By Ekta R. Garg
July 1, 2015
Rated: Bypass it
A woman uses her sister’s wedding as a legitimate way to take a break from her life. When she arrives in New Hampshire from Boston, though, she realizes that may she need more than a break; maybe she needs a fresh start. By getting back in touch with old friends and reviving her relationships with her family, the woman finds that fresh start. Hannah McKinnon tries to entice readers in the predictable, plodding novel The Lake Season.
Iris Standish can’t seem to do anything right lately. Her teenage daughter offers her nothing more than an eye roll as conversation. She doesn’t know how to relate to the other mothers from school. And her husband has become distant lately. Iris has begun holding her breath, waiting for a shoe to drop.
When her husband says at the beginning of the summer that he wants a separation, though, Iris feels an entire rack of shoes has fallen on her head. After all the sacrifices she’s made with her career and everything they’ve gone through to have children in the first place, she doesn’t know what she could have possibly done wrong. But her husband has made his intentions crystal clear. As far as he’s concerned, their relationship is over.
A mysterious postcard shows up in the mail and turns into Iris’s ticket out of the house for a little while. Her younger sister, Leah, is getting married at the end of the summer to a man no one in the family has met. Iris and Leah haven’t shared a close relationship in many years, but now it seems Leah needs her big sister. The postcard simply says “Please come,” and Iris decides to answer her sister’s call.
She drives to her parents’ farm in New Hampshire and discovers that what started as a small stand of vegetables at the end of the driveway has turned into a thriving business. What’s more, Iris discovers that free spirit Leah acted as the driving force behind the farm’s success. Iris also finds out that her old crush, Cooper Woods, has begun spending considerable time helping her parents restore their old barn and other farm structures. As she tries to sort through her relationship with Leah and her parents, a renewed attraction to Cooper, and a revitalization of her career as a literary agent through an unexpected opportunity, Iris begins to regain the confidence she needs to face her future.
Author Hannah McKinnon’s novel doesn’t offer readers anything new in terms of plot or character. From the overtly cliché opening conflict to Iris’s longing for escape and the fact that she finds it in an upcoming family event that requires her presence, McKinnon hits every single box on the list of predictability. Readers will have a hard time understanding how Iris can allow herself to be taken for granted to such a degrading degree by her husband, and that provision guarantees Iris’s attraction to Cooper even before she reaches New Hampshire.
In fact, readers won’t find it difficult to guess all of the secrets held by Leah or anyone else in the book. Long before Iris and Company hit the forced climax, readers will know what’s coming. The only redeeming factor of the entire book comes in the form of a secondary character from a different part of the country. Unfortunately he doesn’t get enough “screen” time to make much of an impact.
I recommend readers Bypass The Lake Season.