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Gone-Away Lake

(Gone-Away Lake #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  6,583 ratings  ·  486 reviews
Summer has a magic all its own.

When Portia sets out for a visit with her cousin Julian, she expects fun and adventure, but of the usual kind: exploring in the woods near Julian's house, collecting stones and bugs, playing games throughout the long, lazy days.

But this summer is different.

On their first day exploring, Portia and Julian discover an enormous boulder with a mys
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 28th 2000 by Odyssey Classics (first published 1957)
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,583 ratings  ·  486 reviews

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An utterly charming story of one splendid summer when two children discover the dilapidated remnants of once-splendid summer homes along the shore of Gone-Away Lake. Two of the homes are still inhabited by an elderly brother and sister who never quite left the turn-of-the-century lifestyle but who are timeless in their kindness and in their understanding of children. A summer of summery nature exploration and little adventures and historical discovery awaits!

I really enjoyed this story.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Elisabeth by: Schuyler
Shelves: childrens-books
4.5 stars. This book was a joy to read. I'm sure I would have liked it as a kid, but I think I enjoyed it even more reading it as an adult, because so much of it reminded me of my own childhood. I was a child of simple tastes: I loved playing outdoors, being in the country, loved animals and birds, and always liked history and old-fashioned things; so Portia and Julian's adventures would have been an absolute dream to me. (Portia reminded me of myself in a lot of little ways, too, from the brace ...more
Jun 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
It probably says volumes about my childhood that this book, with the secret Victorian ghost town on a bogged-up lake, is one of my most treasured memories. A secret clubhouse in a falling-down mansion? License to forage among the other houses? Trunk after trunk of treasures, everything from clothes to seashells to a moosehead? Oh, yeah, I was so right there with Portia and her family.

I'm so happy they've re-issued this, and kept all the original illustrations.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Enright's 1957 novel Gone-Away Lake (which won the author a Newbery Honour designation in 1958) is a gentle and charmingly engaging vacation adventure type of story, the kind I used to very much enjoy and appreciate reading as a child and tween and still if truth be told often and honestly do prefer to more contemporary adventure and mystery children's novels that seem to have madness, mayhem, family dysfunction and dystopia as their main thematics. And indeed, I have totally loved lov ...more
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Charming, sweet, and the perfect summer book; it's very pleasurable reading and just a lovely, wonderful tale of a delicious summer.
Struggling to get into this one which was a huge surprise and disappointment after enjoying the Melendy books so much. Will give it a break and come back to this.
Portia Blake and her younger brother, Foster, travel to rural New York State, near Attica, to spend the summer, as they usually do, with their only-child cousin, Julian Jarman, and his parents. Julian is Portia’s special friend—knowledgeable and adventurous. This summer should prove to be especially fun since the Jarmans have moved to a new house and Julian’s dog has just had puppies. Conveniently, there’s an age-appropriate farm kid friend for Foster, so he stays out of Portia and Julian’s way ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the start, but it took me a few chapters to realize what type of a book it would be, and where the plot was heading.

Gone-Away Lake is about two cousins (Portia and Julian) who discover a long-lost town while adventuring in the woods one day. The town used to be filled with beautiful houses and mansions that surrounded a gorgeous lake. But, when the lake dried up, the town lost its luster and was soon forgotten.

Or was it?

While a good bit of the fun of this tale is the explo
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is my all-time favorite book. What began as a summer read after fourth grade has turned into a career, a passion and a huge part of myself. This book not only made me fall in love with Victorian houses, but also with childrens' books, art, historic preservation and any old decrepit house I happened to see! Eilizabeth Enright is one of those long-lost jewels in the library that everyone has forgotten. Her books are wonderful.
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, published in 1957, Portia and her cousin Julian, exploring the woods near Julian's new house, discover Gone-Away Lake, which is actually a vast swamp. They learn it used to be a lake called Tarrigo and a summer resort community in the 1890s. When the lake drained away, the row of Victorian houses fell derelict. Portia and Julian meet an elderly brother and sister who spent their childhood summers by the lake, and in old age have moved back to lead simple reclusive lives in the fall ...more
Melissa McShane
This feels like an extended meditation on summer, and vacations, and being young. Portia and her younger brother Foster always go to stay with their aunt and uncle and cousin Julian for three months in the summer. This year, Portia and Julian’s wanderings bring them to a lost holiday “colony” of houses that were once lovely homes along a lake shore, but when the lake dried up, everyone moved away. Now the only ones still there are an elderly brother and sister who grew up there as children and r ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heard
09/14 Not much to add, aside from wondering how many phenomenal writers are also just as obscure as Enright. The world's not fair. And I find it interesting that it's been a year and a day since I last listened to this.

