The Lake of Dreams
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". . .delivers a fast-paced reading fix."
Kim Edwards’ “The Lake of Dreams” supplies copious intrigue and characters along with numerous controversies to hold a reader in suspense throughout this fanciful mystery novel.
Lucy Jarrett, a worldly but unemployed hydrologist living in Japan with her boyfriend Yoshi, learns her widowed mother has been injured in a fall. Yoshi encourages her to return to her Lake of Dreams ancestral home, because lately she seemed “like a very sad and lonely person.”
Immediately upon arrival at the lakeshore house, Lucy discovers a treasure trove of historical materials about the suffragette movement beneath a window seat that leads her on a search for a relative estranged from the family in the early 1900s. This is somewhat a farfetched journey, since she is amazingly able to discover within only a three-week visit many birth certificates and stacks of letters that reveal her great-grandfather had a sister named Rose.
The story primarily centers on the suffragette movement and its link to stained glass windows in an abandoned chapel inside a military depot occupied during World War II. Residents near the Lake of Dreams, including an entire Iroquois village, were relocated for the depot, but now those lands were being returned to the evicted.
Lucy is disturbed to learn her brother and uncle had developed grandiose plans for a housing development while waiting for the family claim to be recognized. Meanwhile, local environmentalists have staged protests to preserve the wetlands and endangered white deer, which though a laudable goal clashes with the Iroquois claims. Woven alongside the disputes is Lucy’s search for Rose that reveals past family rivalry and also helps her deal with guilt over the drowning death of her father.
It’s the feminist-themed stained glass chapel windows, it turns out, that help unravel the truth but not without unexpected consequences. There’s a near overload of themes, but this entertaining novel nevertheless still delivers a fast-paced reading fix.
Reviewer: Kate Padilla