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The Lake of Dreams: A Novel Hardcover – January 4, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Letter from Kim Edwards

Dear Readers,

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter was that rare thing, a true word-of-mouth best seller, and I want to begin this letter by thanking all the readers who have been part of this amazing experience. I appreciate your passion for books and for stories, your intense and thoughtful conversations, and the comments you have sent to me from across the country and across the world.

Now, I’m really pleased and excited to introduce you to my new novel, The Lake of Dreams. Set in the beautiful Finger Lakes area of upstate New York, this novel is the story of Lucy Jarrett and her discovery of a hidden past, glimpsed first through fragments of old letters and traces left in stained glass windows. Lucy’s quest through the artifacts of history brings her face to face with the dynamics she fled the summer after her father drowned; it compels her to make an inward journey, too, one that will alter her understanding of herself and change the course of her life.

The Lake of Dreams is a book I’ve been imagining for a long time. Years ago I wrote a 400 page draft of a different novel that had some of these same thematic concerns, including a complex family history, the importance of the land, and the comet connecting generations. That early novel ended up in a box in my basement, as so many first novels do, though I did return to it from time to time, and once I even made it 200 pages into another version before I put it aside again. Meanwhile, I finished my story collection, The Secrets of a Fire King. I wrote The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.

Yet the essence of the earlier story persisted, and shortly after The Memory Keeper’s Daughter was finished, but before it was published, I started writing The Lake of Dreams. Those earlier, discarded drafts had finally brought me to the heart of the story, and this time I had the voice, which is always the crucial discovery. Then the characters from the past began to emerge, with all their fascinating revelations. I immersed myself in the writing, and this new novel was well underway before the excitement of the best seller lists and book tours began. When things began to quiet down again, it was a real pleasure to return to The Lake of Dreams, to Lucy and her family and the mysteries of glass, and to the story that was waiting for me there.

I’ll be going on tour for The Lake of Dreams in January.

Best wishes to my readers! I hope you enjoy The Lake of Dreams.


Kim Edwards

(Photo of Kim Edwards © Deborah Feingold)

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Edwards's much anticipated second novel may disappoint fans of her first, The Memory Keeper's Daughter. When Lucy Jarrett returns to her childhood home in Lake of Dreams, N.Y., she learns that her brother, Blake, who's gone into the family business, and his girlfriend hope to drain a controversial marsh to construct a high-end property. Meanwhile, Lucy, who remains haunted by her father's death in a fishing accident years earlier, reconnects with her first boyfriend, Keegan Fall, now a successful glass artist. But when she sees something familiar in the pattern of one of his pieces, and discovers a hidden note in her childhood home, Lucy finally digs into her family's mysterious past. Unfortunately, the lazy expository handling of information mutes the intrigue, and readers will see the reignited spark between Keegan and Lucy coming for miles. All loose ends eventually come together with formulaic ease to rock the family boat. Edwards is at her best when highlighting the strain between her characters. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022175
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kim Edwards is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which was translated into thirty-eight languages. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The Lake of Dreams, and a collection of short stories, The Secrets of a Fire King. Her honors include the Whiting Award, the British Book Award, and USA Today's Book of the Year, as well as the Nelson Algren Award, a National Magazine Award, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has taught widely in the US and Asia, and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I think I am one of the few people who hasn't read The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edward's New York Times bestselling first novel. So I jumped at the chance to read her latest book - The Lake of Dreams. Now I know why everyone kept recommending her!

Lucy Jarrett lives in Japan with her boyfriend Yoshi. She is between jobs and somewhat uncertain of what the future holds for her. When an email from her brother arrives, mentioning that her widowed mother has been slightly injured in a fall, Lucy decides to go home for a visit. The visit stirs up memories of her father's death. Nothing is as it was, her mother and her brother Blake are moving on with their lives.

"All these years I'd taken such comfort in my wandering life, but really I'd been as anchored to the night my father died as Blake had been, circling it from afar, still caught within its gravity. Now Blake was moving on, and my mother was, too; the feeling I'd been fighting all day, the feeling of being adrift by myself in a vast dark space, engulfed me for a moment."

In the cupola of the family home, Lucy discovers a cache of items that suggest the family history as she knows it, isn't quite the whole story. As Lucy pursues the story behind the items, history reaches forward to change the course of the present.

The characters were especially well drawn, each entirely believable. The emotions and situations were convincing and rang true - Lucy's exploration of her feelings with an old flame, her mother's burgeoning relationship with a new flame and more. It was the exploration of the past that enthralled me though. I found myself flipping ahead, looking for the italicized type that indicated a letter from the past.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By My2Cents VINE VOICE on January 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was anxious to read Kim Edward's latest release after having enjoyed her debut novel The Memory Keeper's Daughter: A Novel, some five years earlier. In her latest novel, Lucy Jarrett, the novel's protagonist, had been living in Japan with her boyfriend Yoshi, an architect. Some ten years earlier, the summer before Lucy was leaving for college, her father had drowned in a boating accident back home in Lake of Dreams, New York. Lucy has blamed herself from time to time for her father's death, because he had asked her to go fishing with him at the time, but she chose to spend time with her boyfriend Keegan instead. Why her father drowned is still somewhat of a mystery.

Over the last ten years, college, grad school, and several different jobs has kept her busy and away from the family home. Currently unemployed, when Lucy learns that her mother was injured in an accident, she realizes that it is time to go home.

When Lucy arrives back in Lake of Dreams, she sees that the sprawling family home, in the family for some 100 plus years, is in need of some serious repairs. She is glad to see her mother and her brother Blake, and it isn't long before she is reconnecting with the first love of her life, Keegan Fall. Keegan is now a talented stain glass artisan. While rediscovering the family home, Lucy finds some mysterious papers among her father's effects, that she is puzzled by. Curious to find out more, Lucy soon uncovers remnants from years gone by, and soon learns about some amazing relatives that had never been spoken of.

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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Utah Mom VINE VOICE on January 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was especially excited to read Kim Edward's newest book The Lake of Dreams because I read and loved The Memory Keeper's Daughter several years ago. I thought it was funny that one of the characters in The Lake of Dreams is reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter.

The Lake of Dreams is the story of Lucy Jarrett who returns to her hometown for a vacation after several years of working abroad, most recently Japan. While visiting her mother in the lake house where she grew up, Lucy discovers some old papers hidden in the cupboard. Fascinated by details of an old letter to her great-grandfather and the mention of family names she has never heard, Lucy studies her own family history to uncover the buried secrets--some a hundred years old and others much more recent.

Edward's writing style is detailed and engaging. She especially excels at describing locations. The Japanese village and the town beside the lake are so carefully described, I felt as if I were literally experiencing the earthquakes in Japan or a canoe ride across the lake. I enjoyed the descriptions of the stained glass windows and especially the images of Keegan's glass shop.

I found the hunt for information about Lucy's ancestors interesting--especially the history of Women's Suffrage. The story of Rose, Lucy's long lost great-great aunt, is more fascinating than Lucy's story. I wish the story had just been told from Rose's perspective. I would have liked to understand her character better.

While I did enjoy the novel, I didn't fall in love with it. Honestly, I'm having trouble figuring out why I just didn't feel that moved by the book. I never had that urgent desire to stay up all night and finish. It did seem to move along rather slowly. Also, I lacked a connection with Lucy.
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