The Lake of Dreams

The Lake of Dreams

3.0 182
by Kim Edwards
     
 

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From Kim Edwards, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Memory Keeper's Daughter, an arresting novel of one family's secret history

Imbued with all the lyricism, compassion, and suspense of her bestselling novel, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards’s The Lake of Dreams is a powerful family drama and an

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Overview

From Kim Edwards, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Memory Keeper's Daughter, an arresting novel of one family's secret history

Imbued with all the lyricism, compassion, and suspense of her bestselling novel, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards’s The Lake of Dreams is a powerful family drama and an unforgettable story of love lost and found.

Lucy Jarrett is at a crossroads in her life, still haunted by her father's unresolved death a decade earlier. She returns to her hometown in Upstate New York, The Lake of Dreams, and, late one night, she cracks the lock of a window seat and discovers a collection of objects. They appear to be idle curiosities, but soon Lucy realizes that she has stumbled across a dark secret from her family's past, one that will radically change her—and the future of her family—forever.

The Lake of Dreams will delight those who loved The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, as well as fans of Anna Quindlen and Sue Miller.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Edwards's much anticipated second novel may disappoint fans of her first, The Memory Keeper's Daughter. When Lucy Jarrett returns to her childhood home in Lake of Dreams, N.Y., she learns that her brother, Blake, who's gone into the family business, and his girlfriend hope to drain a controversial marsh to construct a high-end property. Meanwhile, Lucy, who remains haunted by her father's death in a fishing accident years earlier, reconnects with her first boyfriend, Keegan Fall, now a successful glass artist. But when she sees something familiar in the pattern of one of his pieces, and discovers a hidden note in her childhood home, Lucy finally digs into her family's mysterious past. Unfortunately, the lazy expository handling of information mutes the intrigue, and readers will see the reignited spark between Keegan and Lucy coming for miles. All loose ends eventually come together with formulaic ease to rock the family boat. Edwards is at her best when highlighting the strain between her characters. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Once again, Edwards has created a memorable cast of easily recognizable characters . . . This is a powerful story about the influence of history, the importance of our beliefs, and the willingness to embrace them all."
Booklist

"Gorgeously written. . . . luminously beautiful."
The Dallas Morning News

"[Edwards's] latest novel, set in the Finger Lakes region of her native New York, is another tour de force that showcases her talent for engaging readers immediately and, her agile prose would argue, effortlessly."
Louisville Courier-Journal

"Beautifully written, with vivid imagery and emotion, this book shines with artistry.-Edwards has another winner here, and I look forward to reading more of her work."
Bookreporter.com

"Kim Edwards writes with great wisdom and compassion about family, choices, secrets, and redemption."
Luanne Rice

People
“A satisfying mix of compassion and intrigue.”
Louisville Courier-Journal
“Her latest novel, set in the Finger Lakes region of her native New York, is another tour de force tale that showcases her talent for engaging readers immediately and, her agile prose would argue, effortlessly.”
The Dallas Morning News
“Gorgeously written.... luminously beautiful.”
Good Housekeeping
“Satisfying.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Edwards' prose is precise and vivid throughout and at times her descriptions positively soar.”
Winnipeg Free Press
The Lake of Dreams is a vivid and beautifully written saga about the powerful way that a family's past can shape its present.”
Bookreporter.com
“Beautifully written, with vivid imagery and emotion, this book shines with artistry. Edwards has another winner here, and I look forward to reading more of her work.”
California Literary Review
“Kim Edwards has, in fact, done it again, riveting us to her story”
Library Journal
Lucy Jarrett returns to Lake of Dreams in upstate New York a decade after her father's mysterious death. She was only a teenager then, but she still has not absolved herself of her guilt over not going fishing with him the night he died. Her mother lives alone in a few rooms of their large family home, where Lucy discovers some old letters in a window seat. She grows determined to solve the mysteries surrounding her great-grandfather's suffragette sister, Rose, who was forced to give away an illegitimate daughter and who may have been the muse for a famous stained-glass artist. Lucy's high school boyfriend, Keegan Fall, a glass artist himself, also enters the picture. Lucy's domestic partner, Yoshi, is headed to Lake of Dreams from Japan, and Lucy's not sure if they have a future together. Many unresolved issues come to a head for Lucy in a few short weeks, and this somewhat strains credibility. VERDICT Edwards's runaway best seller, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which so engaged the hearts of many readers, is indisputably a hard act to follow. Lacking the melodramatic sizzle of its predecessor, this sophomore effort is a colorful but middling multilayered novel about family history, love, and redemption. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10.]—Keddy Ann Outlaw, formerly with Harris Cty. P.L., Houston, TX
Kirkus Reviews

Family secrets dominate this sluggish melodrama, a second novel that recalls the corrosive secret at the heart of Edwards's surprise bestseller The Memory Keeper's Daughter (2005).

