Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen is a peaceful book to read. From the very beginning the story felt almost soothing and relaxed, as if everything would come out all right in the end, despite some quite challenging times for the characters.
The main character is Kate, who is just starting to come out of the fog she has been in since her husband’s death a year ago. Kate’s mother in law, Cricket (cute name, by the way), is a perfumed steamroller who wants Kate and her daughter Devin to move in with her. Cricket intends to use Kate and Devin for advertising purposes for her real estate business and for her upcoming political campaign.
Kate gets sidetracked by an old postcard of Lost Lake (evocative name, isn’t it?) in Georgia, which she finds during the move to Cricket’s house and decides to visit her Aunt Eby who owns the holiday resort at the lake. Kate had two perfect weeks at the lake when she was 12, playing with Wes (which is a good strong name for a hero) and his brother Billy.
Q. Who is an appropriate person for a widow with an eight year old daughter to fall in love with?
A. Her childhood friend, who she has not seen since she was 12 years old.
Eby (what were her parents thinking when they named her?) and her late husband George bought Lost Lake when they were newly weds, but lately Eby has been thinking of selling the property and travelling back to Paris, where she and George spent their honeymoon. George was rich, but after they bought a house for Kate’s grandmother and Lost Lake, they gave away all of the money. Their main reason for giving away the money was to get some peace from Eby’s family, who wanted more and more and more.
Lost Lake has a cast of interesting characters who all have their own stories. For example, Lisette is a mute French woman who cooks for Lost Lake’s guests. Lisette has lived with Eby since Lisette attempted suicide as a teenager after she broke someone’s heart. Eby rescued Lisette while on her honeymoon.
Jack is in love with Lisette and has been visiting Lost Lake for years. Bulahdeen was a orphan who dragged herself out of poverty to become an English professor. Selma is a woman with eight charms, which she uses to snag eight married men, each of whom leave their wives to marry her.
There is plenty of magic in this story, including an alligator who is a major character with a story too (I know, I know, the alligator is weird, but somehow it works).
I would have liked to explore some of the character’s stories more, as each were worthy of being the main focus of this book. As a heroine Kate probably needed a few more challenges and some conflict to be a really good, strong character. The author touched on the idea that Kate’s husband Matt loved her less than she loved him, and I felt this theme could have been expanded to give Kate more depth.
The cover art is lovely and the old post cards which mark each section of the book are wonderful. I would love to have seen these in colour.
Sarah Addison Allen has written other books which I won’t rush out to read, but will get to eventually, knowing that Lost Lake was an enjoyable read.