“The Lake of Dreams” by Kim Edwards

fiction-novel-the-lake-of-dreamsFrom the author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter comes a new story, a story of a woman drifting through her life, unsure of her place in the world. Lucy Jarrett is living in Japan with her boyfriend, Yoshi, when she hears that her mother has been in a car accident. Although her mother has not been badly hurt, Lucy feels that she needs to go home for a bit to figure some things out. Lucy heads home to The Lake of Dreams, New York and when she arrives she finds that much has changed in her absence. Lucy finds herself forced to confront the unresolved issues that she has about her father’s death a decade before, and she also finds herself in the midst of an old family mystery, which may be able to help her face some facts about herself.

I really enjoyed this carefully crafted, lyrically written story. There were so many different facets to the story that it will appeal to a wide range of readers. There’s a little bit of romance when Lucy comes face-to-face with her childhood sweetheart, Keegan. There’s family drama. There’s the mystery surrounding a female relative that has remained conspicuously absent from Lucy’s family history, and there’s beautiful art. Kim Edwards manages to balance all of these different aspects of the story without overwhelming the reader. The story itself is fast-paced and interesting, yet detailed enough that we become attached to Lucy and her family and all of the other minor characters that come into play. I especially appreciated Yoshi, Lucy’s boyfriend, who manages to stay in the background throughout the story yet remains a calm and rational presence.

There’s a quote that I found particularly lovely (I’m unable to give a page number because my copy is an ARC, but I couldn’t help but share):

Rows and rows of books lined the shelves and I let my eyes linger on the sturdy spines, thinking how human books were, so full of ideas and images, worlds imagined, worlds perceived; full of fingerprints and sudden laughter and the sighs of readers, too.

My only complaint about this book, and it’s a small one, is that I found that the ending dragged a little bit. I have absolutely no problem with how Kim Edwards chose to end The Lake of Dreams, and in fact I loved the ending, but it was about ten pages too long for me. I could have gone for a shorter wrap-up.

The Lake of Dreams was a beautiful, interesting book and I predict that it will be on many “Best of 2011″ lists.


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