Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Sarah Addison Allen - Lost Lake

It happens one morning - Kate finally wakes up from the slumber she's been in since her husband's death a year ago. Feeling a fresh sense of desire to take control of her and her young daughter's life, she decides to visit Suley, Georgia - home to Lost Lake. It's where Kate spent one of the happiest summers of her life as a child. She's not sure what she expects to find there, but it's not a rundown place full of ghosts and other curious oddities. Kate's Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the old place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake, can she bring the cottages - as well as her heart and the hearts of all the guests - back to life? Because sometimes lost loves aren't really lost. They're just waiting for you to find them again.

Comment: This is one of the books I picked for the alphabet soup challenge. It's the letter L and I chose it because it was written by an author I know whose work would be something I'd appreciate. Although some of her books felt weaker to me than others, I still think of her stories as little jewels to be appreciated.
This is the story of Kate and her daughter Devin and how they are changing their lives one year after the loss of Matt, Kate's husband.
Kate feels her mourning has changed and now she can see clearly again. After finding an old postcard from her aunt Eby, Kate takes Devin for a vacation but what she finds is a group of people with dreams, with things to deal with, memories and her aunt's desire to sell Lost Lake, the piece of land where her business is.
Through the lives of most characters we uncover an old story that kept going until now and that needs to be told so everyone has a chance at forgiveness and peace...
I liked this story. I think the author does a good job in creating special characters and giving them a sort of aura that makes them unique. Her books are labeled magical realism because she writes contemporary settings but there's always some magical element that can't be fully explained, although if we look at some things through a metaphoric explanation, it wouldn't be so hard.
Anyway, all her books present us special people that have secrets, little details that turn them into people who have touching, special lives.
In this book that magic can be seen mostly in Selma, a character that has charms to catch a man she wants. The charm has rules but in this idea we see how believing in something can motivate you enough to do things. Some details are difficult to believe in, but that's part of the appeal too.
Kate's daughter also has the sight of a child, so her take on everything is seen as magical in some aspects. The main subject of the book is found because Devin helps finding it. The explanation for some things seems too unlikely but it's there so it's up to the reader to follow the explanations and believe...or not. The magical realism can be explained like that, the idea is there but the way we see it can turn it into something believable or just randomly whimsical.
The best part about the story is the characters. The narrative is in the third person but we have the POV of several characters and we can know many aspects of their lives and personality. Of course this helps us to bond, to relate to this or that person. I like knowing the characters, why they behave the way they do, why they are like that. I think the author has a lot of imagination but she always writes politely and polished. It almost feels she takes care with everything she says and not only because she has a good editor.
Romance per se we don' actually have here, but we have scenes that give that impression. This story is more about the redemption and the promise of the future. We learn a lot and we hope a lot when it comes to the character's HEA.
All in all, the story is good, full of special and unique elements. I think it's slightly weaker than some of the other books by her, mainly because there isn't any central focus on anyone or anything and it's more complicated to expect closure or a decisive conclusion when it is so. I also felt a bit loss at times because some scenes weren't as engaging or fascinating.
Still, I consider this a good story, perfect for one to get lost in.
Grade: 7/10

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