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The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

This is the second novel by Kim Edwards, whose debut novel was The Memory Keeper's Daughter.  I have not read The Memory Keeper's Daughter.  Something about the plot just didn't appeal to me.  However, I just recently finished her follow up, The Lake of Dreams, which was wonderful, and so I may have to revisit Keeper's Daughter.  Tension and suspense are palpable in The Lake of Dreams not just in the plot but also between characters.  I must say that the narrator, Lucy, makes some questionable decisions when it comes to her actions, and this is where some of the suspense and tension comes from for me: will she be caught out in her actions?

Edwards weaves a tri-part interconnected story made up of some fascinating strands.  I highly enjoyed the family history/genealogical hunt aspect of the novel as genealogy has long been a hobby/obsession of mine.  In addition I also liked the women's suffrage movement details that figured into the story as women's rights is another issue that is dear to me.

Lucy is a woman adrift in the world in more ways than one.  Ever since her father's sudden death a decade ago she's lived out of state or overseas, returned home annually for brief visits, and disconnected from the daily lives of her family and hometown both of which are in for some profound changes.  But for all she's accomplished in her life, she feels as if all she's ever done is circle back to the single most life altering tragedy of her life tethered by grief and an unwillingness to let go of her father's memory and truly move on with her life.

Lucy returns home to The Lake of Dreams, a small village in the lakes region of New York state.  She finds myriad, rapid moving changes to the town, to the land, and to her family.  She quickly realizes that even more life altering changes are on the horizon for both town and family in which long unresolved tensions and revelations in both her family and the town threaten to obliterate everything Lucy ever thought she knew about her family and its history.

When she discovers a long hidden cache of flyers and articles related to the women's suffrage movement dating back to 1913, Lucy stumbles upon a long buried family secret and a long lost female ancestor that's been erased from the family lore.  As Lucy's hunt for answers about this family story progresses, she realizes that the answers she finds may not be the ones she wants to know and will most certainly alter the dynamics and the lore that is her family's dearly held foundation and heritage.

In this engrossing, intriguing story, a family's history, a region's connections to women's suffrage, and an early twentieth century stained glass artisan are all inexplicably intertwined.  It is clear that the events and dynamics of the distant past shaped Lucy's family yesterday and continue to shape it today.  This is a great read, and I highly recommend you check it out the next time you're in the library--you won't regret it.

--Reviewed by Ms.Angie

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