I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.
Pivotal events in one generation can have far-reaching effects on the next. This novel set in the Great Depression reminds us why we should always question the crowd.
What Can a Novel Set in the Great Depression Teach Us About Hate?
This historical novel, while not set entirely in the Great Depression, helps explain how circumstances and failing to stand up for what we believe in can chip away at our souls until we become part of the problem. It’s easy to think we would never discriminate against someone, especially a friend, because we value the good opinion of the crowd more than we value our friends. But this novel set in the Great Depression shows us how easily we can fall into that trap.
By Cathy Gohlke, Tyndale House Publishers, July 11, 2023, 384 pages.
When her beloved parents die in a tragic storm at sea, 12-year-old Adelaide MacNeill’s older half-brother arrives to settle his father’s estate as quickly and efficiently as possible. Addie finds herself swept away from her beloved Prince Edward Island without a chance to say goodbye to her friends.
Instead of living with her half-brother and his family, Addie gets sent to Lakeside Ladies Academy in Connecticut. While there, she meets three kindred spirits. Together, the four girls navigate living at a boarding school, homesickness, bullies, and first loves. The friends become the Ladies of the Lake and swear to meet each year after graduation ceremonies.
But life, love, and war interfere with their happy plans. Addie and Dorothy, the closest friends in their foursome, fall in love with the same man—a man of German heritage.
When the locals attack the Meyer family in a misguided show of patriotism, Addie is far away in Halifax, helping her sister-in-law. Two lives are forever changed when Dorothy withholds information in a fit of jealous pique.
Eighteen Years Later
The Ladies of the Lake plan to gather once again after graduation ceremonies. This time, they band together to raise money to keep their beloved Lakeside Ladies Academy open despite the ravages of the Great Depression. They also want to finish the gymnasium and dedicate it to their fourth friend, who tragically lost her life so young.
Rosaline Murray has woven popular stories and novels for an adoring public for the past eighteen years. But Rosaline guards her privacy like a treasure. Her only close friend will marry soon, and her beloved daughter Bernadette will graduate from Lakeside Ladies Academy in a few short months.
As much as she longs to see her daughter’s triumphs, Rosaline knows the scars from her past will prevent her from attending. When Mrs. Dorothy Meyer, headmistress of Lakeside, calls Rosaline and encourages her to attend Bernadette’s graduation, the conversation plunges Rosaline into the depths of forgotten memories and past regrets.
How can she honor her daughter while maintaining her anonymity? How can she live with the decisions of her past yet move forward into the future?
What I Loved About This Book
Ladies of the Lake, my first Cathy Gohlke book, turned me into an instant fan. Gohlke’s attention to historical detail and characterization turn what could be a confusing story of four friends into a masterpiece told with heart and compassion.
Readers will relate to Addie and her struggle to forgive her best friend and Bernadette and Rosaline’s fight to overcome a tragedy. The story of how the small town treated the members of the Meyer family reminds us of the dangers of mob mentality disguised as patriotism. It happened once; it could happen again.Four childhood friends deal with the consequences of their choices in this powerful book about friendship and hate. @GohlkeCathy #amreading #TyndaleHouse #HalifaxExplosion Click To Tweet
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