Gina's Reviews > On Mystic Lake

On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah
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's review
Oct 09, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: library, pacific-northwest, family, romance, women-s-fiction, contemporary-fiction
Read from October 07 to 09, 2011

Book Description- Annie Colwater's only child has just left home for school abroad. On that same day, her husband of 20 years confesses that he is in love with a younger woman. Alone in the house that is not longer a home, Annie comes to the painful realization that for years she has been slowly disappearing. Lonely and afraid, she retreats to Mystic, the small Washington town where she grew up, hoping that there she can reclaim the woman she once was- the woman she is now desperate to become again. In Mystic, she is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, a recent widower unable to cope with his grieving, too-silent six year old daughter, Izzie. Together, the three of them begin to heal, and , at last, Annie learns that she can love without losing herself. But just whwen she has found a second chance at happiness, her life is turned upside down again, and Annies must make a choice no woman should have to make.

As in most of Hannah's stories, this novel is set in the Pacific Northwest town of Mystic. I get really tired of reading the descriptions of the rain forest. I get's misty and foggy, the air smells like pine and earth, the moss drapes from each fir branch to another, and on and on it goes. I can understand a few descriptions but I think the story could be told much more efficiently if she left out so much of the descriptions of the rainforest. After awhile it becomes distracting and I just skim those paragraphs until she gets back on track. Another criticism of this book is the pace in which Izzie miraculously heals after not speaking since her mother's death. Hannah has explored selective muteness in another novel, but with this one the girl gets better way to fast. I know it helped move the story along, but maybe she could have spent more time in the details of Izzie working through her grief rather than talking about the trees. I get that readers are supposed to have a suspension of disbelief- meaning that they are willing to let go of reality because, after all, this is a fiction novel, but I think it would have been a much more interesting story if she was more realistic in the ability of this little girl to grieve. Annie, a stranger to this little girl, walks into her life and has her speaking in a few days with no setbacks...that is just too much.

Another thing that disappointed me in the story is that even in the book description Annie feels like she is disappearing and has never been herself because her role has always been caretaker to her daughter and jerk of a husband Blake. So she comes home and what does she do? She finds another family to take care of. She finds out her old boyfriend, Nick Delacroix, has recently lost his wife who was once Annie's best friend. He and his daughter are drowning in their grief and Nick has no idea of what to do with his 6 year old daughter, Izzie, who won't talk anymore and thinks she is disappearing. So what does Annie do? She comes in and takes care of them. She cleans his house, does the gardening, shops for the family, and takes care of Izzie all the while Nick is getting drunk at the town tavern. So then she pulls another miracle out of her pocket and pulls Nick out of the bottle. How can taking care of another dysfunctional family help Annie when her problem is she wants to find herself after years of taking care of her own trouble family? This I cannot explain. To me it just doesn't make sense.

With all that being said, I did like the story...once we got through the trees. It is a nice romance book. It did hold my attention, other than the tree thing. I know I have just spent 2 paragraphs criticizing it, and those were the thoughts I was having as I was reading. But I still liked it. Sometimes I felt sad, sometimes I felt happiness and relief. I just didn't think that the way Annie healed was a very realistic way to heal. There is some tension in the book that made me want to keep reading to see what really happens. The books moves pretty quick after the first quarter of the story so that made me want to keep with it until the end. I'm glad I did. The books is a cute romance but don't expect this to be a heavy literary work.

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Reading Progress

10/07/2011 page 22
10/08/2011 page 107
32.0% "I love her stories but I wish she didn't spend so much time describing the rain forest. She does it in all of her novels and I think that most of those parts could be deleted. After 2 or 3 descriptions of the mossy lace connecting the pine branches and the mist that hangs in the air, I think I get the picture loud and clear what the rainforest looks and smells like."
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