09/13 Howling wildernessess! Tarquin et Pindar! Inner pie! How do I love this book? Let me count the ways. Having it on audio to listen to while I fall asleep is so splendid I can't begin to say. Being far from home, waking in the deeps of the night, and instead of being disorient
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Note: The following was written as a book talk for a grade 3-6 audience. I hope the description will still be relevant to adult readers.

Does this plot sound familiar? A group of children travel to the countryside on a train. They stay in a grand old house where they find a magic wardrobe that transports them to a new world. This probably rings a bell. Well, Gone Away Lake shares many of the elements of that story, except that the magic these characters encounter is part of their own world, and e
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First re-read of this in probably a decade. I remembered loving it, and I remembered lots besides, but I did not remember it being howlingly funny. Which it is.

Coming to this straight from a re-read of Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books, I find myself unsurprised that I grew up with a deep and abiding love for the written word. As a kid, I was reading some fine, fine writers all unaware. A pause, then, for a moment of gratitude to Mrs. Borski the iron-grey librarian who steered my little cano
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Loved the art, of course, by the Krushes. The concept of going exploring and meeting interesting old people and exploring old mansions is interesting. But it didn't engage me when I was young, nor now. There's no growth, no mystery, nothing for the reader to discover... we just watch the characters do it all. Imo.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised how much I enjoyed Gone Away Lake, considering that it lacked most of the things I require in a book. There was little or no plot, no tragedy or mystery or fighting, and no bad guys, and it was just a happy little book. Which I don't normally love. But somehow this was great. 🤔
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Portia is excited to spend the summer with her cousin, Julian, but she never expects that they will discover an abandoned lakeside community, or that they will make friends with a pair of elderly siblings who still inhabit two of the rundown houses. At Gone-Away Lake, as their friends Aunt Minnehaha and Uncle Pindar call it, Portia and Julian discover life as it was 50 years ago, while having their own summer of modern-day adventures they wil
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really thought I might have read this when I was younger and that I would remember once I started reading. But no, I had never read this before. It's a shame that I never did because I would have loved this when I was younger! I enjoyed it a lot now as an adult. What's not to love about two cousins who find a group of forgotten and nearly abandoned houses out in the middle of a swamp where they spend an idyllic summer fixing up one of the houses as their own clubhouse? I'm grateful that this w ...more
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: oldfavorites
Portia and her cousin Julian discover a hidden abandoned village dating from the turn of the century--the 20th century! They are flabbergasted to discover that two of the houses are still occupied by a brother and sister who were among the original occupants of Tarrigo. They make a clubhouse in another abandoned home, and soon other friends and relatives get in on the secret. This book is full of fascinating details about the old houses and their furnishings, and of the children's interest in th ...more
Mar 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This was charming, just a sweet story. It's not particularly exciting, and it feels very much like, "What I did on my summer vacation." I enjoyed the meander through Gone Away Lake, and the cast of characters, but I think like Fair Weather, this is a book I really enjoy, but my reaction wouldn't go further. On the other hand, I suspect I would have loved it when I was a child. I always enjoy a secret club. And I am happy that Aunt Min and Uncle Pinder might have some more company now.

