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The Lake Season by Hannah McKinnon
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The Lake Season

by Hannah McKinnon

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The Lake Season is a wonderfully written gem of a story. This is the book you need to pack in your suitcase when you are going to the beach or just lounging by the pool. Hannah McKinnon weaves a beautiful story of a woman, who after losing herself slowly in her marriage finds herself again. I think one of the best parts of the story is the setting itself. The story takes place on a stunning farm with a breathtaking lake on the property. Who couldn’t imagine being there and loving every second?

Iris Standish has the perfect life: a wonderful husband, three amazing children, and a beautiful house. That is until everything falls apart around her. Her husband decides after sixteen years to call it quits and get a divorce. Iris finds out afterwards that he was cheating on her with another woman. When Iris gets a perfectly timed postcard from her sister imploring her to come to their parents’ farm, where Leah is getting married in a few weeks, Iris decides this is the perfect time to get away. While she is there dealing with her grief of her broken family, she learns about herself that she has long forgotten. While she is hiding away at the farm with her family, she runs into an old classmate, Cooper Woods, who is restoring the barn. Iris finds she needs to do something besides mope and feel sorry for herself, so she starts helping Cooper restore the barn. As the weeks go on, they get closer and she finds herself remembering the person she used to be. Could this be real love? Or is this a rebound? Can she leave her family or just give up and divorce her husband after so many years for another man? While she is dealing with her feelings for Cooper and her love of her family, her sister Leah is acting very weird. What could be going on with her sister? She’s getting married in just a few short weeks so why does she seem so sad?

This is my favorite book that I have read this year so far. The setting and the way that Iris evolves during the whole story makes for a fantastic read that you just do not want to put down until the very last page. I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes romance or just wonderfully written women’s fiction. ( )
1 vote srkromer | Jul 9, 2015 |
I'm giving this book a 4 star because I ripped through it at unbelievable speed, which can only mean it held my attention. To do that it would have to appeal to my likes, a good attention to landscape detail, well developed characters. It's always nice to read about a beautiful lake and an awesome farm stand, but family problems abound and some solutions, not the easy ones, are included too! Good read! Enjoy. ( )
  mchwest | Jul 7, 2015 |
An ideal summer beach read, and perfect for book club discussions, Hannah McKinnon’s THE LAKE SEASON, is a moving beautiful story of sisters, dark family secrets, a stunning idyllic lakefront setting in New England, a desperate last-chance summer, rediscovery and possibilities for the future.

Iris has always been the responsible sister, while her sister Leah dropped out of college, the free-spirit, hiking through Yellowstone and job hopping, leaving Iris to pick up the pieces. Everyone always liked Leah as the life of the party, Iris boring and uptight.

Now, Iris finds her life and marriage falling apart (Paul, husband and three children-Sadie, Lily, and Jack). She feels no one likes her at the moment, so why stay. Once again Leah calls her back to their childhood home for help, off she goes to help with the preparations for her sister’s wedding to a rich man the family has never met.

The air is filled with tension upon the arrival. Iris is looking forward to the time away from her own family to decide about her own life and future. However, will she put her responsibility for other aside to find her own passion? What about an unexpected romance with an old class mate Cooper Woods, while working with the barn renovations?

Leah always been the favorite daughter and seems never to take responsibility for her actions - a case of sibling rivalry? Everyone loves Leah, she's engaged; yet they have not been in touch for years. Leah seems to have it all, but something isn't quite right. Leah does not act like someone madly in love. What gives?

Families aren’t easy – they are complex and most of the time our friends know more about us than our own family members. McKinnon cleverly takes all the messy-life topics and creates a compelling and heartwarming realistic story for a summer of healing, forgiveness, sisterhood, and rediscovery!

Charming and heartfelt! Add to your summer beach read collection. ( )
  JudithDCollins | Jun 23, 2015 |
The Lake Season by Hannah Roberts McKinnon is a 2015 Atria/ Emily Bestler Books Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is women's fiction at it's finest. I have a habit of reading several books at one time, but once I got several chapters deep into this one, I couldn't put it down.

Iris and Leah are sisters, but you would never know it judging by their personalities. Iris is a solid, hard working person who got the good grades in school, was dependable, reliable, and did all the right things, but she was practically ignored by her parents in favor of her sister, Leah, who was beautiful and talented, but was never consistent, went through men at warp speed, partied hard, and never really made much of her life. But, her parents always got her out of trouble, gave her money if she asked, and made excuses for her.

Now, Iris is going through a crisis of her own, right when Leah decides to finally settle down and get married. So, Iris heads home to stay with her parents for the summer and plan a wedding for her flighty sister.

