Title: The Lake of Dreams
Author: Kim Edwards
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Lucy Jarrett is living in Japan with her boyfriend, Yoshi, and is bereft. She hasn’t been able to find work and is lost in the foreign country. When her mother is injured in a car accident, Lucy uses it as an excuse to return home, even though she knows her mother was barely hurt. When she returns to the Lake of Dreams, she is forced to confront everything that has changed and everything, like her father’s suicide, that has stayed the same.
Despite all its great reviews, I never really had the urge to read Kim Edwards’ first novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. The premise just never appealed to me and despite all the good things I’d heard, I didn’t choose to pick it up. But with her second novel, The Lake of Dreams, I was definitely intrigued. I love plots featuring lost and haunted women searching for something, and the fact that some early reviews said that this book would disappoint lovers of her first made me think that this one was more my style.
It looks like that is the case because I did enjoy The Lake of Dreams. Lucy is a well-written main character, flawed and real. She’s at her most interesting when she’s clashing with those around her, something that happens relatively often in the novel. She has a tendency to react too quickly, to snap at others, then regret her words. I loved her self-introspection and the way she had to face some difficult truths about herself. That being said, Lucy is never unlikable, though my description might seem that way. It’s clear from the beginning of the novel that she has some serious issues, especially when it comes to her father’s death, and it’s satisfying to watch Lucy slowly come to a place of acceptance.
When the present becomes too much for Lucy to deal with, she hides in the past. Upon coming home, Lucy discovers some letters that concern a woman named Rose and her daughter, Iris. Lucy is curious about them because her family is relatively tight-knit, and it’s strange that she might have relatives she’s never heard of. Lucy’s mother informs her it might be her great-aunt, and she may have been involved in women’s suffrage. This storyline is really fascinating and provides a very interesting glimpse of women at a time when they were fighting for the right to vote in the United States. I would have loved more of this story.
The Lake of Dreams isn’t perfect; it does move slowly, so don’t expect to read it in one sitting. However, I took the book at its languorous pace, and as a result, I really enjoyed getting to know Lucy and following her in both the present, and her research into the past. It was an interesting novel and I definitely recommend it, though I’m not sure that those expecting this one to be exactly like The Memory Keeper’s Daughter will really love it.