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The Lake of Dreams: A Novel by Kim Edwards

The Lake of Dreams: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Kim Edwards

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8144811,186 (3.39)1 / 29
Title:The Lake of Dreams: A Novel
Authors:Kim Edwards
Info:Viking Adult (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, 2011

Work details

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards


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English (47)  German (1)  All (48)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
When I sit down with a new book and think for a moment of the characters and settings and plots that I hope to soon encounter, I wonder how close the book will be to some unquantifiable ideal that I have. And after two DNFs in a row, I was beginning to worry. And then I cracked open this one, and this is the sort of book that I wish every book could be. The characters are terrific and have just enough in the way of flaws, but the novel is not entirely character-driven; there is actually a decent story to follow, as well. On the settings front, the scenes are painted well and the book reminds me once again of how much I want to visit the Finger Lakes region of the country someday. And not just because of nearby Cooperstown. As for the narrative, the story lines are excellent, but the book is not entirely plot-driven, either; the characters are multidimensional and nicely developed, as well.

As for the plot threads themselves, there's the story of the protagonist (and the voice of the novel) and her personal and professional restlessness as she nears 30. (This was a weak point for me, as I consider 30 to be too young for a mid-life crisis of sorts, but Edwards is more or less able to get away with it here.) Then there's the question of what really led to her father's death on a still lake in the early morning hours over a decade earlier. And there's the question of how her various findings will affect her mother and her brother and those around them and those with ties to them in the small town. And there's a fair amount of Wolfe's you-can't-go-home-again theme here, as well. Lastly, there's the story of her relatives from generations past, both before and after they arrived on these shores. In retrospect, I had issues with some of the dumb things that the protagonist did along the way, but the only major negative on the plotting front was when the story almost went off the rails near the end. Not only off the rails, but it had me worrying that it was going to crash and burn in flames, in both a figurative and a literal sense. Fortunately, things were righted in short order and the subsequent resolution was as good as the rest of the book. But if Edwards was talked *off* of that path by someone, then she owes that person a nice dinner; and if she was talked *onto* it, then she needs to kick that person in the shins really, really hard.

Beyond that, I skipped Edwards's debut outing in spite of a lot of praise for her writing, as the topic simply didn't appeal to me and, admittedly, I steer clear of what I perceive to be "chick lit" with as much fervor as many women have for their avoidance of some of the admittedly brainless, testosterone-driven thrillers that I enjoy. The topic of this one, on the other hand, appealed to me quite a bit on a number of levels, and I was glad to see that the praise for her writing is legitimate--and then some. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
Not as good as her 1st book but I would still recommend the title. ( )
  INorris | Jun 8, 2017 |
Very enjoyable read! A few different storylines to make it interesting,something for everyone. Lucy Jarrett returns home to discover suffragette history is her family home,she also discovers her family history along the way and alot of Central NYS history; part family mystery.I am a family historian and I loved that aspect of the book.Lucy was a bit naive and disrespectful at times in regards to family history.But as in life,a learning experience. This book was very good, I could put it down but didn't want to.At one point I just read 275 pages without a break.I don't remember the last time I did that. I loved the story of the glass windows.This is well written. It was a story I could just "dwell in". The ending was not what I expected but it was a good ending. Great beach/summer read.At times,Lucy gets a bit annoying,but she is certainly a likeable character. ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book. For someone who has be researching my family ancestry, the hidden family history is always an enjoyable thing to find. I really like the descriptions of the stained glass and everything about the small town. The author did a good job with description and pulled you into the story. I enjoyed seeing where it would go. I wish I had the free spirit as the main character and could just live anywhere a job took them or look forward to living in many different countries. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
Lucy Jarrett returns hoem to visit her mother after her mom has been in a minor car accident. Lucy finds some old papers hidden in the cupola of her families hosue and begins researching her families hidden history. The whole story just dragged on and on and it seemed to take forever for anything to happen. I really don't get what the whole point of the book is. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Her fans won't be disappointed with her second novel. Though a little long-winded and too heavily metaphorical at times, The Lake of Dreams is as enchanting as her first novel...Edwards' emphasis on metaphors and symbolism does slow the story down. Readers may also notice that the characters' dialogue tends to be overly long and detailed, so not always realistic. She also relies too heavily on coincidence and luck in her plot. But in the final analysis, this novel is a dream.

