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Your Oasis On Flame Lake

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  2,038 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
Best friends fast approaching forty in the small Minnesota town of Flame Lake, Devera and BiDi, were recently voted 'Least Changed' at their twentieth high school reunion - a label neither one finds very appealing. For each craves a change in her life: Devera wants a break from her humdrum marital routine; BiDi longs to reconnect with her distant fourteen-year-old daughter ...more
Published March 1st 2007 by Bantam (first published June 17th 1997)
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A quote from Landvik’s debut novel - Patty Jane’s House of Curl - stays with me: What a big chunk of God is to be found by looking into the face of someone you love. In her second novel (published in 1997), Landvik continues to explore this idea. I’ve been a fan of hers for a while – I loved her debut work and have read several of her books, but somehow I missed this one until now.

The novel follows two families - BiDi (pronounced B-D) and Devera have been friends since childhood; their
Ronald Wilcox
Apr 02, 2017 Ronald Wilcox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Landvik's early works continue to bring me enjoyment. This time two families in a small town in Minnesota have integrated lives. BiDi and Devera are the mothers and Dick and Sergio are the fathers. Franny, one of the children, is the first young woman on the local hockey team; after scoring a winning goal, she is later beaten up by two of the members of the losing team. This trauma has far-reaching consequences when she hides the information of who the assailants were. Each chapter is told by a ...more
Feb 07, 2009 Simone rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Lorna Landvik, but this just didn't pull me in like Angry Housewives and House of Curl did. But she never fails to disappoint her MN fans by weaving in an authentic relationship to the state--my favorite part here is when she acknowledges her "fellow ECFE mothers for all the fun we had at the big round tables," a sentiment I share in my own ECFE experiences. Landvik makes all her characters believable, right down to the voices (including Sergio's broken English). Little nuances like BiDi' ...more
Monica Wiant
Aug 17, 2016 Monica Wiant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny, emotionally sincere book about quirky Minnesotans, mid-life crises, family relationships, teenagers, and parents who are still a little bit like teenagers themselves. The threads of the different narrators wove together into a story that was cohesive and satisfying, but didn't necessarily tie up into a tidy package at the end. With the lighthearted tone at the beginning of the book, I was surprised by the weight of some of the events that came to pass. That's not necessarily a bad thing ...more
Kristi Johnson
Fun, quick read.

The small town of Flame Lake, Minnesota, is the setting for this character driven story centered around 2 families: Dick, Devera, Lin and Darcy Lindstrom and Sergio and Bidi Hererra and her daughter, Frannie, from Bidi's first marriage. The story is told in alternating chapters by the 4 adults and 12-year-old Darcy. Devera and Bidi have been best friends for years and now that they are about to enter their 40's they are not sure that are entirely happy with their lives. Dev, especially, is restl
Feb 08, 2014 Marleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: lorna-landvik
The reason why I liked this book so much was the way we get to know this close-knit group of friends living ordinary lives in a small town in Minnesota. The alternating narration works fantastically here. The 5 voices we hear are BiDi and Devera (friends from childhood), their husbands, Sergio and Dick, and one of Devera and Dick’s daughters, twelve-year old Darcy. They absolutely brought a freshness and authenticity to this simple story that appealed to me. The content of the book would not hav ...more
Jun 12, 2014 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Devera and BiDi are the central characters in this novel. Small-town Minnesota doesn't give you a chance to hide much; so when Devera's husband decides to open a nightclub in their basement, Your Oasis On Flame Lake, it seems that their home will be the gathering place for folks to drink (it's a BYOB) and sing, dance and be yourself. But sometimes being yourself is exactly what you DO NOT want to be, as Devera is painfully finding out. BiDi's daughter is the only girl on the high-school hockey t ...more
Mar 22, 2009 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Another wonderful Landvik novel!!

