Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Inn at Lake Devine” as Want to Read:
The Inn at Lake Devine
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Inn at Lake Devine

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,537 Ratings  ·  410 Reviews
It's 1962 and all across America barriers are collapsing. But when Natalie Marx's mother inquires about summer accommodations in Vermont, she gets the following reply: The Inn at Lake Devine is a family-owned resort, which has been in continuous operation since 1922. Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles. For twelve-year-old Na ...more
Paperback, 253 pages
Published April 27th 1999 by Vintage (first published May 19th 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Inn at Lake Devine, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Inn at Lake Devine

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I found this book by chance in a Parisian apartment eight years ago when I was desperate to read something in English. I might have enjoyed ANYTHING at that point, but wow, this book was fantastic and an introduction to Elinor Lipman, who is consistently one of our finest writers of contemporary mores. "Inn" tells the story of Natalie Marx, a young girl from a largely non-religious Jewish family in Newton, Massachusetts who, in the 1960s, becomes obsessed with a Vermont guesthouse run by an anti ...more
Lisa Vegan
Mar 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who enjoys entertaining novels
Recommended to Lisa by: Virginia Messina
This book was a very satisfying read. This is a wonderful, almost a comedy of manners, coming of age story. The author shows remarkable perspicacity regarding intergenerational conflict, bigotry, cultural differences, and the eras of the 1960s and 1970s. And I must say I’m always a sucker for any good bad mushroom story.

The first and shorter Part 1 was my favorite portion. During that section, I was often laughing out loud; it was hilarious. The section would have sufficed as a stand-alone novel
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Few novels manage to combine humor and sadness the way this one does. It touches on anti-Semitism without being heavy-handed, and brings a varied cast of characters to a new understanding of themselves and others. Lipman has a quirky sense of humor and sets up a wonderful premise here in an interesting location. You have to love a protagonist who, learning that a resort on a New England lake doesn't accept Jewish guests, sets out to expose the innkeepers in such an inventive way. There's a roman ...more
Virginia Messina
Mar 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a quick read, and an enjoyable one! When Natalie’s mother inquires about rentals at an inn on a New England lake, she receives an icily polite response making it clear that, as Jews, they will not be comfortable at this resort. Teenage Natalie, fresh from her first reading of Anne Frank's diary, becomes obsessed with the inn and its owner. This part of the book is very funny and was better, I thought, than the second half. The story jumps forward to Natalie's adult years as her relation ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of years ago I happened to notice one of those banner ads in Goodreads, one of those that seemed to show up every time you noticed for weeks prior to the summer reading season. It was for “The Inn at Lake Devine”. I feel I need to tell the marketers that their ad worked in that I remembered the book, but unfortunately for them it was when I found the book in a used book store (shout out to Book Hunters in Naperville!). It was a hard cover first edition and autographed, and I discovered ...more
Sarah Louise Leach
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having stayed in Vermont at an Inn similar to the one in the novel a few years ago, I enjoyed Lipmans portrayal of tight lipped intolerance and false facades. It was still the same three decades after the novels setting when in the place we stayed, the owner , after discovering I was diabetic, would only address my husband and not speak directly to me " does she eat sausages? ". I was also admonished for wearing a football tshirt I had bought in Boston earlier that week , as " the wrong kind for ...more
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite among all of Lipman's many wonderful novels, read in a straightforward, unselfconscious way. I handed it off to my daughter's friend Eva as soon as I listened to the last disc. At a time in life when they're trying to figure out just which tribe they belong to, this is a book that teens will appreciate. They'll relate to Natalie Marx's righteous fury about the polite WASP anti-Semitism she and her family encounter when scouting for a place to spend their annual 2 week vacation in New ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Lipman's books look as if they must be 'guilty pleasure' books, but I swear they're good--Lipman has a singular voice and dry sense of humor. They're in a class of books that is hard to come by--maybe not 'literary fiction' but fun: well-written keen studies of people. Though I and others might argue that they are 'literary fiction'! If only the covers didn't scream 'chick lit'...
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2013
One of my favorite Elinor Lipman novels; I just read it for the third time. Now, which of her books to read next?
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mcpl-book
The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman is narrated by Natalie Marx. Natalie's family is Jewish. And in the "enlightened" times of the 1960s, racial barriers are falling. Supposedly. But when Natalie's parents are looking for a place to spend their vacation in the summer of 1962, they receive an answer from Vermont that sounds very much like a challenge to Natalie. The guests of the Inn at Lake Devine are all Gentiles--they're the ones who "feel most comfortable here and return year after year." ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I found this book in the to be sold pile at the library where I work. I try hard not to look too closely at these books - I always find something that I want to read.

Lipman captured my attention from the first sentence. I never read Hobson's Gentlman's Agreement, but the theme of these two books are similar. In the not too distant past, some hotels did not accept Jews. Natalie, the narrator of this book, and her family are Jewish.

