The Perfect Summer Read (And You Could Win a Copy…)
I met Marci at a book club convention last January (I’m sure you’ve heard me talk—oh once or twice—about The Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend’s Weekend) and we discovered we both lived in the Sacramento area of Northern California. Between Marci’s bi-coastal lifestyle (and my ADD one) we were finally able to get together for lunch just a few weeks ago and we had a wonderful chat. She told me about her website, 101 Dreams Come True, and how publishing her debut novel was one of her lifelong dreams. (Others included learning to figure skate—which she now does competitively—salsa dance, and fly a small plane—too bad she’s just so boring, huh?) I learned more about her delightful book and how her grandparents provided some of the inspiration for the setting, characters and food. And we found we had a lot in common, including our love for travel and wine-tasting—and we learned that neither of us inherited the cooking gene from our wonderful family chefs… Her book had been lounging in my TBR pile for a while, but after meeting such a charming author, I had to pull it from the pile and dive in. I’m so glad I did! And I’m happy to recommend it to you as the Perfect Summer Read—whether you’re at the lake, the beach or staycationing in your own back yard!
Synopsis: Achingly tender, yet filled with laughter, The Lake House brings to life the wide range of human emotions and the difficult journey from heartbreak to healing.
VICTORIA ROSE. Fifty years before, a group of teenage friends promised each other never to leave their idyllic lakeside town. But the call of Hollywood and a bigger life was too strong for Victoria . . . and she alone broke that pledge. Now she has come home, intent on making peace with her demons, even if her former friends shut her out. Haunted by tragedy, she longs to find solace with her childhood sweetheart, but even this tender man may be unable to forgive and forget.
HEATHER BREGMAN. At twenty-eight, after years as a globe-trotting columnist, she’s abandoned her controlling fiancé and their glamorous city life to build one on her own terms. Lulled by a Victorian house and a gorgeous locale, she’s determined to make the little community her home. But the residents, fearful of change and outsiders, will stop at nothing to sabotage her dreams of lakeside tranquility.
As Victoria and Heather become unlikely friends, their mutual struggle to find acceptance—with their neighbors and in their own hearts—explores the chance events that shape a community and offer the opportunity to start again. (Provided by Publisher.)
Setting: First, I was struck by how skilled the author is at creating a sense of place. Nagog reminds me of my own little town where my husband and his brothers were all born and raised… You probably know a place like this too—where everybody knows everyone else’s name (and business)—it’s a neighborly, pull-up-a-chair-and-chat kind of community. Nault’s descriptions of this close-knit neighborhood make you feel like you’re actually there—with the breeze off the lake blowing through your hair. (Picture below shows a view of Marci’s actual childhood lake house and her fun book cover version.)
Characters: Although the setting is idyllic, this is a character-driven book. I was hooked by Victoria and Heather’s stories immediately. They are both strong, intelligent, wonderfully developed women who have experienced both some great successes and some great losses—both looking at Nagog as a place of healing and coming to terms with those losses. Just as happens in life, the author effectively uses a series of flashbacks to reveal both characters’ backgrounds to the reader. Their friendship could be the key in helping both of them move on. And although it seems these two friends were destined to meet, the friendship is an unusual one due to the age difference—Victoria could be Heather’s grandmother. And yet, they find this is exactly what each needs. In addition to the two protagonists, other characters are also fully drawn such as Joseph, Victoria’s first love; Molly, her life-long friend—who’s constantly baking for everyone; Heather’s curmudgeonly next door neighbor—who conveniently just happens to have a hunky architect for a grandson. I kept thinking about these characters long after I closed the book. (And speaking of characters, below are pictures of Marci’s mom and aunts enjoying the beach at their childhood lake house.)
Book Club Themes: Even though I’ve framed this book as your perfect beach book, Victoria and Heather’s story tackles some themes your book club may want to discuss, such as loss and healing, forgiveness and second chances, love and friendship, courage and taking chances, home and family, and isolation and belonging.
There’s a reading group guide in back of the book as well as on-line for your convenience. Also, Marci visits book clubs all the time—even if it’s just by Skype—so be sure to drop her a line. But I suspect she likes the in-person visits best since she can sample that group’s version of the perfect brownie …
Book Giveaway: For your chance to win a copy of The Lake House, please leave a comment below by July 8 and be entered into a random drawing (thanks to the nice folks at Random Picker.com.) Gallery Books (an imprint of Simon and Schuster) will generously send a copy to the winner!
Author’s Website: www.marcinault.com
Book Trailer: www.Youtube
Author Interviews: A Novel Review; Kelly & Hall
Other Reviews: Book Foodies; Comfort Books
Book Source: I purchased my copy of The Lake House as part of my ongoing compulsive book habit; the give-away copy is being provided by Gallery Books with no strings attached.