Title: The Lake Season by Hannah McKinnon
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
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 older sibling: the one with the steady marriage, loving family, and sensible job. But all of a sudden, as her carefully-constructed life spins out of her control, a cryptic postcard from her estranged sister Leah arrives at the perfect time: Please Come. Iris seizes her chance to escape to her childhood lakeside home, where Leah is planning her summer wedding to a man their New Hampshire clan has never met.
Against a backdrop of dress fittings, floral arrangements, and rehearsal dinners, Leah hides secrets of her own. And while her sister faces a past that has finally caught up to her, Iris prepares to say good-bye to a future that is suddenly far from certain. As new love beckons and 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 enticing novel of second chances and the ties that bind.
Hannah McKinnon’s The Lake Season is an absolutely delightful gem! An idyllic lakefront property is the perfect setting for Iris Standish to rediscover herself as she tries come to terms with her upcoming divorce. She also learns startling information about her younger sister Leah who is also home preparing for her upcoming wedding. But it is her unexpected romance with Cooper Woods that truly helps her heal but the future of their relationship is uncertain once Iris returns to her regular life.
Although their sixteen year marriage has been troubled for quite some time, Iris is still stunned when her husband Paul tells her he wants a divorce. Barely able to cope with day to day life, a cryptic postcard from Leah provides Iris with an excuse to escape to her childhood home. The family farm has undergone a few changes in her absence but the one thing that appears to be exactly the same is her sister. Leah still seems to be a little reckless and attention seeking, but Iris becomes concerned by some of Leah’s inexplicable behavior. Although Iris tries to get Leah to open up, Leah refuses to confide in her and their relationship becomes strained when the sisters fall back into childhood patterns.
Iris immediately feels like an outsider at her childhood home and she is further dismayed once she realizes how far out of the family loop she is. Leah’s return does not help with the disconnect Iris is experiencing and when Leah steps back into her role of the favored daughter, Iris is not only hurt, but angered that no one expects Leah to take responsibility for her actions. Iris takes refuge in assisting Cooper with the barn renovations and she is pleasantly surprised by their easygoing friendship. In the beginning, working with Cooper provides her a mindless distraction from her worries, but as she becomes skilled at new tasks, Iris begins to thrive as she recovers her lost self-esteem. Her camaraderie with Cooper soon gives way to a mutual attraction and as they tentatively embark on a romance, sibling rivalry, jealousy and startling revelations threaten their fragile bond.
The Lake Season paints a realistic portrait of life’s messy relationships. Siblings’ relationships are often complicated by rivalry that sometimes lasts into adulthood while parental relationships often suffer from lasting resentment over perceived parental favoritism of one sibling over another. Marriages sometimes never recover from the stress establishing careers, infertility and raising children. Although staying together seems like the best choice for the children, should parents be expected to give up their happiness to give their kids a two parent household? Hannah McKinnon brilliantly weaves all of these thought-provoking topics into an emotional and compelling story that is heartwarming and ultimately healing. An utterly fantastic novel with a beautiful setting and an incredible cast of characters that I absolutely loved and highly recommend.