From back cover:

"Best friends fast approaching forty in the small Minnesota town of Flame Lake, Devera and BiDi were recently voted 'Least Changed' at their twentieth high school reunion-a label neither one finds very appealing. For each craves a change in her life: Devera desires a break from her humdrum marital routine; BiDi longs to reconnect with her distant fourteen-year-old daughter (the only girl on the high school hockey team), not to mention jump-start a
Jun 12, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great little read. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each of the characters. Landvik somehow makes you love each of them despite their quirky and seriously flawed way of dealing with traumatic events that occur throughout the story. It was interesting to read the story through each of their different perspectives. I never felt like I wanted to hear the story more or less from one character or the other. I felt the characters pulling on my dark side relating to them as they said and ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This read like a made-for-TV movie or a hallmark after school special or something. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing but I'm just acknowledging that. A lot of drama happens and it's all supposed to be very deep and heartwarming and at times it is. I did enjoy the basic story and found myself needing to know what would unfold next but I didn't necessarily feel connected emotionally to the characters. I was a little detached from it all. I especially didn't like BiDi. She was self-cen ...more
Oct 08, 2015 Shir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 07, 2013 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Goodreads did 1/2 stars, this would be a 3 1/2, which is solid. Lorna Landvik has an amazing talent for making you think these are events and people as they actually happen somewhere in the world. Perhaps this lake country is enough removed that it seems that way for me, but the community of Flame Lake is very vivid. The biggest problem is that some of the characters are more caricatures than multi-faceted personalities. BiDi is rarely empathetic, as the shallow, image-obsessed housewife. Dar ...more
This novel is a bigger downer than Landvik’s first novel, Patty Jane’s House of Curl.

That being said, Your Oasis on Flame Lake focuses on two friends, BiDi and Devera, and their families. The women have been friends since childhood, and their closeness has spread to their respective families: their husbands are confidantes, and their daughters are pals.

But all is not well on Flame Lake: both marriages are strained. A series of events test the women and their families. Luckily, there is a happy
Oct 11, 2010 Angie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've really quite loved all the other Landvik books I've read, but this one was just kind of okay for me. I teetered between 2 and 3 stars, but ultimately tipped toward "just ok". It's very much just a slice-of-life kind of story focused on two families that are friends but with a bit more drama than two families would typically face in the time frame covered in the book. I think the telling from multiple perspectives made it feel a little chaotic (although this is typically a writing style I en ...more
Feb 01, 2012 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading some pretty dark and serious books lately, I needed a quick, light read and Lorna Landvik is perfect for that. Enjoyed her "Patty Jane's House of Curl" a few years ago and this book is similar. Told from the viewpoints of five people...two married couples and the daughter of one of the couples...the title refers to a little club Dick built in his basement for the enjoyment of his friends. Some teen angst, a couple of affairs, a beating, a serious accident, doesn't make it sound lik ...more
Apr 05, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up at the library because it is written by Lorna Landvik, author of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. Since I liked that book so much, I was excited to read something else by her. The book is told from the perspectives of five different people: Devra, Devra's husband, Dick, their daughter Darcy, Devra's best friend BiDi and BiDi's husband, Sergio.

I liked that this story was realistic in that sometimes people have affairs even though they still love their spouses, and sometime
Rebecca Lopez
May 08, 2014 Rebecca Lopez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed this book, it took me awhile to really get to the heart of it, but once I did I really enjoyed the quirky characters. The change in perspective from one chapter to the next was interesting and just right, it never left me feeling like I'd rather hear from someone else. Toward the end I wondered how the story would've been told from Linn or Franny's perspective, but overall it was satisfying. I love it when I think about the characters and look forward to getting back to 'my' book ...more
Oct 07, 2014 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this as much as The View from Mt. Joy, but I still liked it. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from the heavy scary murder books I usually read. Although there was some unexpected violence in this one. I liked the shifting perspectives. The author managed to give each character his or her own distinctive voice, and that's not easy. The copy editing in this book is not great, and there was one especially egregious error that was repeated. I don't understand how an author from Minn ...more
Dale Safford
Sep 21, 2012 Dale Safford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Narrated by each of the main characters, this is the story of 2 high school best friends 20 years later. Devera is married with 2 girls, and BiDi is a single mom. Dev's husband establishes a karaoke/restaurant place. When BiDi's teen daughter is beaten up by two young men after scoring a winning hockey goal and is teased as a "dyke", BiDi's new husband Sergio and all the others notice how traumatized she is. Will there be a way to solve her problem?