In other ne
Julie  Durnell
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Enchanting and delightful! I was totally caught up in these youngsters adventures at Gone-Away Lake. The older couple, Pindar and his sister Minnehaha, were a wonder for their age and how they lived so independently, almost reclusive. As a child who hasn't imagined living in an abandoned house, gathering your own furnishings, and playing unsupervised?! The relationships between siblings and cousins, young folks and old folks, city versus country in a simpler time made the book an absolute pleasu ...more
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
This was a book I found on the shelves at my new school. I hadn't read it and thought I'd give it a try. The writing was beautiful and flowy but then red flags popped up as I continued to read. "Quiet like an Indian" to describe her cousin as he snuck through the forest and "Black as a Sambo" when her cousin fell into a marsh. The list goes on... Maybe it squeaked by as okay in 1957 but it's not today. Bye-bye Gone-Away Lake. You have been officially discarded.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a
My oldest dd loved this! :)
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a charming and delightful, old-fashioned book about the simple pleasures of being a kid. There's much emphasis on nature and spending time out of doors. I would have loved to have had such an exciting adventure as to meet real life Victorians still living the antiquated Victorian lifestyle. I would have been beside myself with excitement to enter their world. The story would have been better if it was a time slip novel like Fog Magic and it is not without its faults. The story is very ve ...more
Rebekah Morris
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
I read this first many years ago and loved it. This time around I enjoyed it, but I also noticed some things that I didn’t care for.

First off, the characters were such fun. I enjoyed Portia (I won’t call her Porsh since she doesn’t care for that name) and her delight so many things. Julian was a typical boy interested in bugs, and creatures, and exploring. I liked the relationship between these two cousins.
As for the two old people these cousins discover, they were charming! It made me
Rachel C
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is geared towards younger kids, probably ages 8-12. I would say this is a realistic fiction/adventure type novel. Elizabeth Enright does a fantastic job writing the story with many interesting details. I especially like that there is no technology in the story. The kids have fun exploring without the distraction of tv’s, phones, or computers. It’s simply devoted to nature and discovery. No doubt parents will enjoy this for their kids. There’s also adventure, mystery, imagination, and suspen ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Portia and her brother visit their relatives in the country they knew they were going to have fun! They just didn't know how much fun! One day Portia and her cousin Julian were off exploring when they discover a ghost town at the edge of a luscious swamp! Most surprising of all were the two elderly people that still lived there. They were as delightful as can be and the children enjoyed their friendship. Now began the adventures in the best summer the children ever had!
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I stayed up late reading with my nightlight every night to finish this one as a kid.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children, perfect for summer reading
This is one of those books which I thoroughly appreciate as an adult that I wouldn't appreciate as a child, and yet I heartily recommend it to children.

It's a sort of Benjamin Button phenomena. As a child, I liked to read Charles Dickens because Matilda loved Dickens. And so I devoured classic after classic, and generally stayed away from typical "children's books" because I was a child. Go figure. In fairness, I did like the Bobbsey Twins and Goosebumps, but that's just about it. I especially s
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Recommended for: All Ages

Rating: G

Gone-Away Lake is full of good memories. I remember my mom getting it from the library and reading it to my sisters and me during lunch. I have since revisited it and it's surprisingly good sequel countless times.

Gone-Away Lake is a fun story. The discovery of the abandoned summer homes and the people who still live there makes an intriguing premise. And the fact that the two people living there were some of the people who lived there during the summer at the tu
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #74 - Gone-Away Lake 1 1 May 04, 2015 03:07PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED! Boy befriends couple in ghost town [s] 3 33 Aug 16, 2011 06:00AM  

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Elizabeth Enright (1907-1968) was born in Oak Park, Illinois, but spent most of her life in or near New York City. Her mother was a magazine illustrator, while her father was a political cartoonist. Illustration was Enright's original career choice and she studied art in Greenwich, Connecticut; Paris, France; and New York City. After creating her first book in 1935, she developed a taste, and quic ...more

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Gone-Away Lake (2 books)
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“Now isn't that nice!' said the old lady. 'If cousins are the right kind, they're best of all: kinder than sisters and brothers, and closer than friends.” 25 likes
“Maybe we benefit from the providence of others more often than we know.” 12 likes
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