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On Mystic Lake [and] Summer Island by…
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On Mystic Lake [and] Summer Island

by Kristin Hannah

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Annie Colwater's life looks picture perfect. She's married to an attractive, very successful lawyer, she has a beautiful daughter who's on her way to college, and she lives in southern California in a prestigious, gated community in a huge house she designed. But Annie's world comes tumbling down the same day her only child, her seventeen-year old daughter, goes off to England. Blake, Annie's husband of twenty years, tells her he's in love with someone else and that he's leaving her. Leaving her. How can he do that? She's his wife, the mother of his child. These roles defined her. It was all she ever wanted to be for as long as she could remember.

Annie, adrift in an ocean of misery, heads back to her roots and her hometown, a small but beautiful place in Washington State called Mystic. It is here that she looks for comfort from her dad and recalls heart-wrenching memories of her deceased mother. But it is also in this nature-lover's paradise that Annie is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, and his young daughter Izzy. Nick has recently become a widower and Izzy is "disappearing" since her mother died. Together, Annie, Nick and Izzy fight for survival and healing. Together they are strong. Yet it is just as Annie begins to feel she can let go of the past, just as she is beginning to understand who she is, just as she begins to believe in herself....she is forced to choose.

It is something so many of us do...mothers, wives, sisters. We become the nurturers, the caregivers, the organizers and lovers. But then, one day, twenty years later, when Johnnie is all grown up and traveling across Europe and Mary is off to university in Texas, we ask ourselves: What now? Who am I? What will I do now? The world is full of Annie Colwaters.

Kristin Hannah has once again put me through an emotional experience I won't forget. Through these so- very- real characters, she has reminded me to ask those questions of myself: "Who am I and what do I really want in life?" As a woman, I should not feel guilty because I want to do something for myself, be it a fulfillment of a lifelong dream or simply to travel where I want to go. Women can be who they want to be and still be a loving, nurturing parent and a passionate, caring wife. A woman's life need not revolve around those she loves; her life should involve the ones she loves. As Kristen Hannah states "I cannot lose sight of my own reflection". Thankfully, I have found the outlet for my innermost self...it is here in my words upon the page. ( )
  avernon1 | Sep 15, 2010 |
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Epigraph
On Mystic Lake - The true voyage of self-discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes - Marcel Proust. Summer Island - There is only the fight to recover what has been lost and found and lost again and again; and now under conditions that seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss. For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business. - T.S. Eliot from "East Coker".
Dedication
On Mystic Lake - To Barbara Kurek. My mother couldn't have chosen a better godmother to me... To the men in my life, Benjamin and Tucker... And in memory of my mother, Sharon Goodno John. I hope they have bookstores in heaven, Mom. Summer Island - In memory of my mother, Sharon Goodno John.
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On Mystic Lake - Rain fell like tiny silver teardrops from the tired sky. Summer Island - An early evening rain has fallen.
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On Mystic Lake - Annie Colwater's daughter has just left for college and her husband has confessed that he's in love with a younger woman. Devastated and alone, Annie seeks refuge in the small Pacific Northwest town where she grew up, hoping that she can reclaim the woman she once was - the woman she is desperate to become again. There, on the beautiful shores of Mystic Lake, she is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, a recent widower who is unable to cope with his silent, emotionally scarred young daughter. Together the three start the healing process. But just when Annie believes she's been given a second chance at happiness, she is forced to make a choice that no woman in love should ever have to make.
Summer Island - Years ago, Nora Bridge walked out on her marriage and her children. She hasn't spoken to her daughter Ruby in more than a decade. When a scandal from Nora's past is revealed, Ruby - now a struggling comedian - is offered a fortune to write an expose on her mother's life. So, under false pretenses, Ruby returns to the family house on Summer Island, a home filled with frayed memories of joy and heartache. Confronting a past that includes a never forgotten love, a sick best friend, and a mother who has harbored terrible secrets. Ruby begins to finally understand the complex ties that bind a mother and daughter - and finds the strength that comes with forgiveness.
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