Monday, February 21, 2011

The Lake of Dreams

The Lake of Dreams
Kim Edwards
ISBN: 9780670920297
Penguin Books
Published 04/01/2011

I really enjoyed Kim Edward’s first novel – The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – and as with so many second novels I did have high expectations for her latest title – The Lake of Dreams. Unfortunately, some authors have missed the mark with their second. But I thought, with such a lovely title, cover and a storyline that piqued my interest – I was eager to give this story a go and well...I was pleasantly surprise.

The Lake of Dreams is a beautifully written, thought-provoking, lusciously described, emotive, family saga. But not in the sense of ‘over the top, ridiculously dramatic and totally unbelievable type “saga”  - more realistic, subtle mystery and gripping-type saga.

Lucy Jarrett is a wonderer – a young woman free to travel and embrace the world and all it has to offer. Moving from job to job and place to place with her boyfriend, she finds comfort in freedom...well that is until she is unemployed and starts to question her lifestyle choice. When her mother is injured in a car accident, she decides to head back home, to the Lake of Dreams, hoping to gain a new sense of direction and purpose. But what she finds in the once tranquil village is turmoil and uncertain futures for her family. Add to this her own unsettling issues with her father’s unresolved death, her mother’s new romance, the news that her brother is working for their Uncle who cheated their father out of his share of the family business, and a re-acquaintance with her first love - you would think that was enough ‘plot’ for a novel. But there is more... Lucy discovers a collection of objects that reveal a hidden family history – papers dating between 1913 and 1925 link her to a family member who plays an important part in the suffragette movement. This history has a profound meaning for Lucy and leads her on a quest to find out her lineage and maybe an answer to her own past haunts.

Edward’s writing is eloquent and charming. Combined with a suspenseful and captivating plot with fleshed out characters – for me, it is a winner.
I was easily drawn into Lucy and her family’s plights and personal struggles, I was genuinely eager to find out how each of them got to where they are and how they move forward given the unravelled mystery of their past. Lucy’s relationship with her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend is well-rounded, believable and understandable. Even her relationship with her mother and brother seems real and true to each of their characterisations.

I would recommend this book to lovers of the elegance of language, those eager for a good family mystery, and those who wish to step head first into a novel and become totally involved in the lives of an intriguing family set within the gloriously described Lake of Dreams.

P.S. There is a family tree at the back of the book – I had made my own early on in my reading of it, only to discover half way through that there was one already there. But don’t worry, it isn’t because there are loads of characters and it all gets a bit ridiculous, it is handy because there are a few ‘Josephs’!

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