For Louise and Jo Hempstead — sisters who married brothers and each had three daughters — summers at Lake Waseka were the happiest of times, filled with days of boating, swimming races, and the sound of children laughing. For years, the lake was the place where the women and their daughters loved each other the most. But when an unthinkable tragedy strikes in the form of an accidental drowning, the family closes up the lake house for good, never to return.
Now, more than 25 years later, Louise’s daughter Meg is sick with cancer and enlists her sister, Charlene, to reopen the lake house and gather the family for one last summer at the lake. But years of pain and unspoken grief have pulled the Hempstead women in different directions, away from each other: Meg might be dying; Charlene is unexpectedly jobless; Hope is reckoning with
the break-down of her marriage; Krista has just returned from a long prison sentence; Beverly is still traumatized by the drowning; and Louise and Jo haven’t been close in years.
But blood is thicker than water, and Charlene hopes that time and family might be able to heal even the deepest wounds. In this beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and female relationships, return to the lake with the Hempstead girls for a season of healing, second chances, and finally making peace with the past.
A heartfelt look at a family, the drama, the tragedies, the joys, the bond, the troubles of it. Each character is drawn with a sharp pencil, with the place to grow and deal with their issues. The characters might seem like the stereotypes of each of the issues they have, yet most of them manage to break the mold they are set in and surprise the reader, and the rest of the family.
Slowly but surely the story pulled me in and I was mesmerized by the memories from the lake and the troublesome life the two sisters families had lived. There's not so much that happens in the story, it is mostly built of memories of the past and in the current the character development that we witness by a lot of healing, growing, forgiving, moving on and learning to live again.
With the large cast of characters, that most of them also get to tell part of the tale from their point of view, it can get a crowded and confusing to keep up who was who and where in life they were again. The time changes from the past to present and back again, as well as the POV changes, were not marked or separated in the eARC I received.
Some of the family members were easier to relate to than others, to some I felt I didn't get a connection at all. I found Krista, the ex-convict, to be the most likable and relatable character in the story. She was a reasonable, smart, humble, kind, and considerate person.
The family made me laugh with their exaggerated dysfunctions, making my family look rather 'normal' and functioning. Yet they touched my heart, their need to fix things, find solutions to their issues, and find the family connection again was genuine and sincere. The support they were willing to give to each other was admirable, and the fragile connections between the family members were found to be on a solid foundation.
A heartening story about family dysfunctions, about forgiveness, about new chances, and the possibilities to start again, about acceptance, and how the support of the loved ones can change everything, even make the troublesome past lighter and easier to leave behind. A story about hope and love, about home and family bonds.
~ Four Spoons
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me