On Mystic Lake
Ballantine, 2004 (1999)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas
pon coming back from seeing off their only daughter on a pre-college London trip, housewife Annie Colwater is devastated by her husband's abrupt announcement that he's divorcing her for a younger woman. At first disbelieving, Annie slowly but bitterly accepts the fact and returns to the small town where she grew up. Once there, at every step she's reminded of having given up all her high hopes and dreams for a failed marriage.
he finds that her best friend from childhood had committed suicide, leaving behind grieving husband Nick and an emotionally traumatized young daughter, Izzy. Having once been in love with Nick herself, Annie offers to help him by looking after his daughter. Izzy slowly blossoms and begins to return to a modicum of normalcy under Annie's cheerful influence and in turn helps Annie recover from her own ordeal. But a guilt-ridden Nick is bent upon drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Can he stop before it's too late? When the embers of their long-ago passion once again flare into life, Annie feels like she's been given a second chance at happiness. Dare she take it?
ristin Hannah's touching story about the vagaries of life, love and second chances makes for an excellent reading experience. The oft-told plot gets a new life under Hannah's skilful hands as she explores human relationships, addictions and a quest for happiness and independence. Annie is a stereotype for every older woman who finds herself dumped for a younger model and then regrets never having had a career. Hannah shows that it's never too late in life to explore new possibilities. Nick is another conflicted character, one who chooses alcohol over confronting his feelings about his family and himself.
ick and Annie provide each other with much-needed emotional support and love - how they do it makes a mesmerizing and emotional read. There is also suspense a-plenty, which adds a surprising gritty edge to this sensitive tale.
will linger in readers' memories - for unforgettable and realistic characters, and also because of its message of undying hope.
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