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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Lake Surrender: Her journey ends where the lake begins
Format: Paperback|Change
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on October 2, 2014
Powerful story about the power of forgiveness. Stratton creates memorable characters with realistic problems--divorce, special needs child, job loss. Romantic without being sappy. Honest perspective on trusting God in difficult situations. For single moms, yes-- but we all need to learn about forgiveness.
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on December 28, 2015
Ally's losses continue to mount, a divorce, her home, and to top that off, her job. A single mom with no job, no home, and two children to raise, makes a life-changing decision. With her almost teen daughter and an autistic young son, she makes a big move toward healing and a new start in life. They leave San Francisco behind and move to Michigan to stay with Ally's aunt on Lake Surrender.

This is a debut novel for this author, and had I not known that fact I would have been amazed! This author's creative writing skills are remarkable. She has obviously done a lot of research regarding the topics that are broached in this touching story of this uprooted family. Her descriptions of an autistic young child are authentic and stirring. The challenges that are met in this heart wrenching story are poignant and realistic.

I could hardly wait for my reading time each day as I looked forward to what might happen next in this unpredictable novel. I look forward to more writing from Carol Grace Stratton, as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Family is pivotal to this story, and the relationships within this family are emotional yet heartwarming.

I highly recommend this new author's touching novel. An emotional journey through the lives of a family stricken by hardship after hardship will open your mind and heart to the realities of life through the eyes of this talented author.
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on September 20, 2017
LOVED this book. People put in situations where they had to question their ways of responding to life's challenges from a worldly perspective and a spiritual perspective. I could feel how Allie was challenged to look for new ways to handle her problems that were alien to her but she became brave and willing to do what was necessary and that choice changed her life totally. In this change she found faith in Jesus for her whole family and how to trust and use that faith to let God lead her life thru things that seemed bad at the time. She found good coming thru the bad experiences that took on a wonderful path to forgiveness to others who had hurt her, to see her role in the problem and seek forgiveness from others for her judgmentalness and the best part was seeing her walk in her faith and fulfill the potential God had for her and her family.

Good job, Carol Grace Stratton. I know this book was written with a knowledge of what true faith is. Thank you for the encouragement.
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on December 12, 2014
As Carol Grace Stratton’s debut novel, this was one powerful story. Ally Cervantes, a children’s publisher for a high-powered Los Angelus publisher, has been divorced by her husband, left to sell her house, left to raise two children alone (one with autism), and down-sized from her job. With finances tight, she takes up her Aunt Nettie’s offer to stay in her cabin on Lake Surrender, MI, until she can find another publishing job.

Carol has laced her story with plots and subplots that keep the story popping from page one. The characters are realistic yet with flaws, just like the real world. Not finding a job in her field, Ally becomes a cook for a summer camp. This is where the story takes off flying. Suspense, romance, child-raising issues, and camp living becomes a never-ending host of surprises. Carol has pulled off a great novel. An author to be looking for in the near future.

Only one thing bothered me in the book. The cohesiveness from specific time lapses were a bit abrupt. A smoother tie-in would have made the book perfect for me.

This book was provided free from the author in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received for my review.
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on February 25, 2017
Lake Surrender by Carol Grace Stratton tells the story of Ally. She is recently divorced and caring for a twelve year old daughter and a six year old autistic son. At the beginning of the book, she feels like the world is crashing down on her. Not only has her marriage ended, but she has to sell the house because she can't afford it on her own. Then she gets devastating news - she is losing her job as an editor because the company is merging with a larger publishing company, and she is being downsized. After that blow, there is no way she can afford to live in the San Francisco Bay area. Her aunt, who lives in upper Michigan, offers to let Ally and her children live with her on beautiful Lake Surrender. After the move, the only job Ally can find is as the head cook for a summer camp located across the lake. There, she reconnects with a childhood playmate, Will. She also learns about God and his forgiveness. But will she ever be able to forgive the people who have hurt her?

I truly enjoyed reading this book. The characters are very well developed, as is the storyline. It isn't preachy like some Christian books I have read. Instead, it gradually introduces the concept of belief in God and Jesus. I also liked the book because of the information and compassionate understanding of autism. It showed the effect autism has on a family, in that one of the reasons for Ally's divorce was because her husband Bryan couldn't deal with having a special needs child. It also showed many of the typical responses people have towards autism, including kids making fun of Benji but also avoiding him because they are afraid they might catch it by association. One of the other responses was that Ally's mother thinks Benji should be institutionalized because she believes Ally can't handle the stress and responsibility.

One thing I didn't like about the book was that while it talked about beginning or building a relationship with God, it never really told how to begin that relationship, by believe, receive, and confess Jesus. It also didn't talk about being under conviction, which is where you can feel that God is calling you to repentance.

I would definitely recommend this book for women who enjoy Christian women's fiction. I would love to read more by this author.
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on July 25, 2016
I was blown away by this book. Usually it takes a good mystery/thriller to make it hard for me to put down. This book was so good, I read late into the night(er, morning) and read more before getting out of bed when I should have been up and going. Ally's life has been torn upside down with a divorce, job loss and moving herself and two children from all they new in California to Lake Surrender, Michigan.Her daughter, twelve-year-old Kylie, does not like leaving her friends. Six-year-old Banjie is a challenge because he is autistic. I enjoyed how the story wove around the interactions of the characters and the progress made with Benjie. Not having worked with autistic children, I don't know how believable the progress was, but I know that with God all things are possible.
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on November 16, 2016
I gave this wonderful book 5 stars. Would have given it 10 stars if I could have.
It has taught me what forgiveness really is.
I enjoyed every page.
I would definitely recommend this book to my friends.
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on April 24, 2017
I really did love this story. Sadness, painful, sweet, healing. Beautifully written,. People who go through a nasty divorce with some bitterness. They are lead by God into situations where they experience lessons in life, go through healing and pain. I read this in one day. I just couldn't lay it down for more than a few minutes at a time. I highly recommend this book.
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on April 17, 2017
When Ally's life spirals out of control and finds herself struggling with a divorce and being a single mom, she goes back to the Lake... as time goes by learning to forgive brings freedom.... happy ending for all! What a great read... hope there is more as the ending left me wanting to see what the future holds....
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on November 13, 2014
This novel to me is about surrendering your life to the Lord and humanity in general. Ally Cervantes, as a single Mom, raising two kids, one a typical young girl looking for attention and an autistic six-year-old boy, loses her job as an editor and has to sell the house to move to Michigan. It is here in which a change happens to Ally, in which she has to adjust and see her life in a new way. She stays at a cottage with her Aunt Nettie, who welcomes her daughter with nothing but love and compassion. Being a cook at a busy camp wasn't exactly her dream job, but she learned to deal with it and make due in order to make ends meet. It is here in which she meets Will, the camp director. Ally remembers him from her childhood, but avoids reminding him that they had met there at the camp years before. But through all the challenges that happened to her Ally she will learn that life is unpredictable and if you learn to turn and accept there is a higher power looking out for you, you will surrender to his kindness. Ally is not just a likable character, but a role model for all single mothers who look for hope.

Danielle P
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