With the weather here so dark, cold, rainy and gray, nothing could be cheerier than the postman arriving with a new book: LOST LAKE by Sarah Addison Allen. Allen is known for spinning tales that readers can slip right into and feel intimately connected with the characters and settings. This is a perfect story to begin the year!
Kate, who comes from a long line of women who retreat from life when they experience loss, is no exception. It has been a year since her husband died, leaving her, their daughter, and his mother behind. It’s too much for Kate, who finds it easier to let her well-meaning but overbearing mother-in-law take charge of everything --- from selling the home Kate and her husband shared to giving her a new job. But as Kate and her daughter prepare to move out of their house, an unexpected discovery sends Kate in an entirely new direction.
"Sarah Addison Allen’s writing blends a magical depth of story with place and time. She charms her readers with her characters, plot and lyrical descriptions. The moments that her characters speak regarding their views on life left this reviewer feeling a wonderful sense of connection."
In a dusty old trunk that once belonged to Kate’s grandmother, Kate comes across an old picture postcard of Lost Lake, addressed to Kate from her great aunt Eby. Though Kate recalls a summer vacation to her aunt's secluded home on the lake, she never knew the postcard existed. The note on the back is an open invitation to visit, and Kate makes a sudden change of plans. Instead of moving in with her mother-in-law, she packs up her daughter and takes off for Lost Lake. She has no idea if it still exists or if they will be welcome, but this is just the adventure they need.
Lost Lake is an old cabin resort in Suley, Georgia, long owned and managed by Aunt Eby and Uncle George. For years, the resort was a place for people to come and restore themselves with good food, engaging conversations, caring hosts and a comforting environment. But with George now gone and the resort in need of repairs, an aging Eby has decided to sell to a local developer.
Kate and her daughter are welcomed with open arms by Eby and her mute but marvelously talented cook Lisette. They have arrived just in time for the resort’s last summer season. A handful of regular guests have also returned for a final visit. They are a motley group of characters who all hope that Eby will change her mind.
Lost Lake is a place of healing for the guests and the town. Just like Kate, each of the patrons has known heartbreak or tragedy. All share their wisdom and observances on life, and Kate is reminded of the splendid summer she spent at Lost Lake as a girl --- and a boy named Wes, who still lives nearby. They are grown-ups now. Could that childhood friendship grow into something more sustaining for them both?
Before the summer ends, old secrets are uncovered and second chances develop for many of the characters in the story --- including Kate. As one of Lost Lake’s long-time patrons says, ”Ever read a story that you simply can’t imagine how it ends? This place is like that.”
For this reviewer, Sarah Addison Allen’s writing blends a magical depth of story with place and time. She charms readers with her characters, plot and lyrical descriptions. The moments that her characters speak regarding their views on life left this reviewer feeling a wonderful sense of connection. Lost Lake is a resort that offers a place to grieve, renew and restore oneself --- and the same can be said of this book.
Reviewed by Jennifer McCord on January 24, 2014
- Publication Date: January 21, 2014
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press
- ISBN-10: 125001980X
- ISBN-13: 9781250019806