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On Mystic Lake

On Mystic Lake

4.1 328
by Kristin Hannah

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Kristin Hannah makes her hardcover debut with this poignant, tender, and true story of love, loss, passion, and the fragile threads that bind families together.

Annie Colwater's only child has just left home for school abroad. On that same day, her husband of twenty years confesses that he's in love with a younger woman. Alone in the house that is no longer a


Kristin Hannah makes her hardcover debut with this poignant, tender, and true story of love, loss, passion, and the fragile threads that bind families together.

Annie Colwater's only child has just left home for school abroad. On that same day, her husband of twenty years confesses that he's in love with a younger woman. Alone in the house that is no longer a home, Annie comes to the painful realization that for years she has been slowly disappearing. Lonely and afraid, she retreats to Mystic, the small Washington town where she grew up, hoping that there she can reclaim the woman she once was—the woman she is now desperate to become again.

In Mystic, she is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, a recent widower unable to cope with his grieving, too-silent six-year-old daughter, Izzie. Together, the three of them begin to heal, and, at last, Annie learns that she can love without losing herself. But just when she has found a second chance at happiness, her life is turned upside down again, and Annie must make a choice no woman should have to make. . . .

On Mystic Lake is the story of one seemingly ordinary woman, but the novel speaks to all of us, to anyone who has ever had to choose between what is . . . and what could be.

Editorial Reviews

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!
Romantic Times
Nanci Hellmich
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.
USA Today
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.
Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews
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 . . . Hannah touches the deepest, most tender corners of our hearts.”

“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. . . . This page-turner has enough twists and turns to keep the reader up until the wee hours of the morning.”
—USA Today

Rocky Mountain News

—The Seattle Times

“A big, beautiful story of love, family, and second chances. Kristin Hannah has written the Must-Read Book of the Year!”
Author of Ain’t She Sweet?

“The phrase ‘page-turner’ is redefined. . . . A clean, deep thrust into the reader’s heart . . . Unfolds tenderly and with suspense . . . In Hannah’s world, nothing can be taken for granted and triumph must be earned, with hard work, truthful reckoning, and tears.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Brimming with the kinds of emotions that tug at the heartstrings . . . Hannah’s writing is all her romance fans have come to expect. It is as rich as the fertile Pacific Northwest rain forest she writes about and as soft around the edges as the fog on Mystic Lake.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

On Mystic Lake not only touches the heart, it helps redefine women’s fiction for a new generation of readers. A haunting, evocative tale of love lost and found. A glowing, deeply felt tribute to the triumphant possibilities of self-discovery, personal growth, and change.”


“Hannah is observant and can turn a phrase. . . . [She] is superb at delving into her main characters’ psyches and delineating nuances of feeling. . . . I’m sure there isn’t a woman over the age of thirty-five who couldn’t identify with Annie’s sense of loss and abandonment, or share in her triumph as she regains her self-confidence and an identity separate from that of wife and mother. These jaded eyes actually got misty at the passages in which six-year-old Izzy implores her dead mother’s spirit to wait for her, my skin crawled along with Nick’s as he jitters through the early stages of his recovery, and I even felt compassion for the inability of Blake the cad to care about anyone but himself.”
The Washington Post Book World

On Mystic Lake is rich and dark, ripe with dense, smoky emotion, yet ultimately sweet at heart. . . . [The novel] is sentimental in the best sense, and like many of Hannah’s earlier books, cathartic. She can make you cry, and in the end, offer a quiet resolution based on real growth.”
Contra-Costa Times

“A beautiful novel, heartbreaking and tender . . . Hannah writes of love with compassion and conviction, her characters so alive and dear you can’t bear to see the novel end.”


“Kristin Hannah breaks new ground in her powerful exploration of a woman rediscovering herself in On Mystic Lake. . . . Hannah has a signature talent for drawing deep into the hearts of her story’s characters. These are real problems, and Hannah is a master portrayer of the human spirit. On Mystic Lake is too good to share—so buy extras!”

“A shining triumph that is not to be missed . . . Hauntingly beautiful and richly emotional.”
Romantic Times

“An extremely satisfying, insightful, and emotional tale. Fans of La Vyrle Spencer will certainly enjoy this moving book.”

“Highly recommended . . . Fans of Anne Rivers Siddons will devour this.”
Library Journal

Kristin Hannah
“writes of love with compassion and conviction.”
Author of Home Fires

“Remember the last time you finished a fabulous book and made your best friend read it? Get ready to feel that way again.”
Author of Dream a Little Dream

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.09(d)

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?

What People are Saying About This

Tami Hoag
A luminescent story about the rediscovery of self and of love and the healing power of both. -- Author of A Thin Dark Line
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
A big, beautiful story of love, family, and second chances.

Meet the Author

Kristin Hannah is the bestselling author of many acclaimed novels, including On Mystic Lake, Between Sisters, The Things We Do for Love, Comfort & Joy, and Magic Hour. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and on Kauai with her husband and son.

