Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Group Review: Lost Lake

Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Series:  Stand alone
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 304
Obtained: publisher
Genre: contemporary fiction
Rating: 4.6
Bottom Line: Magical realism at its finest.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? GRAB!

Blurb: It happens one morning - Kate finally wakes up from the slumber she's been in since her husband's death a year ago. Feeling a fresh sense of desire to take control of her and her young daughter's life, she decides to visit Suley, Georgia-home to Lost Lake. It's where Kate spend one of her happiest summers of her life as a child. She doesn't know what she expects to find there, but it isn't a rundown place full of ghosts and oddities. Kate's beloved Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the property and move on. She's old and 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--as well as her heart and the hearts of all the guests-back to life? Because sometimes lost loves aren't really lost. They're right where you left them, waiting for you to find them again.

Alice's Review:  Lost Lake is everything that is wonderful about Women’s Fiction and Chick-Lit all rolled into one.  This novel has memorable characters, a magical location and so much heart I swear I can see the pages flutter in time to a heartbeat.  The reason Lost Lake is so great is because of her author, Sarah Addison Allen.  I just adore her novels.  It’s like reading pure magic.

She is the author that you must read.  All her novels have left me enchanted and enamored with her words.  She writes about the heart from the heart.  You can feel it yourself as if it’s a tangible thing.  I know my review is more about singing her praises than focusing on the book itself.  She embodies her books.  She harnesses pure magic, she ensnares you in it and you can’t help but to keep going back for more.  My fellow bloggers and I realized she is the only author the four of us truly love and agree on.  I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

We learn so much from her as a reader:  How observant a child is, how receptive they are to change and happiness especially if it benefits those they love.  We learn love is everything.  We learn forgiveness is given and not earned.  There is so much more, but you need to read it for yourself.

So do yourself a favor, and pick up this one.  This is the kind of novel you will share.  You will think about it for a long time after you put it down.  You will wish with all your being that this mystical place was real and that you could vacation there.   You will be happy Kate woke up and you hope she has her happy ending.  You’ll wish that special child Devin was your child.  You’ll wish for half the adventure Eby had. 

As much as I loved Lost Lake, I feel this one isn’t as strong as her previous works but it’s definitely worth the read.  I feel as if telling your it isn’t as strong as the others is unfair because even though this isn’t her best, she is still head and shoulders above many other authors.

Alice's Final Take:  4/5

Jenn's Review:  I adore everything Sarah Addison Allen writes, and Lost Lake is no exception.  This one took me a little longer to get into than some of her novels, probably because we start with Ebby's story and then switch to Kate's.  Kate's story is so heartbreaking that I didn't want to be pulled in, especially after meeting her mother-in-law... and there you have it.  I'm sucked in.  Her characters are so palpable you can't help but become involved in their journey. 

Sarah Addison Allen does a fabulous job of juggling and balancing each character's story, keeping anyone charater from running away with the plot.  Devin reminds me of my own wildly imaginative, observant little girl.  (It never ceases to amaze me how much children see in the world.)  I am glad she finds her way.  Wes's story may be the most surpising of all; I certainly didn't see it coming.  There are many stories to be told here and I found myself wishing the book was twice as long so that I could get to know all of the characters a little better.  

I love that Lost Lake is a collection of misfits.  Lost Lake is a place to find yourself, or be yourself, or even just take a break from yourself.  Everyone needs a Lost Lake and Ms. Allen pens it beautifully.  It's somewhere I want to visit and maybe even stay.

Although her theme of magical realism holds strong, Ms. Allen has ventured away from food-lit, which I missed a little throughout the novel.  Food still plays an important role, just not a central or magical one.  Perhaps because of this, I found the multiple magical elements of the story unexpected.  Some were incredibly conspicuous and some completely ambiguous.  I think I prefer they be somewhere in between.

Honestly, I am looking forward to re-reading this again soon.  Really?  Yes, really-really.  There is something inherently delightful about a Sarah Addison Allen book and I think I may just see a Sarah Addison Allen reading marathon in my future.  I simply can't recommend her novels more!

Jenn's Final Take:   4.75/5

Julie's Review: Lost Lake is a magical story about love, loss, life, and friendship. Sure it's magical in the way that there is mystical parts of the novel but it's magical because of the way Ms. Allen writes her characters. They are all quirky and free-spirited but together they are wonderful.

Ms. Allen has always had a way of setting the scene that makes it a mystery and magical all in one. Lost Lake is just that. It has a history for the people of Suley, Georgia but it also has a very personal history for Wes and Kate. It is where they left their childhoods behind one summer when they were 12 for very different reasons. The book is not about Wes and Kate finding their way back to each other but it about all of the characters finding their way.

Lost Lake is a haven for the regulars who come here annually. They feel that is has given their life purpose. For Lisette, it is where she has worked for 50 years after escaping her past in France. For Jack, it's where he comes to admire Lisette from a far but will this be the last summer he sees her? Will he be brave enough to tell her his feelings? For Selma, she's on a mission to find her last husband. Can Lost Lake help her find him? For Bulahdeen, it's the fact that she comes to Lost Lake to know that things will be ok, that she can keep writing her story and changing the ending. For Eby, it's where she and George spent their happiest years together. It's where she feels the safest. For Devin, it's where she gets to be herself again without any pressure to conform. For Kate, it's where she realizes she does have what it takes to move on from the death of her husband and to be the mother Devin needs. For Wes, it's the feeling of loss, guilt and hope that keep him anchored there.

Ms. Allen makes you fall in love with each one of these characters because of the way she tells the story. Each of them brings something unique and thoughtful to the story. Each of them have a way of changing the course of the story. Each of them is control of writing and re-writing their endings. It is how they come together that makes this novel gorgeous.

Lost Lake is full of magic and mystery. It is full of life lessons. It is full of wit, humor and charm.
There were moments when I laughed and moments when I cried. Mainly I was transported to Lost Lake. I felt like I could smell the food and the moss on the trees. I felt that I was a part of the story too. Perhaps as an by-stander but still a part of it. Perhaps that is the magic of the novel, making you feel like you are one of them.

Everytime I read one of Ms. Allen's novels I feel like I'm in a trance, that's how spellbinding her writing is. I can't recommend Lost Lake highly enough. I have been in love with her novels since Garden Spells and it is a love that continues to grow.

Julie's Final Take: 5/5

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for our ARCs of this novel. We couldn't be more thrilled!



stacybuckeye February 2, 2014 at 9:31 PM  

I love SAA and picked this one up when it came out. Can't wait to get started!

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