Prather’s Pick: ‘Lost Lake’ is a feel-good novel
This week’s novel for adults begins in Paris, France, on an autumn evening in 1962. Eby and George Pim are on their honeymoon. Although they were supposed to be gone two weeks, the newlyweds have been gone four months. Eby’s mother keeps leaving phone messages and sending letters. She says that they should come right home so Eby can take her place in society. Her mother is thrilled that Eby has married into money, a story that will unfold as the novel progresses.
But George and Eby are thinking about visiting Amsterdam first. They’re talking about their plans as they approach the Bridge of the Untrue. There are rumors that heartbroken people have committed suicide from the bridge.
Suddenly, when George and Eby are within a few feet of the bridge, they’re horrified to see a young woman with long dark hair standing on the bridge railing. The newlyweds plead with the woman to come off the bridge. The young woman nods to them. They’re relieved. But then she jumps.
That’s how “Lost Lake,” this week’s novel for adults, written by Sarah Addison Allen, begins.
It’s “present day” in the next chapter. The setting is Atlanta. The reader meets Kate, who has just awakened from a year of sleep. Kate apparently has gone through a mental breakdown after her husband, Matt, died. Cricket, Kate’s mother-in-law, has been caring for her and Kate’s 8-year-old daughter Devin. (I had thought Kate was the woman who jumped from the bridge, but she’s not. The reader will find out more about the woman in Paris later on in the novel.)
Cricket reminds Kate that it is moving day. Kate’s house has been sold, and so she and Devin will be moving in with Cricket, and Kate will be working in Cricket’s real estate office. So after her mother-in-law goes to work, Kate goes up to the attic where Devin is searching through an old trunk.
Devin is her own person, choosing to dress in clothes that her grandmother thinks are inappropriate. She wears stripes with polka dots, tutus and pink and green socks with orange patent-leather shoes. Most of all, Devin likes to wear her fairy wings. Devin finds some delightful clothes in the trunk. She also finds a postcard addressed to her mother. It has “Lost Lake” on one side and a note inviting Kate to visit whenever she wants. The note is signed “Eby.”
Eby is Kate’s great-aunt. Lost Lake came about after George and Eby came home from their honeymoon. They gave away their money, sold their Atlanta home and bought some swamp property in the South. George and Eby rented out 13 cabins. Kate visited Lost Lake once when she was younger.
So, on a whim, Kate and Devin pack up the car with Devin’s trunk and head off to find Lost Lake, despite the trouble they will be in with Cricket. They soon will discover that Eby, now 76 years old, has decided to sell Lost Lake to a developer. All that is left is to sign the papers. After George died, the resort started going downhill, so Eby thinks selling is the right thing to do.
Learning that Lost Lake is going to be sold, three of Eby’s regulars arrive to say goodbye and host a party. Selma, Bulahdeen and Jack are unique, lovable characters who arrive before Kate and Devin. Other characters in the book include Lisette, who cooks for the resort; Wes, who was a young boy when Kate visited Eby years before; and others from the small nearby town. And there’s an alligator, too, that makes himself known to Devin, even though residents say they are no alligators in the area.
I really like this feel-good novel that, because of the alligator, has an enchanting tone about it. I found myself getting engrossed in the characters and the plot.
“Lost Lake” is published by St. Martin’s Press, 2014. The book can be found at the Moffat County Library. The hardcover book costs $25.99.