From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spellscomes a novel about heartbroken people finding hope at a magical place in Georgia called Lost Lake.
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal.
Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming.
But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone.
As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again.
And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.Hardcover, 296 pages
Four stars: A book of hope, new beginnings and finding magic.
Kate for the first time in a year feels like she is truly awake. Since her husband died, Kate has been living in a fog, just going through the motions. She reawakens the day she is set to move into her mother in law's house. Plans change when Kate's precocious and imaginative daughter finds an old post card from Kate's great aunt. Spur of the moment, Kate and Devin jump in the car and head to Lost Lake, a place where Kate remembers being happy. Kate last visited Lost Lake when she was twelve years old. It was a summer of imagination, dreams, first crushes and the last time she was truly a child. Unfortunately, Kate's Aunt Eby has finally made the decision to sell Lost Lake after all these years. Since Eby's husband George passed away, it has been hard for Eby to maintain the property. Now the once bustling resort is on its last legs. Long time guests return for a last farewell, but the lake might have other ideas. Can a mysterious alligator, a pinch of magic and a bit of hope work their magic and save Lost Lake?
What I Liked:
- I adore Ms. Allen's character driven stories. She always manages to create interesting characters whom you immediately feel drawn to. I love that she tells their back stories so you understand what makes each and everyone of them tick. I also like that they have plenty of flaws and shortcomings that make them human. Some of them, who are not so likable, usually end up surprising me, and that indeed is the case here. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting each and every character, learning their stories and watching them grow and strive for hope and love. I know with a Sarah Addison Allen book, I will find new life long friends, and I am always eager to dig in and meet them.
- Ms. Allen knows how to grasp your hand and drag you into her stories with her lovely writing and beautiful story telling. I especially love the hints of magic and paranormal that lace into her tales. This book is no different with its ghosts, mysterious alligator, a charm bracelet and the urging of fate. All of these magical ideas weave beautifully together to form an enchanting tale.
- The writing, as always, is gorgeous. It was so easy to slip right into this book, just like putting on a pair of comfortable pajamas and snuggling in under a cozy blanket. This is definitely a pick me up, feel good book. There are plenty of stunning metaphors that will tickle your senses as well as lots of food for thought. I am huge fan of Ms. Allen's writing, and the writing in this one doesn't disappoint.
- I love that this is a book all about overcoming loss and stretching for hope and new beginnings as well as building upon old friendships. All of the main characters have suffered some type of significant loss, and they are moving beyond it. I liked seeing how each character handled their burdens, and I enjoyed watching them strive for happiness and a fresh new start. I very much appreciated that the book didn't focus on the sadness of the loss. It remains a very positive and upbeat book throughout which I found so refreshing, especially during the winter months.
And The Not So Much:
- My biggest complaint with this book was that it felt like it stretched too far and didn't finish strongly. Kate and Eby are the main characters but the secondary characters are just as engaging as each brings their own tale to the table. There is the damaged, kind hearted Wes who has overcome a difficult childhood, Lisette the haunted, shy, woman who can't let go of her old ghost, George, the shy man who prefers quiet and is socially awkward, Buladeen the kind, old English professor who is mourning her husband who is suffering from Alzheimer's, and the sex siren Selma in her sixties is still attractive and wily, and she is bent on catching one last husband. Ms. Allen carefully introduces each of these characters, spins their stories and makes you care about them. Then everything moves at lightning speed at the end, and I didn't feel like things had time to settle and stew before closing. This book could have benefitted by adding another couple of chapters in order to fully resolve all the story lines or even adding in an epilogue. I felt like after the sweet, slow ride that the ending was a bit unfulfilling. I wanted more! I would very much like to have glimpsed how things settled out perhaps a year down the road? Even though I loved each and every character, I think the author tried to bring together too many stories and they all didn't quite come together and end satisfactorily.
- There are a couple of story lines that didn't blend into the story and were left dangling. For instance, there is a flash back to the past and we learn about Eby's difficult sister and the horrid way she behaved, then the story moves along and pretty much forgets about this event in the past. I hated the way Eby's sister acted, and I didn't like that this part was introduced with no resolution. Did they remain at odds or was there some type of mending the fences? It also wasn't particualarly clear what went down with Eby and Kate's mom as Eby does not want to disclose the details. I also wanted to know more about Cricket and what happened with her? Does she finally get her closure over Matt? Does she develop a better relationship with her granddaughter? There were just a few too many loose ends for my taste.
Lost Lake was one of my most anticipated reads of 2014, and for the most part it lives up to expectations. I loved slipping away into this sweet, comfortable magical story and meeting some new friends. This is a well crafted, character driven book with a pinch of magic. It is a thoughtful read that focuses on friendship, hope and new beginnings. I just wished that the ending was a bit more satisfying. Still I highly recommend picking up this book, or any book by Ms. Allen for that matter as she continues to please me with her beautifully written stories. She will most certainy remain an author that I reach for when I want a cozy, pick me up read.
"There was so much happiness in the world. It was everywhere. It was free."
"Magic is what we invent when we want something we think we can't have."
"the trick to getting through life, she'd told him, is not to hate it when it isn't exactly how you think it should be."
"The boy who had given her that last best summer was now this handsome, unfamiliar man. And yet, she knew him. She knew him in the way you can only know a person you remember as a child, like if you cracked away the adult shell, you'd find that child happily sitting inside, smiling at you."
"Misfits need a place to get away, too. All that trying to fit in is exhausting."
"If we measured life in the things that almost happened, we wouldn't get anywhere."
"Eby knew all to well that there was a fine line when it came to grief. If you ignore it, it goes away, but then it always comes back when you least expect it. If you let it stay, if you make a place for it in your life, it gets too comfortable and it never leaves. It was best to treat grief like a guest. You acknowledge it, you cater to it, then you send it on its way."
"And she remembered her grandmere once holding out her spotted, papery fingers and telling Lisette that old hands made the best food. "Old hands can hold memories of good things," she said."
"You can't change where you came from, but you can change where you go from here. Just like a book. If you don't like the ending, you make up a new."
"When your cup is empty, you do not mourn what is gone. Because if you do, you will miss the opportunity to fill it again."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.