Book Review: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

lostlakecoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: The first time Eby Pim saw Lost Lake, it was on a picture postcard. Just an old photo and a few words on a small square of heavy stock, but when she saw it, she knew she was seeing her future.

That was half a life ago. Now Lost Lake is about to slip into Eby’s past. Her husband George is long passed. Most of her demanding extended family are gone. All that’s left is a once-charming collection of lakeside cabins succumbing to the Southern Georgia heat and damp, and an assortment of faithful misfits drawn back to Lost Lake year after year by their own unspoken dreams and desires.

It’s a lot, but not enough to keep Eby from relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand, and calling this her final summer at the lake. Until one last chance at family knocks on her door.

Lost Lake is where Kate Pheris spent her last best summer at the age of twelve, before she learned of loneliness, and heartbreak, and loss. Now she’s all too familiar with those things, but she knows about hope too, thanks to her resilient daughter Devin, and her own willingness to start moving forward. Perhaps at Lost Lake her little girl can cling to her own childhood for just a little longer… and maybe Kate herself can rediscover something that slipped through her fingers so long ago.

One after another, people find their way to Lost Lake, looking for something that they weren’t sure they needed in the first place: love, closure, a second chance, peace, a mystery solved, a heart mended. Can they find what they need before it’s too late?

At once atmospheric and enchanting, Lost Lake shows Sarah Addison Allen at her finest, illuminating the secret longings and the everyday magic that wait to be discovered in the unlikeliest of places.


Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism
Setting: Fictional Lost Lake, Georgia – set in modern time
My copy came from: I got this book on PaperBackSwap.com– It’s a great website where you can post books that you are willing to mail out. In exchange for mailing a book, you get a book credit, and can order a used book with your credit. I’ve been a member of this site since 2009 and have found a lot of hard to get books through this site, and also have gotten numerous recommendations for new-to-me authors!


Review: An enchanting setting, but I found Lost Lake to be fairly odd and I couldn’t connect to it.

Sarah Addison Allen, the author of Lost Lake, is almost an auto-buy author for me. She’s definitely an auto-read author! I love her take on magical realism, and her characters are generally compelling and complex. My favorite of her books is The Peach Keeper, and I had high hopes going into Lost Lake. Sadly, I didn’t love Lost Lake, and I couldn’t really connect to it, either.

Lost Lake focuses on Kate, who is recovering from the death of her husband and is trying to raise her eight-year-old daughter, Devin. Kate is being forced to move in with her mother-in-law, and decides at the last minute to head out to Lost Lake, an old campground (think rustic cabins, not tents) that is run by her great-aunt, Eby. The book’s prologue takes us to Paris in 1962, with Eby and her husband George on their honeymoon. They end up saving a mute girl, Lisette, who tries to commit suicide. Lisette ends up following George and Eby back to the US, and becomes a companion to the couple, especially Eby, as George passes away. Eby runs Lost Lake, with Lisette taking care of the cooking for the guests.

Don’t you wish you could take a single childhood memory and blow it up into a bubble and live inside it forever?

The characters of Lost Lake were interesting to a point, but I couldn’t connect to either Kate or to Eby. They were fine; I can’t really put my finger on why I wasn’t enthralled by these characters, but they failed to inspire any feeling in me. I liked Kate’s daughter, Devin, as she is always wearing some crazy outfit and runs around the lake looking for a magical alligator. The magical alligator is about the only bit of magic in this book, and Lost Lake had less magic in it than the author’s other works, which is one of the reasons this failed to capture my attention.

Other characters are Wes, a restaurant owner and handyman, who has childhood history with Kate; Jack, a podiatrist who is in love with Lisette; and Selma and Bulahdeen, two friends who make a trip to Lost Lake every summer. Selma and Bulahdeen were total characters, and they were a lot of fun and brought heart and sadness to the book. I probably enjoyed their stories the most, and wish more focus had been on these two ladies.

Magic is what we invent when we want something we think we can’t have.

There is a bit of romance in this book, and it was realistic and un-irritating, but I didn’t have any particular thoughts or yearnings for any of the couples. I do think however that my “meh” attitude towards this book is not the norm. The book has a high rating on Amazon, and I can see why some people could really love this book – the setting is picturesque, the characters are well rounded, and the story has a lot of potential. I just didn’t connect to it, and there was a plot involving one character, Wes, that came out of nowhere towards the end that I thought was odd and wasn’t foreshadowed at all.

So, while fans of Sarah Addison Allen’s work may really love this book, I was underwhelmed and couldn’t connect to it.

Bottom Line: Beautiful setting in an OK book. Not bad, but also not great. I couldn’t connect!


Links to Lost Lake on   Amazon Goodreads (isn’t that cover gorgeous??)

Here’s a Pinterest board I created inspired by Lost Lake! Love the swampy-lake-vibe of Southern Georgia which is the setting of the book.

Links to Waking Kate a short story prequel to Lost Lake involving the character Kate. And it’s free on Kindle!    Amazon   |   Goodreads

Links to The Peach Keeper on   Amazon |   Goodreads


Have you read any of Sarah Addison Allen’s books? Which one is your favorite? Have you read Lost Lake?


7 thoughts on “Book Review: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

  1. It sounds like you like the girl because there were memorable characteristics about her. Perhaps the other characters didn’t get the same treatment from the author? The beginning about the postcard and knowing that place would be her future reminded me so much of the novel and movie Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah – I really think you nailed it! The girl had memorable characteristics & quirky attributes. She felt more “real”.
      Wow – great Rebecca parallel! That was a book that was so atmospheric and lovely. Can’t wait to re-read it someday. And I still need to watch the movie – I have seen the movie, but it was a long time ago, before I read the book. I know the ending is different.

      Liked by 1 person

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