Lucy Jarrett is front and center. When she was 17, she made what she felt was a fateful decision. She harshly dismissed her father's suggestion they go fishing on the lake; he went alone and accidentally drowned. Guilt-stricken, Lucy unceremoniously dumped her Native American boyfriend Keegan and left her hometown, the eponymous Lake of Dreams in upstate New York, to attend college out West. Then came a career as a hydrologist working for multi-nationals and a string of short-lived romances. Now, pushing 30 and unemployed, she's living with her latest lover, the Japanese engineer Yoshi, outside Tokyo. She flies home after hearing her mother has had an accident. It's minor, but Lucy is surrounded by change. Her mother has a new admirer; her uncle Art, who owns the family hardware store, is spearheading a contested lakeside development; and Keegan, married but separated, has a successful glassworks. How curious, then, that amid these upheavals, the jet-lagged Lucy should zero in on the past after discovering some hidden papers. She learns about her great-great-aunt Rose. Back in England in 1910, the 15-year-old had been seduced, impregnated and abandoned by the lord of the manor, that scoundrel. After traveling to America with her brother Joseph, she had been separated from her daughter after marching with suffragettes. All this Lucy learns from letters she has stolen from the Historical Society. Why Lucy should feel a life-changing connection to Rose is never clear; her problem is she's commitment-shy, as shown by her renewed interest in Keegan (forget about Yoshi). The rush of events near the end includes the discovery of an old will, an anguished confession about her dad's boating accident and Lucy's trashing of the family store; being the heroine, she gets a pass.

It's all mush, but the feminist angle may keep the fans loyal.

Donna Rifkind

A long-lost relative, a cache of old documents, a haunting past: these plot-thickeners combined effectively in Kim Edwards's The Memory Keeper's Daughter, a 2006 best-seller that dramatized the damaging effects of a shameful secret on a Lexington, Kentucky family from 1964 through the 1980s. Edwards's second novel, The Lake of Dreams, aims for a similar goal over a longer time span, reaching back many generations to expose hidden connections between a contemporary young woman and her female ancestor who had been erased, until now, from the family record.

Set in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where Edwards grew up, the new novel makes a strong case for the area's abundant charms, both natural and historical. Edwards grounds her characters in a fictional town about an hour south of Rochester called The Lake of Dreams, named by the Iroquois who were its first inhabitants. Lakes, and water in general, are a key motif here: Lucy Jarrett, the 29-year-old narrator, is a hydrologist living in Japan who makes a trip back to her waterfront hometown and notes big changes afoot among the summer cottages and picturesque shorelines.

The local military depot is closing, setting off a land-grab dispute between developers and environmentalists hoping to preserve the wetlands' delicate ecosystem. The town's lake is also a source of deep emotion for Lucy, who fished and swam in it throughout her childhood and whose beloved father died there in an accidental drowning just before she left for college. "All my nightmares were at the bottom of this lake," she admits; "everything I'd ever lost was there." Having lived and worked abroad after college, first in Indonesia, then in Japan, Lucy uses this trip home to revisit her unhealed grief and to decide where she fits in her family's lakeside life now that a decade has elapsed since her father's funeral, when "the day-to-day ...close[d] over his absence as seamlessly as water over a rock."

While Lucy solves many mysteries about her father during this trip, she also stumbles across another tantalizing enigma. Hidden under a window seat in the rooftop cupola of her once-grand childhood home, she finds a stack of old papers: mostly pamphlets relating to women's suffrage activities, but also a letter from 1925 to Lucy's great-grandfather Joseph -- who had bought this house around this time and started the family hardware business that thrives to this day--signed cryptically by "R."