But, Iris could never have predicted the way this summer would end, what deeply rooted pain and resentments would come to light, what secrets would be unveiled, and how she herself will change in just a few short months, leading her on a road of self discovery with a renewed sense of hope and confidence, even if the road is still a rocky one.

We see life mostly through Iris's point of view as she tells us about her sister, her husband, her kids, her job, and her parents. Iris is just a little hard on herself and it's obvious she has spent most of her life trying to please people, starting with her parents, then her husband. But, now Iris needs to do something for herself, even if it's painful and terrifying.

However, as Iris returned home to New Hampshire, I couldn't help but notice how little self confidence Iris has, and how it's so often true that the way we view ourselves is so different from the way others see us. So, Iris is shocked at times, surprised at others times, sometimes pleasantly so, by the confessions made by her friend Trish, her sister, and her mother. Iris sees that maybe she had been taken notice of after all and that maybe she had something going for herself that others were envious of.

Still, even if she did have a life others wished to have, at this moment in time it's all in jeopardy. Iris's future is up in the air as her husband hints that maybe their marriage has run it's course. What will she do now? What will happen to the children, her career?

While she ponders these things, and goes though the painful process of realizing her marriage is a failure and is about to come to an end, out of the shadows walks Cooper Woods and before too long, Iris begins to gain perspective, learns dark family secrets, becomes closer to her unstable sister, and becomes a more well rounded person, and discovers a new found confidence in herself.

Watching Iris go through this transformation is often heartbreaking, and I felt her insecurities, and her indecision is so human and real. Iris finds it very hard to let go of that people pleasing habit she has, often teetering on the edge of settling for something less, in order to do what she thought was best for others. It is situation many people have gone through and her concerns were real and legitimate, and while I hoped she wouldn't waffle and back down, going backwards and not forward, I found I wouldn't be able to judge her too harshly. But, I so wanted Iris to feel complete on her own, without needing approval from her mother, or sister, or anyone for that matter.
Personal growth did come at a cost, and all that Iris goes through in this story was hard on her. The truth about Leah is a gripping story on it's own. Again, I was struck by the preconceived notions we have of people, the judgments we make without knowing all the facts. Leah seemed to have so much promise, but continually threw it all away, and never seemed to have any accountability. Iris will learn the reasons for some of this behavior and will gain a much better understanding of her sister and her mother in the process.

I never knew how to feel about Millie. I saw she was mother doing the best she could, but didn't realize the damage she was inflicting on Iris in the process. Millie is not the warmest person on earth, and some of her advice to Iris got under my skin, but often I felt bad for her. Iris never understood her mother's favoritism, but will learn her mother does love her, just not in the same way as Leah, who has special needs. But, remember too, that even those we think are strong, who don't need us a much, often do need us and one should never presume such a thing. But, this summer will mend fences in some ways and help to heal resentments and past hurts.

Cooper Woods... well, I think I had crush on Cooper. I really, really liked him, and I think he is so good for our Iris. He knows exactly what Iris is going through right now and knows all about the ups and downs she is about to face, the uncertainty, the doubts, the many tears to come, and he has an intimate knowledge of her family's struggles, so there too he is a big help. I think all Iris needs now is time and some patience from Cooper and all will be well between them.

Ultimately, this is a story of love, forgiveness, family, friends, and personal growth. I believe Iris will become a better person, friend, parent, sister, daughter, and maybe even a happy wife someday. But for now, it's Iris's time to shine on her own and shine she will.

5 stars ( )
  gpangel | Jun 8, 2015 |
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To my parents, Marlene and Barry Roberts, who first put a book in my hands. And who allowed me to fill my childhood with stray pets, finger paint, ponies, wildlife, and what not...all the messy ingredients that make up a good story. And a great life.
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Iris should've had her nervous breakdown that morning. But there just wasn't time.
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Iris Standish has always been the responsible older sibling: the one with the steady marriage, loving family, and sensible job. But all of a sudden, as her carefully-constructed life spins out of her control, a cryptic postcard from her estranged sister Leah arrives at the perfect time: Please Come. Iris seizes her chance to escape to her childhood lakeside home, where Leah is planning her summer wedding to a man their New Hampshire clan has never met. Against a backdrop of dress fittings, floral arrangements, and rehearsal dinners, Leah hides secrets of her own. And while her sister faces a past that has finally caught up to her, Iris prepares to say good-bye to a future that is suddenly far from certain. As new love beckons and Hampstead Lake shimmers in the background, Iris must decide when to wade in cautiously and when to dive and, ultimately, how to ferry herself to safe harbors in this enticing novel of second chances and the ties that bind. -- Amazon.… (more)

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