When Lucy Jarrett receives a message that her mom has been in an accident --- nothing serious, no need to be here --- of course she returns home. Her boyfriend, Yoshi, says that he will follow in a few days after some business meetings he cannot afford to miss. Their once-idyllic lives in Japan have recently been struck with a series of earthquakes, both the ground-shaking kind and the relationship-doubting kind. Maybe, back in the Lake of Dreams, Lucy can sort out her true feelings.
Upon returning to her hometown, she quickly falls back into old habits, verbally sparring with her brother, flaring with impatience at her mother, and stirring up an unresolved relationship from deep in her past. Keegan Fall was her first love. Can they rekindle what was lost the night Lucy’s father died?
All the grief, anger and, yes, guilt rush back at Lucy. She cannot resist thinking What if? She never told anyone about the last time she saw her dad before he left to go fishing, mostly because she believes she might have saved his life had she acted differently. Instead, his body was found the next day, in the lake they had lived beside for as long as she can remember.
Lucy now rattles around her mother’s house on the shore of that lake, not quite aimlessly, but not really searching for anything either. In a long-forgotten window box, she discovers some interesting relics. Intrigued, she examines each with curiosity --- curiosity, and maybe a gnawing desire for a diversion. This turns out to be quite a diversion, for it leads her to a chapter in her family’s history that no one remembers. And some think it would be best left that way. But Lucy cannot let it go: “I felt it then, the pull of the family history, an invisible gravity, almost irresistible.”
Lucy’s mother, brother and uncle seem to have moved on from that tragic night so long ago when Martin Jarrett drowned, while Lucy has been working abroad, jumping from job to job and lover to lover. Is it possible that she will come full circle and end up with Keegan? Her long-distance conversations with Yoshi lately have been impersonal, even cool. If he actually does come to the Lake of Dreams, will they only find an awkwardness borne of the specter of dying love?
As Lucy’s uneasiness about Yoshi grows, Keegan slips into the gap, using all his charms to entice Lucy back. He shows her a beautiful stained glass window that he has restored to its former brilliance. When she sees it, the hairs on the nape of her neck prickle; she instantly recognizes the pattern from a piece of cloth she found in the window box. Her discovery leads to a name, which then leads to a remarkable story, one that will forever change each of their lives.
Thankfully, there is no sophomore slump for Kim Edwards, whose debut novel, THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, was a bestseller and critical success. Far more than a love story or a mystery, THE LAKE OF DREAMS is an extraordinary look inside how circumstances can shape a life, and how rethinking what one thought was the truth can change that life all over again. Beautifully written, with vivid imagery and emotion, this book shines with artistry. Edwards has another winner here, and I look forward to reading more of her work.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on November 4, 2011
The Lake of Dreams