "And the cat's face disappeared around his bright, white, glowing teeth."

Or of a mountainside: "And as the sun went down, the mountainside grew black around the speckles of light that came from the houses where people went about their evening business."

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