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The Lake of Dreams Paperback – November 29, 2011
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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.
(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.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Lucy is living in Japan with her boyfriend Yoshi. She is unsettled, unable to find a job and feeling homesick. She goes to visit her mother who lives in upstate New York - her first visit home in many years, having left soon after her father died in a boating accident. She discovers some long lost letters, which prompts her to investigate a previously unknown family member. This initiates a chain of events that will have a huge impact on her family.
The book is an easy read and feels well researched. Nevertheless I didn't care about any of the characters, didn't find the story terribly interesting and became totally fed up with the endless watery metaphors. The plot is also overly reliant on happy coincidences, timely revelations and the reader's willingness to overlook time compressions that defy the laws of physics.
There have been many recent - and better - books about women uncovering family secrets: Sarah's Key and The Distant Hours: A Novel come to mind.
If you read the Kindle edition of this book, be aware that a family tree is included at the very end.
The characters are deep and well developed and the story proceeds at a good pace. For awhile, the basic plot seems like one you may have read a thousand times, but then it twists and the main character grows. I hated having to put it down the writing is so descriptive and rich.
This complex, multigenerational story also incorporates some of the present dilemmas of land use and water preservation. It is a celebration of our mother Earth and its creatures.
Woven into this family story is the history of women's rights and a depiction of how hard they had to be fought for and why we should not take them for granted. Women should remember what it was like before there were laws to protect our rights and take full advantage of our right to vote to protect women in the future instead of allowing them to be eroded by present legislation.
One night, suffering from jet lag, Lucy picks the lock on an old window seat in her family home and finds a number of what appear to be old letters and historical documents. She begins to research her findings, and what she discovers is more than she bargained for--she finds a hidden secret in her family tree that has the potential for ripple effects into the present, and future. As Lucy tries to uncover more and more of the facts, she also must renegotiate her relationships, with her family, with Keegan, and with Yoshi.
I've always been a fan of stories of family dysfunction and family history, so this book grabbed me pretty quickly. And while the story itself was really interesting, and I really enjoyed the way Kim Edwards laid everything out, I had trouble warming up to Lucy's character until well into the book, and that made immersing myself in the story fully a bit difficult. But by the time I appreciated just how complex a character Lucy was, I found myself truly hooked. While perhaps not as memorable as Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter, this book is definitely an affecting, emotional read.