Title: The Lake Season
Author: Hannah Roberts McKinnon
Published Date: June 2nd 2015
Genre: Women’s Literature
***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
Set in the weeks leading up to an idyllic New England wedding, this “enticing and refreshing” (Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author) novel sparkles with wry wit, sweet romance, and long-kept family secrets.
Iris Standish has always been the responsible sister: the one who studied hard, settled down, and always made the right choices—even when they came at the expense of her passions. Meanwhile, her sister Leah dropped out of college to “find herself” by hiking through Yellowstone and switches jobs nearly as often as she switches lovers, leaving Iris to pick up the pieces in her wake.
But now Iris’s life is coming apart at the seams, and when Leah calls her back to their childhood home with a desperate cry for help, she is thrust headfirst into preparations for her sister’s wedding to a man their New Hampshire clan has never met…with her own marriage and family on the brink.
Still, despite the rush of dress fittings, floral arrangements, and rehearsal dinners, Iris is learning to put herself first. And amid a backdrop of late-night swims and a soul-restoring barn renovation comes Cooper Woods, a high school crush who beckons with the promise of a new start.
While Leah faces a past that has finally caught up to her, Iris prepares to say goodbye to a future that is suddenly far from certain. As 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 “glittering…memorable” novel of second chances and the ties that bind (Michelle Gable, nationally bestselling author of A Paris Apartment).
After her husband, Paul, announces that he wants a divorce, Iris uses the guise of returning to the family farm to help her sister, Leah, finalize her wedding as a way to escape the proverbially walls from crashing down on her. She needs to escape from her demeaning, dismissive husband’s glares and the demands of her three children so that she can have a little breakdown or get her act together. While the news that Paul wants to leave is harsh, she comes to grips with the fact that their relationship has been over for quite some time.
The bucolic setting of the lakeside town in New Hampshire and the family farm are just what Iris needs to find herself and get her mojo back. She gets fit and trim by swimming in the lake. Iris blows off steam and develops a friendship with Cooper Woods—the one time homecoming king and high school stud—while helping him rebuild the barn. Iris’ and Cooper’s friendship is delightfully caring.
I know it is more popular to root for the married couple to make things work, but I couldn’t in this case. It sickened me when Paul’s unannounced visit to the farm to beg Iris to ignore the divorce papers he sent her makes Iris consider going back to him for the sake of the children. Paul can’t make it a week without disparaging her decisions and choices. She stops thinking about her own happiness and starts worrying about everyone else again.
Leah is the opposite of her sister Iris. She is carefree, wild, thoughtless, self-serving. She’s that girl who needs everyone’s attention. She’s that girl who is jealous when anyone else receives attention. She is that girl who makes mistake after mistake and is perpetually forgiven for all those bad decisions. The sisters’ relationship is realistic. The rivalry and baggage they carry from their childhood makes for much tension especially as it becomes obvious to Iris that Leah is hiding something. The dynamics between the siblings and with their parents are complicated.
Hannah McKinnon has painted a perfectly messy reality at Hampstead Lake, New Hampshire. The farm is beautiful but a lot of work. The characters aren’t perfect people, but the care for one another enough to forgive the imperfections. The romance is charming, but the relationships are not easy. Life doesn’t get neatly wrapped up in a pretty bow after 400 pages, but it goes on.
The Lake Season is perfectly paced, and it would be a great summer vacation read. The plot tension is intense throughout. The story and characters are so engaging that I was riveted to the story. I was rooting for Iris with each new bend in the road she had to travel, and I was delighted when Iris eventually finds the road that leads her home.
***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fan Site: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.NG***
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