Jill M. Smith
Always a gifted storyteller, Kristin Hannah outdoes herself with this hauntingly beautiful and richly emotional novel. A shining triumph and not to be missed!
You know a book is a winner when you devour it in one evening and hope there's a sequel. Such was the case with Kristin Hannah's new novel, On Mystic Lake, which is both a touching love story and a fascinating study of a woman's compassion for a small child...this page-turner has enough twists and turns to keep the reader up until the wee hours of the morning.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her first hardcover after a distinguished career in paperback romance (Home Again), Hannah shows what it takes for an author to make that defining leap. Never one to gush, she is more than ever disciplined in her writing, and the result is a clean, deep thrust into the reader's heart. Annie Colwater knows she's in for a spell of loneliness when her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie, leaves Southern California for a summer in London, but the teary airport farewell is just the beginning of a chaotic time. Blake, Annie's husband, tells her that he wants a divorce so he can start a new life with his sweetheart, a young partner in his law firm. Blake's a cad--a habitual philanderer, and the sort of father who forgets birthdays--but we don't totally blame him for bailing out. Annie is Natalie's doting mother, Blake's dutiful wife and otherwise barely there. In search of the self she must find to survive, Annie goes back to Mystic, Wash., and the home of her father, gruffly loving Hank Borne, who did his best to raise her after the early death of her mother. Maternal loss is a terrain Hannah seems to know to a harrowing fare-thee-well. Annie's redemption begins with her profound kindness to six-year-old Isabella Delacroix, whose mother, Kathy--once Annie's best friend--has recently died. A romance with alcoholic cop Nick, Isabella's father, unfolds tenderly and with suspense, for all its inevitability. When Annie discovers she is pregnant with Blake's child, and then gives birth prematurely to a tiny girl who may not survive, the phrase "page-turner" is redefined. In Hannah's world, nothing can be taken for granted and triumph must be earned, with hard work, truthful reckoning and tears.
The life of Annie Bourne Colwater has always revolved around her family's happiness, so she is unprepared for the day her husband announces he wants a divorce. Adrift in an unfamiliar and painful emotional landscape, she escapes to her childhood home in Mystic Lake, WA. What she finds are people needier than herself, especially her old friend Nick and his motherless, traumatized six-year-old daughter, Izzie. Annie welcomes the love she finds, but, more importantly, she unearths her own dormant soul. When life throws her yet another curve, it is a more dimensional Annie who rises to meet it. Susan Ericksen gives a stunning performance, capturing the very essences of Annie, Nick, and little Izzie, silent and frightened and disappearing one small finger at a time. This is essential for every public library along with a sticker warning against reading while driving and requiring a full pack of tissues. Expect Hannah, a notable romance author, to become a major player in mainstream women's fiction.--Jodi L. Israel, Jamaica Plain, MA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
The Washington Post
Hannah is superb at delving into her main characters' psyches and delineating nuances of feeling.
Hannah, after eight paperbacks, abandons her successful time-travelers for a hardcover life of kitchen-sink romance.
From the Publisher
“Superb . . . I’ll heartily recommend On Mystic Lake to any woman . . . who demands that a story leave her in a satisfied glow.”—The Washington Post Book World
“A luminescent story . . . Kristin Hannah touches the deepest, most tender corners of our hearts.”—Tami Hoag
“Marvelous . . . a touching love story . . . You know a book is a winner when you devour it in one evening and hope there’s a sequel.”—USA Today
“Excellent . . . On Mystic Lake is an emotional experience you won’t soon forget.”—Rocky Mountain News
“Propels readers forward to the final chapter.”—The Seattle Times
Read an Excerpt
Rain fell like tiny silver teardrops from the tired sky. Somewhere behind a bank of clouds lay the sun, too weak to cast a shadow on the ground below.
It was March, the doldrums of the year, still and quiet and gray, but the wind had already begun to warm, bringing with it the promise of spring. Trees that only last week had been naked and brittle seemed to have grown six inches over the span of a single, moonless night, and sometimes, if the sunlight hit a limb just so, you could see the red bud of new life stirring at the tips of the crackly brown bark. Any day, the hills behind Malibu would blossom, and for a few short weeks this would be the prettiest place on Earth.
Like the plants and animals, the children of Southern California sensed the coming of the sun. They had begun to dream of ice cream and Popsicles and last year's cutoffs. Even determined city dwellers, who lived in glass and concrete high-rises in places with pretentious names like Century City, found themselves veering into the nursery aisles of their local supermarkets. Small, potted geraniums began appearing in the metal shopping carts, alongside the sun-dried tomatoes and the bottles of Evian water.
For nineteen years, Annie Colwater had awaited spring with the breathless anticipation of a young girl at her first dance. She ordered bulbs from distant lands and shopped for hand-painted ceramic pots to hold her favorite annuals.
But now, all she felt was dread, and a vague, formless panic. After today, nothing in her well-ordered life would remain the same, and she was not a woman who liked the sharp, jagged edges of change. She preferred things to run smoothly, down the middle of theroad. That was where she felt safest--in the center of the ordinary, with her family gathered close around her.
These were the roles that defined her, that gave her life meaning. It was what she'd always been, and now, as she warily approached her fortieth birthday, it was all she could remember ever wanting to be. She had gotten married right after college and been pregnant within that same year. Her husband and daughter were her anchors; without Blake and Natalie, she had often thought that she might float out to sea, a ship without captain or destination.
But what did a mother do when her only child left home?