Book Review: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

lostlakeLost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Read: January 28th, 2014-March 1st, 2014

Release Date: January 21st, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 296
Price: $25.99

“You can’t change where you come 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 one.”

Where do we go when we are lost? There is comfort in knowing, and sometimes, a comfort in the unknown. In some long drawn out philosophical testimony, we are all lost amidst the greater plan or inner workings of our world. The unknown is what scares me the most in life. I don’t know where my life is headed or what I fully plan on doing with myself, but I know that something will happen. Life will move on despite my hesitancy to move on with it. But being lost has its advantages, we can always be found.

Eby and George left for their honeymoon set in Paris in the autumn of 1962. They winded their way through dark Parisian streets, discovering the magic within the city, until they came across a young girl standing on the ledge of a bridge. She would forever change the trajectory of their lives. Fast forward to modern day and Eby, now a widow is left to run Lost Lake, the grounds that she and George bought shortly after their honeymoon. Lost Lake, a special campground full of love, secrets, and magic became Eby’s entire world, more so ever since George passed on. The business flourished in its early years, with families from all over Georgia trekking to spend their summers at the lake. Now, most of their customers consist of the few regulars who have been coming to Lost Lake for years, but that won’t help with revenue. When the new water park was built a few towns over, Eby lost most of her clientele who preferred lush hotel rooms to her quaint cabins. Then there is Lisette, a sweet mysterious woman who writes her words on paper only to burn them later, because words are dangerous things that hold power. Eby deals with the daily upkeep of the cabins while Lisette remains in the kitchen haunted by an empty chair next to the stove. When Eby receives an offer for Lost Lake that she can’t refuse, she is faced with the choice to sell her beloved home or strive forward and keep the mysteries and enchantments of the lake within reach.

Kate Pheris hasn’t been awake for the past year, ever since her husband Matt died. Some of her died with him, leaving her a cooperative zombie as her mother in law Cricket settled the family affairs. What truly wakes Kate up is her eccentric daughter Devin. She missed so much of Devin’s life in her stupor and now that her family home has been sold so that she and Devin can move in with Cricket, Kate is feeling trapped. On their last morning in the home, Kate is tying a few loose ends when she discovers a post card from her great aunt Eby at Lost Lake. Recalling the best summer of her life there when she was a girl, sparks Kate to take a risk and give Devin a summer to remember.

When Kate arrives at Lost Lake, she recalls that summer with her parents and her almost kiss that occurred on the dock near the lake. She is surprised only to find Eby and her friend Lisette. Devin is immediately enchanted by the lake, diving into her own little world of magic and creativity. Kate settles in swimmingly, offering to help Eby and Lisette with different tasks around the grounds. As some of the regular summer gang shows up, the mood on Lost Lake begins to shift as people find out that Eby might sell. As the word spreads throughout the town about a final party on the lake, everyone offers to bring food and festivities. Eby is overwhelmed by the support shown to her by the town and can’t muster up the courage to decide the fate of Lost Lake. However, when a boy from Kate’s past strides in to help repair the campgrounds, Kate can’t help but feel something buzz in the damp soil. It isn’t just the lake that makes her feel alive again. Devin and Eby show her that there is more to life than grief and that even the darkest of endings can sprout new beginnings.

I will say that I am completely biased for my love of this book simply because I love all of Sarah Addison Allen’s work. Reading her books makes me feel alive and comforted. There is something about her words that make me giddy with delight. Every word is strewn about the page in a seemingly effortless manner. The characters are real and they come alive in your mind. Ms. Allen’s books have saved me on several occasions, so her work is rather personal for me. I have read books where I have truly felt that a character has understood me, but it’s never like what I feel when I read an Allen novel. They are rich, delicious, and seamless in execution. I only wish there were more pages so that I could have savored it longer.

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