Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Lake of Dreams - Book Review

I was especially excited to win an ARC of Kim Edward's newest book The Lake of Dreams from because I read and loved The Memory Keeper's Daughter several years ago. I thought it was funny that one of the characters in The Lake of Dreams is reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter.

The Lake of Dreams is the story of Lucy Jarrett who returns to her hometown for a vacation after several years of working abroad, most recently Japan. While visiting her mother in the lake house where she grew up, Lucy discovers some old papers hidden in the cupboard. Fascinated by details of an old letter to her great-grandfather and the mention of family names she has never heard, Lucy studies her own family history to uncover the buried secrets--some a hundred years old and others much more recent.

Edward's writing style is detailed and engaging. She especially excels at describing locations. The Japanese village and the town beside the lake are so carefully described, I felt as if I were literally experiencing the earthquakes in Japan or a canoe ride across the lake. I enjoyed the descriptions of the stained glass windows and especially the images of Keegan's glass shop.

I found the hunt for information about Lucy's ancestors interesting--especially the history of Women's Suffrage. The story of Rose, Lucy's long lost great-great aunt, is more fascinating than Lucy's story. I wish the story had just been told from Rose's perspective. I would have liked to understand her character better. 

While I did enjoy the novel, I didn't fall in love with it. Honestly, I'm having trouble figuring out why I just didn't feel that moved by the book. I never had that urgent desire to stay up all night and finish. It did seem to  move along rather slowly. Also, I lacked a connection with Lucy. I was bothered that she could just sweep into town for a few weeks, demand that everyone align their orbits around her, cause major upheaval in her family and friend's lives and then leave again--changed and apparently healed. The ending felt contrived and too convenient.

Essentially, I didn't think The Lake of Dreams lived up to Edward's earlier and beautiful family tale - The Memory Keeper's Daughter.

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