Review: The Lake of Dreams, Kim Edwards

| 11 May , 2011 | Reply

Melanie Starr

Have you ever walked the corridors of an historic home and wondered to yourself; “if only these walls could talk.” Lucy Jarrett\’s walls not only talk but reveal hidden family histories long forgotten amidst the Jarrett family legacy.

Lucy returns to her family\’s lakeside home in upstate New York having worked and lived abroad for many years following the untimely death of her father, Martin. At a distinct transitional stage of life, Lucy becomes dissatisfied living in Japan with her Japanese boyfriend, Yoshi. Unemployed and barely grasping the language, Lucy decides a trip home might put things in perspective. Once home, however, Lucy quickly realises that many things have changed in her absence. The historic town, The Lake of Dreams, is in the process of change with pristine, un-spoilt parcels of land being sold off to developers including land that surrounds the Jarrett family home. Members of Lucy\’s family are also changing and evolving. Lucy\’s mother, Evie, and brother, Blake, appear to be moving on with their lives having already dealt with their grief. With this in mind, the contrast between Lucy and other characters in the book is vast. We understand Lucy to be an independent and capable young woman yet still running from her past.

Late one evening, Lucy discovers some old letters and pamphlets locked away in a window seat in one of the family rooms. This intrigues Lucy so much that she spends the rest of the novel unraveling the great mystery of who put them there and why. From here the narrative takes the form of a detective story where one piece of the puzzle leads to the next with Lucy\’s story becoming enmeshed with old family secrets and cover-ups.

Edwards describes her story beautifully with vivid imagery, however, this is a dense novel that requires some perseverance by the reader. Those interested in the feminist movement will appreciate the historical significance of one character in particular but to say anymore would be giving too much away. Of special note is Edwards\’s use of the epistolary genre in which letters are used to help tell the story. These glimpses into the past are quite charming and a highlight of this novel.

Available Now: Penguin RRP $29.95


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