A Lyrical Journey Through Love, Memory, and Family

Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake is a stunning read that earns all 5 stars. Set during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the novel follows Lara Nelson and her daughters—Emily, Maisie, and Nell—as they quarantine at their family orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, Lara recounts her time as a young actress in New Hampshire, focusing on her romance with Peter Duke, who later became a famous actor.

The daughters are eager for details about Lara’s past, and each responds differently to her revelations and then reflects on her own life. Through these stories, Patchett explores themes of love, memory, and the choices that shape our lives. Her writing is simply gorgeous—smooth, vivid, and magical. You can almost taste the cherries and feel the summer breeze as you read.

Patchett seamlessly blends past and present, creating real, heartfelt characters and deep connections between them. The novel’s exploration of love, family, and time is relatable and comforting, reminding us of the lasting power of stories and memories.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. Her novel, The Dutch House, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Tom Lake is a writer’s novel—I thought it was brilliant! While the story is good, the prose sold it for me. If you appreciate exquisite, lyrical writing and a multilayered story that tugs at your heartstrings, this book is for you. I supplemented the eBook with audio and Meryl Streep did a phenomenal job narrating it.

** Thanks to the publisher for a review copy. The opinions are my own.

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