Natalie becomes a bit obsessive about The Inn at Lake Devine, but
This book deserves more than what it's cover describes it as "a witty romantic comedy". It tackles the subject of anti-Semitism in the 1960s at an inn in Vermont. Its part coming of age novel too. It is well written and very moving in how this young woman confronts the subject and finds love along the way. I took a star off because of the way the publishers marketed this book. It deserves more than a rom-com label.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
I couldn't set the book down once I started it. Natalie's Jewish family receives a letter from an inn the family had hoped to visit which warns that non-Gentiles are not welcome there; Natalie takes this as a challenge. Thoughtful and fun. I think I've found a new author I love!

Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Short, satisfying, and fun, with great dialogue and characters. I had not heard of Elinor Lipman before finding this book--now I want to read others by her. Question: the dedication implies that this is based on a true story--does anyone know if it is?
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Set in Vermont and the Catskills this book follows the life of a young Jewish woman and her family and friends in the summer cottage industry. The story was part social commentary part love story, and I really enjoyed it. Well written.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very quick and enjoyable Summer read .
funniest book about anti-Semitism, ever! (No, I'm not joking.)
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Love Elinor Lipman -- who I discovered this summer -- and this might be one of the very best.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
it was a simple easy read that was entertaining but it all wrapped up a little too quickly and easily
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A light, fun read that also looks at American social barriers in the 1960's
Suanne Laqueur
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-five-stars
A really great read wrapped around social commentary, personal identity, and food. One of my all-time favorites.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Nice easy read. Interesting story about the prejudice facing middle class jewish families and how the melting pot is changing things.
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good summer read. Interesting characters, okay writing.
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Yes, I started and finished this book in one day! No one was home, I felt decadent..easy fun reading book! 253 Pages of summer reading pleasure!
Dale Rosenberg
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I actually read this book some years back but I just re-read it because it is our shul's next book club selection. I enjoyed it a lot this time, too! Here's what I wrote about it for our shul bulletin:

A warm-hearted novel about relationships (romantic, family, friendship), about prejudice, and about food. In the 1960s, Natalie Marx’s mother writes to a number of resorts and inns to find one for her family’s summer vacation. It’s the place they don’t go that interests Natalie. The Inn at Lake Dev
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, humor
Thoroughly charming: a joy to read during late-summer days. Lipman has an amazing talent for dialogue that flows naturally between characters across changing contexts and places. The settings of a quaint (though exclusive) family-run Vermont inn; the Marx's Newton, MA, neighborhood; and a rambling Catskills hotel are lively and meaningful backdrops for the gentle comedy of manners with a backbone of social commentary about folks trying --some more than others-- to bridge the divide between cultu ...more
Nancy Wilson
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
I love Elinor Lipman's writing style -- witty and engaging with fully formed characters that feel so naturally human with their quirks and interesting personalities. This novel is no exception. Lipman's stories always have a twist that, even if I think I see it coming, it's never what I expect. It's a great story that exposes the ugliness of prejudice but also the resilience and creativity of good people in the face of it. Thanks to Elizabeth Berg's "Writing Matters" series in Oak Park, IL, for ...more
Harry Lane
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Something of a coming of age story, love story, and light treatment of prejudice. The "gentiles only" inn at the center of the story is the setting for conflict. If the conflict is resolved in a storybook fashion, that is the author's prerogative. The chief attraction of the story is not so much of the what happens next variety, rather it is the portrayal of people and events that one can relate to, and can well imagine happening in one's own family or a family next door.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • King of the Hill: A Memoir
  • The Benchley Roundup
  • The Education of a Gardener
  • Black Tickets: Stories
  • Foster
  • Much Younger Man
  • Years of Grace
  • Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes from and Why We Need to Get It Back
  • The Gay Place
  • The Queen's Gambit
  • Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
  • The Second Shift
  • About Alice
  • An Ideal Husband; A Woman of No Importance
  • A Kiss Before Dying
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
  • Cat's Meow
  • The Cigarette Girl
Elinor Lipman is the author of 11 humorous novels about contemporary American society; essay and short story collections, and a book of rhyming political tweets.. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, she graduated from Simmons College where she studied journalism. She lives in Manhattan, and received the New England Book award for fiction in 2001. Her first novel, "Then She Found Me," was ada ...more
More about Elinor Lipman...
“It was not complicated, and, as my mother pointed out, not even personal: They had a hotel; they didn't want Jews; we were Jews. (The Inn at Lake Devine)” 1 likes
“That's how it was on Irving Circle and how I was raised: You made the best out of what was within reach, which meant friendships engineered by parents and by the happenstance of housing. I stayed with it because we both had queenly older sisters who rarely condescended to play with us, because Shelley was adopted and I was not, because Shelley had Clue and Life, and I did not” 1 likes
More quotes…