Friday, March 11, 2016
Lost Lake House, by Elisabeth Grace Foley
This time, though, it's not a Western! It's a 1920s tale about a girl and a dancing hall in the Jazz age--and once again, it's another favorite.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses meets the heady glamor and danger of the Jazz Age.
All Dorothy Perkins wants is to have a good time. She’s wild about dancing, and can’t understand or accept her father’s strictness in forbidding it. Night after night she sneaks out to the Lost Lake House, a glamorous island nightclub rumored to be the front for more than just music and dancing…in spite of an increasingly uneasy feeling that she may be getting into something more than she can handle.
Marshall Kendrick knows the truth behind the Lost Lake House—and bitterly hates his job there. But fear and obligation have him trapped. When a twist of circumstances throws Dorothy and Marshall together one night, it may offer them both a chance at escaping the tangled web of fear and deceit each has woven…if only they are brave enough to take it.
Novella, approximately 26,000 words.
This story is great fun to curl up with for an afternoon. Elisabeth Foley gives me everything I'm looking for: good quality writing, a dash of sweet romance, and a thoughtful character arc. It's a well-executed story with a vivid backdrop set during Prohibition, and it handles themes like dancing, drinking, and parent-child relationships in a mature way. I love how Elisabeth doesn't give simple answers to the problems she raises. She gives a multi-layered perspective that remains faithful to biblical principles of honor and gracious to the stages of life the characters are at. The lessons are woven effortlessly into the story and characters, leaving the reader to draw out appropriate conclusions.
Marshall and Dorothy make a sweet couple. I enjoyed their interactions--both lending a helping hand to each other in situations that neither of them want to be in. The side characters make a fun (and sometimes frightening) supporting cast, and the setting of Maurice Vernon's house on the island where young folk go for clandestine fun paints a wonderful and very different backdrop than most I've read lately.
The character arcs, though, are my favorite. Elisabeth always writes character arcs and interactions well. In Lost Lake House she sets up a tough situation and surprises me with how smoothly she guides her characters to a satisfying conclusion. I love the contrast she paints between Marshall and Dorothy's choices--same choice, but different reasons and justifications for what they did. As a reader, I find reasons to sympathize with many of the characters, whether or not I always agree with them.
Deeply satisfying and enjoyable. I highly recommend picking up a copy as soon as it releases on March 16th! In the meantime, don't forget to add it on Goodreads and check out Elisabeth's other work on Twitter and her blog.
I received a free ebook of this story in exchange for an honest review.