Lucy continues to investigate as the puzzle pieces fall neatly -- in fact, too neatly -- into place. From local library and church archives, she discovers that "R" was her great-grandfather Joseph's sister, Rose, who was sent away from the family for some sort of scandal, leaving her baby daughter to be raised by Joseph and his wife. Further excursions to Rochester and Seneca Falls suggest that this punishment may have had to do with Rose's activities in the women's suffrage movement or with her connection to a well-known stained-glass artist, whose windows depicting biblical women happen to hang in an abandoned chapel on the nearby disputed land where the military depot is closing.

With not always believable efficiency, every question here gets its answer in the next piece of evidence Lucy happens to find. What happened to Rose's daughter? What was Rose's relationship to the glass artist -- was she his lover, his model, perhaps his colleague? What was the scandalous behavior that banished her from The Lake of Dreams? Could the figures of biblical female heroes in the stained-glass windows of the chapel provide some clues?

The novel's tidiness extends beyond these questions to Lucy's contemporary dilemmas. Her scheming uncle Art, who had feuded with her father in the years before his drowning, hopes to claim the family house and land as part of a waterfront development project. Meanwhile, Lucy's high-school boyfriend, now a successful glass-blower who's consulting about the restoration of the chapel's stained-glass windows, is advocating for the town's environmentalists on behalf of the Seneca nation branch of the Iroquois, of which his mother is an outspoken member. "Everything was connected in a way I had not understood before," says Lucy, and this is true to a fault. Past and present tie seamlessly together, while selective images of water, decorative glass, celestial bodies, gardens, keys and locks, and Jungian dreams repeat and repeat, like a giant craft fair with identical booths.

Edwards is a talented writer whose spiritual-political-feminist story-spinning needs more embellishment, not less, to distract readers from the prosaic workings of its machinery. Sue Monk Kidd and Jodi Picoult have proved that these kinds of novels work best with lots of mess and mayhem, with overstuffed plots and unruly adornments. To Edwards and her next enterprise I say pile it on, sister, bring more wild hair and flowing purple garments and dream catchers, more witch-and-goddess imagery and even more red herrings, and readers will stay longer at the fair.

--Donna Rifkind

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670022175
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
01/04/2011
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Although it is nearly midnight, an unusual light slips through a crack in the wool, brushing her arm like the feathers of a wing. In the next room her parents sleep, and the darkened village is silent, but she has lain awake all these hours and now she climbs out of bed, the floorboards rough against her feet. For weeks people have talked of nothing but the comet, how the earth will pass through clouds of poison vapors in its tail, how the world could end. She is fifteen, and all day she and her brother helped seal the house—windows, doors, even the chimney—with thick black wool, hammers tapping everywhere as their neighbors did the same.

The narrow triangle of strange light touches her here, then there, as she crosses the room. She is wearing her blue dress, almost outgrown, the worn cotton soft against her skin. In this room, a low space over the shop that is hers alone, the wool is only loosely fastened to the window, and when she yanks a corner the cloth falls away, pale comet light swimming all around. She pushes the window open and takes a breath: one, and then another, deeper. Nothing happens. No poison gas, no searing lungs—only the watery spring, the scents of growing things and, distantly, the sea.

And this odd light. The constellations are as familiar as the lines on her own palms, so she does not have to search to find the comet. It soars high, a streaming jewel, circling the years, thrilling and portentous. Distantly a dog barks, and the chickens rustle and complain in their coops. Soft voices rise, mingling, her brother’s and another, one she knows; her heart quickens with anger and yearning both. She hesitates. She has not planned this moment—the turning point of her life it will become. Yet it is also no impulse that pulls her onto the window ledge, her bare feet dangling a few yards above the garden. She is dressed, after all. She left the wool loose on purpose. All day she has been dreaming of the comet, its wild and fiery beauty, what it might mean, how her life might change.

The voices rise, and she then leaps.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Kim Edwards writes with great wisdom and compassion about family, choices, secrets, and redemption.”
—Luanne Rice

Meet the Author

Kim Edwards is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, which was translated into thirty-eight languages.  The Lake of Dreams is her second New York Times bestselling novel.  She is also the author of a collection of short stories, The Secrets of a Fire King.  Her honors include the Whiting Award, the British Book Award, and USA Todays Book of the Year, as well as the Nelson Algren Award, a National Magazine Award, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has taught widely in the US and Asia, and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Lexington, Kentucky
Date of Birth:
May 4, 1958
Place of Birth:
Killeen, Texas
Education:
A.A., Cayuga Community College; B.A., Colgate University; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop; M.A., University of Iowa
Website:
http://www.memorykeepersdaughter.com

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