SUMMERS AT BLUE LAKE by Jill Althouse-Wood


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Yet another first novel about a woman returning to the old home place to recover from a broken marriage and, lo and behold, finding true love.

After her lawyer husband Bryce has an affair and asks for a divorce, metal craftswoman BJ brings her five-year-old son Sam to the small lakeside town in Pennsylvania where she has recently inherited her deceased maternal grandmothers’ house—two maternal grandmothers, because BJ’s mother had lesbian mothers before gay parenting was fashionable. BJ spent wonderful summers in the house in the 1970s and ’80s with her biological grandmother Nonna, a baker, and her partner Lena, a wedding photographer. Now BJ sets up her metalworking studio in Lena’s old darkroom and has a burst of creative success. Her best friend from those summers has become a lawyer who handles BJ’s amicable divorce from Bryce. Most important, BJ rekindles her romance with the son of Lena’s half-sister whom she hasn’t seen since she was 14. Travis is BJ’s patient, sensitive soul mate—in other words, unbelievably perfect. After a surfeit of niceness—even Bryce is a good father and decent ex-husband—trouble, or at least complication, finally surfaces. Bryce comes to visit Sam and begs BJ to take him back with pretty convincing arguments. At the same time, BJ finds a notebook from Nonna explaining her family history: After being molested as a child by her evil stepfather, then raped and abandoned by her equally evil fiancé, Lena found herself unmarried and pregnant. Nonna, happily married to a soldier serving in World War II, secretly had a miscarriage around the same time. So Nonna raised Lena’s baby as her own. Nonna’s husband was killed, she and Lena moved in together for the baby’s sake, and their love blossomed. Reading the notebook, BJ realizes she and Travis are cousins. Will true (if ickily close to incestuous) love prevail over a sense of marital/parental duty? Of course.

Bland, despite the contrived melodrama.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-56512-496-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2007