Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)'s Reviews > Dream Lake

Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas
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Dream Lake Review (finally)

I was excited to read Alex’s story and I was not disappointed. Alex out of all the Nolans grabbed my heart and squeezed it, wouldn’t let it go. Alex has traits that make him my kryptonite. I adored him. He’s tortured and grumpy. He’s described as having a ruined beauty that women can’t resist, but he’s not a womanizer. While having a broken beau is nothing a woman should aspire to in life, broken heroes seem to appeal to me like no other. I loved seeing Alex’s damaged psyche be healed in a realistic way. Kleypas doesn’t take any shortcuts. She shows you all the dark spots on Alex’s soul, even his destructive, unhealthy relationship with his ex-wife, Darcy. While Zoe in herself doesn’t heal Alex, the functionality of their relationship is a sharp contrast to his failed marriage. While Darcy seemed to want to put Alex back on the rails with his drinking, Zoe wants Alex to be whole and healed, not for herself, but for him. When Alex and Zoe meet in Rainshadow Road, it felt like magic to me, and it turned out to be the case. Zoe and Alex are made for each other. Zoe is fairly well balanced. She does have some self-esteem issues due to her extreme beauty and voluptuous physique, and the trauma of being judged for it. To the extent that she marries a man who is gay because he doesn’t objectify her. While Alex is obviously completely blown away by Zoe, he doesn’t treat her like a sex object, and in actuality, tries to push her away because he knows he’s damaged goods. However, the connection between them cannot be ignored. I ate up their falling in love. Enjoyed every scene they had together. Zoe’s major issue is the failing health of her grandmother. Her grandmother has a form of dementia that escalates rapidly, and Zoe takes on the role as caregiver. Alex takes on the job of remodeling the cottage that Zoe’s cousin Justine lets her live in with her grandmother. Their proximity is an excellent opportunity for the powerful emotions between them to blossom. And in seeing each other under their worst situations, they realize that love isn’t about perfection but about loving perfectly.

Kleypas was going for a magical realism theme with this series, and this book reminded me of “Like Water for Chocolate” or “Simply Irresistible” with some “Ghost” thrown in. Zoe’s cooking seems to have healing properties, although I don’t think there was really any magic in it. It was merely a case of the fact that her food was what sustained Alex and tempted him to eat when he was at the lowest point in his alcoholism. The ghost angle comes in with the spirit that attaches himself to Alex, a spirit that lives in the house that Alex’s brother Sam owns and that Alex has taken on restoring. Alex seems driven to restore the house, and the spirit becomes attached to Alex in the process. It’s hate at first sight. The spirit can’t stand Alex, who comes off as a complete misanthrope if not nihilist. It’s Alex’s hero’s journey to heal spiritually and to rid himself of the dark cloud that has surrounded him since his traumatic childhood, being victimized by two violent, unrestrained drunks. I don’t know what Kleypas’ spiritual beliefs are but she doesn’t shy away from adding a spiritual component to this novel, that make sense in that we’re dealing with a ghost and a hero who is having a major existential crisis. The ghost often functions as Alex’s conscience and in some ways, much like the ghosts that visit Ebeneezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.” This is another book in which Kleypas obvious love of literature is showcased and lovingly inscribed into her writing.

This book is my favorite out of the series, and it earns a resounding five stars. I think that it captures the tone and the notes of a beautiful contemporary romance only as Kleypas could deliver. She uses language so beautifully, from the well-developed characters, to the intentional and spot on dialogue. While the ghost story didn’t really add to this book for me, it’s integral to the story, and it would definitely appeal to readers who like a little paranormal in their romance. Not as excited about Justine’s book, but at the same time, looking forward to reading it.

Oh, I guess I should mention the audiobook narration. It was good. Serviceable.

My dream cast:

Kelli Garner as Zoe

Nicholas Hoult as Alex
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Reading Progress

September 13, 2010 – Shelved
May 29, 2015 – Shelved as: owned-copy
May 29, 2015 – Shelved as: favorite-or-autobuy-author
May 29, 2015 – Shelved as: mainstream-contemporary-romance
August 7, 2016 – Started Reading
August 7, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
August 14, 2016 – Finished Reading
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: favorites
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: hero-to-die-for
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: heroine-i-adore
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: voluptuous-heroine
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: hero-black-hair-blue-eyes
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: addiction
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: tortured-hero
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: caregiver
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: ghost
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: magical-realism
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: audiobook
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: library-checkout
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: paranormal-romance
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: chef-caterer-cook

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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Mollie *scoutrmom* This one is worth rushing out to buy. Better than the others in the series, and 20% off at Target.

message 3: by Vintage (new)

Vintage Great review. I am not a big fan of the tortured hero a la Heathcliff, but Alex is the exception. I adored Zoe and his relationship plus the magic realism is the cherry on top.

I also liked how LK incorporated Zoe's cooking as part of the redemption process. Made lavender lemonade as a result of this book. Wish LK would do a cookbook.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Vintage. OMG, the food was such a huge part of the book. I'm amazed I didn't note that in the review.

♥ℳelody Great review Danielle! I adore Zoe and Alex. 💖

And I don't know how I forgot that she married a gay man. Really?? It's been a while since I read this. lol

message 6: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (last edited May 18, 2017 04:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Melody. Me too! It's kind of a small plot point, and he was her best friend.

BJ Rose It's been quite a while since I read this - I will definitely keep your review in mind when I do a reread; you've given me a fresh look on both characters...

Lynsey A Great review, Danielle! This was my favorite of the series as well. Just absolutely adored it!!!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) I wouldn't mind rereading this soon, BJ. I was talking to a coworkers about it bc I used a post it note. Talked myself into a reread. :)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Belated thanks, Lynsey. Me too!

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