Mar 14, 2014

Review: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

A year after losing her husband Matt in a tragic accident, Kate Pheris finally wakes up for her stupor of grief and realizes she must take back her life, not only for herself but for the sake of her eight year-old daughter Devin. Ever since Matt's death, Kate has basically been on auto-pilot, just going through the motions and allowing her mother-in-law, Cricket, to make the decisions in both Devin and Kate's lives.

On the day Kate and Devin are to move into Cricket's house and start the life Cricket has planned for them, Kate finds a postcard from fifteen years ago that her mother apparently hid from her. It was from her great-aunt Eby who Kate remembered from the wonderful summer she spent at Eby's camp when she was twelve. The camp is situated around Lost Lake and though Kate remembers having the time of her young life, there was a falling out between Kate's mother and Eby and they abruptly left. Kate never knew what happened, only that she didn't get the chance to say goodbye to the friend she met there and spent every day of that summer with.

With Kate's mother gone and the discovery of the postcard, it was important for Kate now to go see Eby and explain why she never responded or saw Eby again. For the first time in a year, Kate made a decision about her life without consulting Cricket. She would take Devin and head out of Atlanta to the small town near the Florida border to Lost Lake so Devin could meet her great-great aunt who Kate remembered so fondly. Hopefully at the same time Kate can figure out if she's doing the right thing following Cricket's plan or to make one of her own.

My Thoughts:

It didn't take me long when I began reading LOST LAKE to realize how much I'd missed Sarah Addison Allen's writing. Just like her other books, of which I've read all but one somehow, there's an air of familiarity and comfort to her stories. I always connect to her characters so easily, even the unlikable ones. But mostly, her stories are so heartfelt and genuine that its easy to get caught up in them. Her lyrical prose and the mysterious magical elements she includes in her stories go together like peaches and cream.  I've read many books with that magical realism element but I find that no one does it better than SAA.

LOST LAKE is not just Kate's story - its also Eby's story that began some fifty years ago in Paris while on her honeymoon. Though Kate and Eby are the main protagonists, there are five other pivotal characters with great stories of their own in this book about love, grief and hope and Lost Lake has special meaning for all of them, even if they don't admit it.  As the story unfolds, SAA gives relative background on each of them without weighing it down or straying from the main plot line. Her character development is seamless.  Each of their stories is important to the plot and makes for great reading. Another plus is the diversity of the characters.

As with all of her books, the magical realism elements are subtle and not over the top, which allows them to fit perfectly into the story. Its funny, I've had recurring nightmares of alligators for years and I had no idea there would be an alligator in the storyline so that was a surprise. Though my nightmares are much more scary than the alligator in this story! I thought the symbolism of the alligator was great and tied the story together very nicely.  By the end of the book, I was wishing I had my own Lost Lake and Aunt Eby to go visit for the summer.

Sarah Addison Allen has shown me once again why she is one of the authors I look forward to reading the most. If you're looking for a book that will have great characters with a meaningful message and a little something magical, reach for one of her books - you can't go wrong with them.

Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: January 2014
Length: 303 pp
Source: Publisher/Netgalley
Recommend? Absolutely Yes!!


  1. I enjoyed reading your review. Lost Lake is the first book I've read by Sarah Addison Allen. I enjoyed it very much.

  2. After meeting Allen, I'm anxious to read this. I'm glad to see you liked it so much.

  3. I have loved Sarah Addison Allen's previous books. Can't wait to get to this one!

  4. I liked it too - wish there'd been 100 or 200 pages more :)

  5. I finished it yesterday and closed the book with a smile on my face :)

  6. But I do agree with Mary, nother 100 pages would have been nice.


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