Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lost Lake by: Sarah Addison Allen


     Wow, it's been quite a while since I've been round these parts, and it's been with much regret I assure you. Let's see if I still have it shall we?  Sarah Addison Allen is one of my all time favorite comfort read authors. Her atmospheric writing and quirky characters can't help but draw you in. Lost Lake tells the story of Kate Pheris, a newly widowed mother of an 8 year old free spirited little girl named Devin. With a controlling, over bearing mother-in-law Cricket, and a year spent watching life pass by in a fog of  disbelief, heart ache, and mourning, Kate is ready to take charge of her life. After finding an old post card from her aunt Eby at Lost Lake, Kate decides to take Devin on one last adventure. An adventure that would seem to make all the difference. 

  Oh the writing. Ms. Allen never disappoints on that end. As soon as I opened the book, the world welcomed me as only Ms. Allen can, and I settled in for it.
"Wake up, Kate!" And, exactly one year to the day that she fell asleep, Kate finally did.
How's that for an opening for ya? Lets talk Characters, Kate. Oh Kate, I loved her! I loved her and Devin and their fight to make their own in this world and live it, and be happy, not because they had a lot but because they had each other. I can just imagine Devin with her odd ball outfits, complete with tutu, and more often then not bike helmet. Devin, as with most children, perceive more than we give them credit for, and I simply adored her for it.
Devin tore off down the hall, but then stopped and ran back and hugged Kate.
"I've missed you," she said, then ran away again, leaving Kate standing there, shocked.
    Kate didn't think anyone knew.
    But Devin did.
    She knew Kate had been asleep all this time.
    As I settled in for this read, I realized, the longer I read, the more I began to fidget. Not because the writing went down hill- but more cause it went off on tangents and peripheral characters I just wasn't that interested in. Well, maybe I would've been if the story would just talk more about Kate! Every chapter that went off on another character and told their stories like Lisettes, or Bulahdeens, or Selmas, I steadied myself, thinking, well after their story she'll focus back on Kate, but no it was another peripheral characters past and journey, till at the end when there were no more pages to turn, I kind of shut the book miffed. Was that really the end? It was weird, this book told a story without really delving into the main characters. But maybe that was it? Maybe Kate's story wasn't the main story. Maybe it was more Eby's than Kate's and by that token more a story about Lost Lake, than the misfits that visited... And maybe I'm just throwing a fit because I didn't get to know the character that I was most interested in a little bit better.
     One of my favorite quirks about Ms. Allen is the magically infused worlds she creates. This one had no exceptions
    The rumbling outside stopped, and the sudden silence left a buzz in her ears.
    "Selma will be so disappointed now," Bulahdeen said, her eyes still closed. "There's one less thing for her to complain about."
    Kate started to respond, but she suddenly felt dizzy.
    She grabbed the back of a chair. She thought she heard a splash, and there was a sensation of darkness behind her eyes. She looked to Bulahdeen, but the old lady hadn't moved. What was happening? She tasted lake water in the back of her throat and felt a clamminess along her skin. She wiped her face, and her hand came away wet, with tiny grains of silt. She'd never experienced anything like it before.
    She went to the window and looked out again. Devin was gone.
    She ran out of the house to the lawn and looked around, panicked without any reasonable explanation why.
    Wes had just gotten out of his van. The dust he'd stirred up from the driveway was settling around them like flour.
    "Devin," Kate said to him. "Where is she?"
    "I don't know. Why? What's wrong?"
    "I don't know. I think..." That's when it occurred to her. "The cypress Knees!"In the few second it took Kate to turn, Wes had shot off like a stone from a slingshot, down to the lake and around the trail. It didn't take long for her to catch up with him. He didn't hesitate when he reached the group of cypress knees and jumped into the water and vanished.
*swoon* Oh Wes. The fact that Kate and his story wasn't explored more was just a crime. They were characters that were scarred and flawed in more ways than one (not that the others weren't) and yet what we saw of them, was minimal. (do I sound like a hopeless romantic?) I would even be satisfied if one of them were delved more deeply into (preferably Kate)
   But back to the initial point of this - sorry about the tangent- the supernatural that I usual love and adore about Ms. Allen was a bit rocky at best in this one, and at times felt a bit disconnected. I sound like such a downer in this review, but in all honestly it's always a treat to settle in with any book from Ms. Allen. While I enjoyed getting to know all the other characters: Lisette, Luc, Bulahdeen, Eby, George, Selma, and so on and so forth I must say I wasn't in love with them. I did learn that
    1-Everyone needs a true loyal friend like Bulahdeen, that's willing to walk through your prickly moods and pull you through to the other side.
    2- It's always good to reconnect with family, especially at a magical place like Lost Lake and
    3- Curses only have power if you believe in them.

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