by Sarah Addison Allen
The first time Eby 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 lifetime 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 it's not enough to keep Eby from calling this her final summer at the lake, and relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand. 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.
One after another, people find their way to Lost Lake, looking for something that they weren't sure they needed in the first place: love, closure, a second chance, peace, a mystery solved, a heart mended. Can they find what they need before it's too late?
At once atmospheric and enchanting, Lost Lake shows Sarah Addison Allen at her finest, illuminating the secret longings and the everyday magic that wait to be discovered in the unlikeliest of places.
My Thoughts: I loved this book from the cover to the story line. For me, one look at the cover evoked thoughts of the south and the mystery and magic that is a part of of good Southern fiction. The main characters, Kate and her daughter Devin, were very sad in the beginning, as Kate's husband had died. She had been walking around in a fog for a year, but when she came across an old postcard from Lost Lake something in her woke up. Without telling her mother-in-law, who had basically been controlling her life for the last year, she packed up her daughter Devin for a road trip.
Eby, Kate's aunt, was planning on this to be her last summer of running Lost Lake. Her husband had passed away and many things were dilapidated and in need of repair. When Kate shows up after so many years had passed, it starts to bring back old memories. Some of Eby's summer regulars start to show up and together they determine to stop Eby from selling out to a real estate mogul who wants to turn the area into a resort.
There are some magical, mystical elements to the story - like the alligator that speaks to Devin and only she seems able to see. He wants her to find a box that he claims will save them and Lost Lake. Devin herself is a little magical, as only a child can be, with her wise-beyond-her-years attitude and flair for dressing. Kate and Wes' relationship is also magical - the first boy she ever had feelings for and almost kissed - meeting him again at Lost Lake.
Being at Lost Lake was almost as if time had stood still - the cabins, the lake, the path through the woods. Makes me remember a lake we would go swimming at when I was a kid, that still holds a little magic in the memories when we go back today.
Devin looked out over the water. They didn't look like knees. They didn't even look like roots. They looked like the ancient spires of Gothic buildings sticking out of the top of the water, like there was a church under the lake and she and Bulahdeen could only see the top of it. They were clustered in a section close to the bank, no more than a foot or so out of the water. She got as close to the edge as possible and looked down. The water moved slightly, and she thought for a moment that she saw a flash of something electric blue at the bottom. But, then again, the water was so murky that it was hard to tell just where the bottom was. She didn't see any evidence that the alligator had been here, or that whatever it was he might want her to find was hidden anywhere. She even put her hand over her good eye and looked around. (p175, Lost Lake)
I haven't read anything else by Sarah Addison Allen, but Garden Spells has been on my TBR list forever. I really must read some more of her work as I enjoyed this one immensely.
About the author: New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction -- a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.
Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allen grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature -- because, as she puts it, "I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate."
After graduation, Allen began writing seriously. Her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Allen's accomplished debut "spellbindingly charming." The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.
Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as "Southern-fried magic realism." Clearly, it's a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.
Her published books to date are: Garden Spells (2007), The Sugar Queen (2008), The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011) and Lost Lake (2014). (from Goodreads)