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On Mystic Lake 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 328 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book. the story keeps you interested and wanting more, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Even though you can see at times where it's heading you just want to jump in and be part of the story. The character are great and the setting is really good. Kristin has a great way of telling a story that keeps the reader involved and wanting more. She uses a good story line and plot. It is a must have for any reader that enjoys a little mystery, a little drama, and a little romance all in one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved this book from the beginning. I was hooked by page two, and crying by page forty. I kept telling all my reader friends that this was one of the best books i've read in a while.....until the end. After I read the last page, I was like are you kidding me! I was left so unsatisfied!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like her style of writing . . . .I read for escapism . . . .and love a good family story!
Dori Mooney More than 1 year ago
Rich, beautiful women married to handsome workahalic cheating man....goes home to daddy....not home for about 20 years, town always loved her.....meets her highschool sweetheart, who has a wife that just died. Blah...blah....blah...REALLY....one kid, college bound.....husband never home....and she shocked that her husband is cheating. Oh, shes a college graduate from stamford no less. I think that this author should start giving her female leads more spine and a little less whine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first read by the author. Wonderful story. Many tears. Beautifully developed characters and a story of hope and strength. Tragic happenings that destroy families and beautiful beginnings that prove love is the greatest medicine for a broken heart. Annie is a beautiful heroine and Nick is every womans dream. Izzy at age six steals parts of the book and shows the resilience of children and their ability to love and trust again after their world collapses. Blake proves again that success and money "do not make a man" and after 20 years of marriage Annie finally understands that their are givers and takers and Blake is surely a taker in every sense. The best part of the story is that it is about people we have met in real life and the story and the characters become very real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grew tired of "romance" novels. They were all the same, and really only about lust. Most of them full of cliches, with predictable endings. So I quit reading the genre. The beautiful covers of Angel Falls & On Mystic Lake drew me to them like a magnet. So, I read the backs. Something told me they were special, that by reading them, the genre would be redeemed in my heart. And I wasn't disappointed! Believable plots, relatable characters, beautiful settings, and realistic love stories were artistically woven together in a writing style that felt poetic. I wasn't just reading a story, I was transported into it. I had such a profound empathy for the main character, that often I felt as though I WAS her. For a glorious moment, I got to fall in love & live a whole other life. Now, not only do I believe there are good books in the genre, but I actually have a restored hope that real love actually does exist in this world. Thanks to Kristin Hannah.
Ivyton More than 1 year ago
This was my first Kristin Hannah book, and I must say that she is a talented writer, although the ending needed to be lengthened, but I was so disappointed in the vulgar language that was unnecessarily used in the book. The language definitely took away from the enjoyment of the reading, and added nothing at all to the story. Reading is my escape, but the vulgarity only brought more of what I try to separate myself from. It is sad that a writer with such creative talent had to taint her talent with such useless language. I am sad that "On Mystic Lake" will be my first, and last, Kristin Hannah book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am going to read all of Hannah's books! Good story with believable characters. Kept me turning the pages long after I should have turned out the light.
twilightfan30 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book. There were parts that were a bit predictable and I kept expecting a twist in the ending that didn't come, but overall a great story of love, grief, and hope. I enjoyed the book and found it hard to put down most nights.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down!
Heather Shelton More than 1 year ago
I love kristins books but i hated the way this one ended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the author! This is the 3rd book I have read of her's and love her style of writing. Keeps me wanting more after the book is done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kristen Hannah has done it again. She has delivered another family drama that is an entertaining read. I bought this book on vacation as a beach read after enjoying Hannah's Firefly Lane & True Colors. I finished the book in about a day and a half. I did fly through this book, but it kept me interested with tales of seemingly real life relationships. Hannah doesn't sugarcoat the emotions of this book. She deals with disappointment, shock, second chances (deserved or not), guilt and other no so happy emotions through a story that I think many could relate to. If you're looking for a good summer read, I would recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have fallen in love with Kristin Hannah's writing. This book opens up such a great topic with loss and divorce. This is a very touching story about how people help each other with what is going on in their lifes and what love does to people when they have had a loss or going through a divorce.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kind of figured out how the book was going to turn out but the ending surprised me a little. I had figured out the just of it but didn't know specific details. All in all, I fully enjoyed it and couldn't put it down!
klh More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book ~ Hannah has an excellent style and really develops her characters - you feel like you know them personally. Great for book club discussion but also perfect for an enjoyable read. I loved Firefly Lane and look forward to reading more by Kristin Hannah!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am working my way through all of Kristin Hanna 's books. She is an amazing writer who brings her reader's emotions into each of her books. She makes me laugh, cry and most of all think. Each of her stories although fiction are about real life situations, she makes her characters come alive. Kristin Hanna is truly a gifted writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms_Marisa2013 More than 1 year ago
Great book. Sure, it was lacking in a few areas. But overall, I enjoyed the story. I thought it was a good book, will be reading more of K. Hannah.  
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Annie97 More than 1 year ago
intense - a bit teary but a good story, easy to follow