Rules of the Lake is a collection of linked stories about growing up on a lake in "pre-Disney" Florida in the 1960s. It is the prequel to Ashes to Water.
The stories trace the maturation of smart, funny Annie Bartlett, who recounts her childhood on Widow Lake. She's obsessed with the desire to learn to breathe underwater, believing it to be the key to becoming a "real" mermaid. In pursuit of this fantasy, Annie grapples with the constraints imposed by her father's lake rules (No Swimming Alone, No Swimming After Dark, No Diving in Unknown Waters) and is forced to confront, among other things, her own mortality.
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