Kim Edwards has, in fact, done it again, riveting us to her story. And if one can take issue at all with the book, it would be a need to carp over the touches of political correctness that pervade each of her characters! This tendency in the author’s delineations does take from them a certain credibility. It tells us as well that Edwards, while a natural in the telling of a tale, has yet to learn that characters are wholly convincing when they act within a story’s limits and not by advertising their “green” credentials, “do-goodism” or socially-minded intentions. Nor, are “bad guys” necessarily defined by those who would change the landscape, build towering buildings, or profit by their enterprise..Even so, Edward’s The Lake of Dreams is a notable contribution and a worthy successor to her first novel.
Edwards’s pen has a wanderlust, a restlessness that propels the narrative from past to present and from New York City to England and Jakarta. The novel is rich in historical detail, clearly the fruit of decent research into early New York feminist circles...This is both a good and a bad thing. Though Edwards has a trademark ability to spin a good yarn, the plot often snags and drags as its distracting tangents multiply.....And while The Memory Keeper’s Daughter got page-turning power from a shocking premise, Edwards seems almost determined to keep her new tale from being too implausible. In the process, she has denied it some spark....
The Lake of Dreams is a kind of mystery novel of the self, about a woman caught in the undertow of history. It may not have the blockbuster potential of Edwards’s first book, but it grips in a quieter, gentler way.

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Voor mijn familie, vooral voor mijn ouders, John en Shirley
First words
Ik heb kennis van alle, beide van verborgen en openbare dingen, want de wijsheid, die van alle dingen een kunstenares is, heeft ze mij geleerd.
Boek der Wijsheid 7:21
Een rechte lijnn heeft niets geheimzinnigs, Het geheimzinnige achuilt in de bol.
Thomas Mann, Joseph und seiner Brüder
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Lucy Jarrett staat op een kruispunt in haar leven en besluit een tijdje terug te gaan naar haar geboortedorp. Eenmaal in het ouderlijk huis dringt de gedachte aan de raadselachtige dood van haar vader zich aan haar op. Ze voelt zich schuldig omdat ze hem alleen gelaten heeft op de avond waarop hij verdronk en vraagt zich af waarom hij eigenlijk ruzie had met zijn broer. Bij toeval ontdekt ze een verzameling spullen die haar familiegeschiedenis in een heel ander licht plaatsen. Als ook oude gevoelens voor haar jeugdliefde – een glasblazer – opflakkeren weet ze: het is tijd om schoon schip te maken. Een meeslepende roman waarin heden en verleden prachtig in elkaar overvloeien.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0670022179, Hardcover)

A Letter from Kim Edwards

Dear Readers,

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.


Kim Edwards

(Photo of Kim Edwards © Deborah Feingold)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In this book, the author tells the story of a woman's homecoming, a family secret, and the old house that holds the key to the true legacy of a family. At a crossroads in her life, Lucy Jarrett returns home from Japan, only to find herself haunted by her father's unresolved death a decade ago. Old longings stirred up by Keegan Fall, a local glass artist who was once her passionate first love, lead her into the unexpected. Late one night, as she paces the hallways of her family's rambling lakeside house, she discovers, locked in a window seat, a collection of objects that first appear to be useless curiosities. But soon they reveal a deeper and more complex family past. As Lucy discovers and explores the traces of her lineage from an heirloom tapestry and dusty political tracts to a web of allusions depicted in stained glass windows throughout upstate New York, the family story she has always known is shattered. Lucy's quest for the truth reconfigures her family's history, links her to a unique slice of the suffragette movement, and yields dramatic insights that embolden her to live freely. With surprises at every turn, this is a saga in which every element emerges as a carefully place piece of the puzzle.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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