Summers at Blue Lake

Summers at Blue Lake

by Jill Althouse-Wood

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She thought that her family was an open book, without secrets. Even as a child, Barbara Jean Ellington knew her grandmothers were lesbians, a truth they never concealed. During BJ's summer vacations at their home on Blue Lake, Nonna and Lena taught her to swim and play cards, provided a lively contrast to BJ's conservative parents, and comforted BJ when her first summer romance ended abruptly and without reason. Now, years later, BJ seeks refuge in her late grandmothers' house in the wake of her husband's affair. As she relives the languid summer days of her youth and prepares the house for sale, she struggles to come to terms not only with the looming threat of divorce, but also with the Pandora's Box of family revelations she uncovers in Nonna's hidden notebooks. In them, she discovers a fifty-year family history littered with secrets from the past--secrets that have present day consequences for herself, her marriage, and for Travis, the boy who broke her heart during that long-ago summer.

With discerning prose and compelling characters, SUMMERS AT BLUE LAKE follows in the tradition of bestselling authors such as Anita Shreve, Elizabeth Berg, and Sue Miller.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940014461863
Publisher: DCA, Inc.
Publication date: 05/21/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 69,125
File size: 674 KB

About the Author

Jill Althouse-Wood grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Delaware with a BFA in Fine Arts, Jill returned to Pennsylvania where she enjoyed a fifteen-year career as a textile designer.

Because design was her profession, Jill turned to writing for a creative release. Her novel SUMMERS AT BLUE LAKE, which was originally published by Algonquin Books, is the result. This is the first time it’s available as an ebook.

After leaving the fabric industry, Jill resumed painting, and she also began using her experience in multiple art forms to teach workshops in journaling and creative thinking. She has designed and facilitated workshops for women's shelters, schools, health facilities, community centers, and Woman-to-Woman, a local event that benefits the YWCA and domestic violence services. Her art works have been exhibited across Pennsylvania in such places as Gallery Piquel in New Hope, Moondancer Winery in Wrightsville, and Red Raven in Lancaster's Gallery Row. Jill recently concluded a three-year term on the board of the Lancaster Literary Guild.

Customer Reviews

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Summers at Blue Lake 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 256 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Told in alternating narratives by the protagonist as a teenager and an adult, Summers at Blue Lake kept me engaged from page one. As someone who reads a lot of young adult and women's fiction, this novel is the best of both worlds. The reader follows B.J.'s coming of age in the summer of 1983 as she experiences her first crush, teen angst, and the dramas of small town life. Her voice is humorous and compelling—at the same time that she’s surreptitiously reading Harlequin romances, she’s mentally criticizing her friend’s flagrant flirtatiousness. When contrasted with B.J.’s adult self—a woman who’s raising a small son while unhappily married—the author provides a realistic portrait of one woman’s life—a life filled with the joys and trials of motherhood and marriage and yet not defined by the labels of “wife” and “mother”. Add in the history of family secrets that B.J. discovers while cleaning out her grandmother’s house, and this novel becomes truly irresistible. Beautiful prose, well-written and realistic characters, and an intriguing plotline—it has everything I look for in a book. Highly recommended.
yoopermom2 More than 1 year ago
The secrets of the story unfold in such a way that encourages you to keep reading. This is one of those kinds of books that keep you up too late because you can't put it down. The descriptions and story line are genuine, painting the picture not of a typical American family, but certainly a believable one.
mi-miMS More than 1 year ago
Summers at Blue Lake is a family story - we all have those, but Jill's fictional account brings a family together. Touching and tender and timely. A very worthwhile read ! Afterall it always is Blue Lake.
JLong91 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Summers at Blue Lake! I was looking for a different genre of book to read than I normally do and I just couldn't put this book down - I have 4 kids and finished it in one weekend. It keeps the reader engaged with it's easy-to-follow flashbacks, family secrets, and geniune characters. A great read!
marianne68 More than 1 year ago
Good suspense, great story- very well told. Worth the money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book I couldn't put down...I loved the connection of the past and present...can't wait for it to be an e-reader book to read again...since my e-reader goes everywhere with me...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In her spectacular debut novel, Althouse-Wood's writing style reminds me of Alice Sebold's and Kristin Hannah's...some of her phrasing is so delicious you can almost taste it, and you want to read and re-read morsels of it again and again. Add this one to your beach bag, because it's a beautiful family story that will stay with you long after you're through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am the same age as the protagonist in this story. It was fun to reminisce about coming of age in the 80's, but this book is so much more than that. The characters are timeless and the writing superb! Put it at the top of your list for beach reading.
amyh1 More than 1 year ago
This is the summer read choice for me! Just one of those stories that you can't put down until the very last page is turned! I already have the hard copy and continue to lend it out... now I can have my own copy at my fingertips whenever I want to pick it up for the season! Waiting to hear more about the rest of this family... I am sure it will be worth the wait!
enazzaro More than 1 year ago
Thought-provoking, with very believable and rich characters. I have the hard-cover version, but love its latest incarnation as an e-book. Would make a great beach read (or even a lake read!)
kelreads More than 1 year ago
It is do trite to say that you could not put a book down, but in this case it was so true. The characters were so believable that I found myself wondering about them long after I stopped reading. I highly recommend this novel. Also hope to hear more from Althouse-Wood.
Santasis More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written book. I enjoyed the story that unfolded page after page. I found myself reading at the beach and could not put the book down until it was finished. These charaters became my friends and I can't wait to hear more stories from Summers at Blue Lake!!!
jneen30 More than 1 year ago
Summers at Blue Lake was a gift. I am an avid reader and my friend knew I would love the book. It is a timeless tale of family, secrets and the journey to understand. Between the attention to detail and characters you feel as though you are a part of this loving story.
MrsWoodie More than 1 year ago
The characters Jill has crated are believeable and likeable. The book grabs your attention from the first sentence to the last. This is a family story that touches everyone who reads it and leaves you wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to read yet engaging - I loved the twists and turns and the images and details it conjured. I read it a while back yet I can still picture the house and the lake and all the dreams that occurred!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The depth and feeling in this book is beyond belief. It is an amazing thing when you can sense the authors feelings in their writing. The characters, the baked goods, the card parties came alive! I could even smell the lake!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story of family secrets, of decisions made for love and the consequences. I felt like I was there with BJ, reading Nonna's notebook with her. Read this book and it will open doors to understanding the layers beneath who we are and what we believe about life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started this book at work and couldn't put it down; I was bummed when it had to be put aside to do some actual work. The story is well-written, the characters believable, and with the first part alternating between the past and present, the characters were well-developed. I can't wait to finish it tonight. Excellent reading.
rmd270 More than 1 year ago
This was a first time read of this author and I found the story interesting with a good summer read. This story was told in both the present and as a flashback to Barbara Jean's (BJ) childhood summers spent with her grandmother. During the changes in her current period life BJ is able to look back both fondly and inquisitively to the times spent on Blue Lake and the relationship her 2 grandmothers had and how it related to her family and directly to own up bringing. The lessons of family past history and the events that shaped their decisions and impacted BJ are very well told and woven and together
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a good read but i have to admit i found the ending to be a little too weird for me. Great writting, easy to read but i didnt like the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author kept me reading although parts of the story made me cringe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful story which draws you into its rich tapestry highly recommended if you njoy outstanding story telling
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. I would highly recommend this book!
boxer62 More than 1 year ago
Good quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The past-present timeline was hard to follow. Also, the "sexual abuse turns one into a lesbian" pretense is pretty cliche.