The book was humorous, and I loved the northern
Mar 26, 2009 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay so this is not even close to the best writing I've ever come across, but somehow I really really enjoyed this book. Maybe it's my current homesickness talking, but this is one of the better books I have read about life in Minnesota. Sure, a lot of the stereotypes are in there, but I greedily and hungrily got into the characters and the plot anyway. Definitely a good cabin book (for all you Minnesotans!).
Laura K
Dec 10, 2013 Laura K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy books that are written from the perspective of different characters. The best summary of this book come from the author's words (in the Reader's Guide).. "It's a... thoughtful story... I do want to write stories in which the characters seem real, characters in whose lives the reader can become engaged. I want my stories to have a good touch of humor, and if readers reach for a Kleenex every once in a while to wipe away tears, then I think I've done my job."
Dec 05, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the alternating viewpoints in this book, including the perspective of the two husbands. The Italian husband's "voice" really came through in the writing, which I thought was impressive. Funny, mildly thought-provoking, and enjoyable characters. Didn't really buy the friendship between the two mothers, but still liked it.
While this is not my favorite Lorna Lanvik book, it was a good story told with humor about a group of flawed characters. I enjoy the author's writing style and her imperfect characters. This is not serious literature, but an enjoyable light read for a time when the last thing you want to do is read something serious.
Oct 14, 2007 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I didn't love this as much as the two other Landvik books I've read, I'm still affectionate about it. Lorna Landvik's stories are my comfort food. I don't regret leaving Minnesota, but whenever I'm overwhelmed with irritation for New York City, her books are like a little hug from home.
Jan 20, 2017 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the connection of the story taking place in MN. Two woman Devera & Bidi have known each other forever have been through everything together. The story follows these two women's families through some pretty realistic family issues. The characters are all believable and I liked the different perspective told through them alternating throughout the book.
Jul 04, 2010 Esteli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
another book from a young age that i read a million times. has everything a good family drama needs- cold northern winters, cheating wife, speed addict neighbors and teenagers being left to die in a ditch. All in a cute little town where everyone's of scandinavian descent. kind of along the lines of a barbara kingsolver novel.
Susan Fetterer
Aug 12, 2011 Susan Fetterer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lorna Landvik writes about places and people she's familiar with and creates stories that are believable and unique. Readers assuming light and frothy content based on her titles (as in Patty Jane's House of Curl)will readjust their thinking once they dive in. Her characters are complex, their lives and relationships are somewhat universal and interesting. Enjoy!
Apr 19, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never encountered a Lorna Landvik book that I did not like. Since the book is sent in Minnesota, it is enjoyable to read the names of familiar towns and know the setting. The story is told from five points of view, which I don't mind. It moves along nicely with plenty of conflict, humor, and interesting characters.
Theresa Malloy
Mar 16, 2016 Theresa Malloy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: minnesota-reads
I liked this book. Lorna Landvik is great at creating quirky, flawed characters who just have life happen to them, and they keep bumbling through. This story is told from multiple viewpoints as it follows the life of two high school friends, their husbands and daughters who are living in small town Minnesota.
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Lorna Landvik is a mother of two and wife of one. She is the author of eight novels, including the best-selling ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS, PATTY JANE'S HOUSE OF CURL and OH MY STARS. Also an
actor and playwright, Lorna has appeared in many stage productions. She is a new and passionate neophyte to the practice of yoga, which is a fine antidote to her long established practice of lounging.
More about Lorna Landvik...

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