Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Date: January 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
The first time Eby Pim saw Lost Lake, it was on a picture postcard. Just an old photo and a few words on a small square of heavy stock, but when she saw it, she knew she was seeing her future.That was half a life ago. Now Lost Lake is about to slip into Eby’s past. Her husband George is long passed. Most of her demanding extended family are gone. All that’s left is a once-charming collection of lakeside cabins succumbing to the Southern Georgia heat and damp, and an assortment of faithful misfits drawn back to Lost Lake year after year by their own unspoken dreams and desires.
It’s a lot, but not enough to keep Eby from relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand, and calling this her final summer at the lake. Until one last chance at family knocks on her door. Lost Lake is where Kate Pheris spent her last best summer at the age of twelve, before she learned of loneliness, and heartbreak, and loss. Now she’s all too familiar with those things, but she knows about hope too, thanks to her resilient daughter Devin, and her own willingness to start moving forward. Perhaps at Lost Lake her little girl can cling to her own childhood for just a little longer… and maybe Kate herself can rediscover something that slipped through her fingers so long ago.
As I finish this book, I put my Kindle down and sit quietly. I just feel the sadness and the joy, the wonder of just having read a book that was all I could ask of from a story. Sarah Addison Allen has a gift for writing stories that are mysterious, magical, imaginative and beautiful. I loved this book and just know it is one I will want to reread - a definite keeper. I know at the end of 2014 I will define it as one of the best, if not the best.
The main characters felt so real to me - I wanted each character to have a book of their own - I fell so much in love with so many of them! Throughout the book the reader is gradually given the back story of Eby, Kate, Lisette, Bulahdeen, Selina and Wes. Then there is Devin - Kate's daughter, Cricket Kate's mother-in-law, Jack who loves Lisette - even Luc the lover who committed suicide when Lisette turned him down, Billy and the alligator. All of them have fascinating stories. All are searching for life, love and fulfillment. Many are unsure of the path, or what their next step needs to be, but gathered at Lost Lake gradually relationships are healed and revitalised. What seems like what may be the ending, doesn't need to be. As Maudie tells Bulahdeen so many years ago "You can't change where you came from but you can change from where you go from here".
Lost Lake - the setting - is a place where "anything is possible". It is a place where many of the characters are deeply contented and at peace. It is a place that some of them lost (Kate) and where there is the threat that it will be lost now to all of them permanently. It is run down and almost forgotten, but yet still a place of importance. Will it be bought up by a developer and turned into something soulless, or can it be restored and rejuvenated, taking its proper place in the lives of the people who truly value it.
While this story is contemporary and mostly realistic, there are those touches of magic and fantasy, and moments of history that explain the past and bring it into the present. Sarah Addison Allen has the ability to meld all these parts into a seamless story, magic and fantasy is a facet of her books that gives them a particular uniqueness and takes the reader away into the magical realm of storytelling.