Hannah is superb at delving into her main characters' psyches and delineating nuances of feeling.
You know a book is a winner when you devour it in one evening and hope there's a sequel. Such was the case with Kristin Hannah's new novel, On Mystic Lake, which is both a touching love story and a fascinating study of a woman's compassion for a small child...this page-turner has enough twists and turns to keep the reader up until the wee hours of the morning.
Brimming with the kinds of emotions that tug at the heartstrings…Hannah's writing is all her romance fans have come to expect. It is as rich as the fertile Pacific Northwest rain forest she writes about and as soft around the edges as the fog on Mystic Lake.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
In her first hardcover after a distinguished career in paperback romance (Home Again), Hannah shows what it takes for an author to make that defining leap. Never one to gush, she is more than ever disciplined in her writing, and the result is a clean, deep thrust into the reader's heart. Annie Colwater knows she's in for a spell of loneliness when her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie, leaves Southern California for a summer in London, but the teary airport farewell is just the beginning of a chaotic time. Blake, Annie's husband, tells her that he wants a divorce so he can start a new life with his sweetheart, a young partner in his law firm. Blake's a cad—a habitual philanderer, and the sort of father who forgets birthdays--but we don't totally blame him for bailing out. Annie is Natalie's doting mother, Blake's dutiful wife and otherwise barely there. In search of the self she must find to survive, Annie goes back to Mystic, Wash., and the home of her father, gruffly loving Hank Borne, who did his best to raise her after the early death of her mother. Maternal loss is a terrain Hannah seems to know to a harrowing fare-thee-well. Annie's redemption begins with her profound kindness to six-year-old Isabella Delacroix, whose mother, Kathy—once Annie's best friend—has recently died. A romance with alcoholic cop Nick, Isabella's father, unfolds tenderly and with suspense, for all its inevitability. When Annie discovers she is pregnant with Blake's child, and then gives birth prematurely to a tiny girl who may not survive, the phrase "page-turner" is redefined. In Hannah's world, nothing can be taken for granted and triumph must be earned, with hard work, truthful reckoning and tears.
The life of Annie Bourne Colwater has always revolved around her family's happiness, so she is unprepared for the day her husband announces he wants a divorce. Adrift in an unfamiliar and painful emotional landscape, she escapes to her childhood home in Mystic Lake, WA. What she finds are people needier than herself, especially her old friend Nick and his motherless, traumatized six-year-old daughter, Izzie. Annie welcomes the love she finds, but, more importantly, she unearths her own dormant soul. When life throws her yet another curve, it is a more dimensional Annie who rises to meet it. Susan Ericksen gives a stunning performance, capturing the very essences of Annie, Nick, and little Izzie, silent and frightened and disappearing one small finger at a time. This is essential for every public library along with a sticker warning against reading while driving and requiring a full pack of tissues. Expect Hannah, a notable romance author, to become a major player in mainstream women's fiction. —Jodi L. Israel, Jamaica Plain, MA
Hannah, after eight paperbacks, abandons her successful time-travelers for a hardcover life of kitchen-sink romance. Everyone must have got the Olympic Peninsula memo for this spring because, as of this reading, authors Hannah, Nora Roberts, and JoAnn Ross have all placed their newest romances in or near the Quinault rain forest. Here, 40ish Annie Colwater, returns to Washington State after her husband, high-powered Los Angeles lawyer Blake, tells her he's found another (younger) woman and wants a divorce. Although a Stanford graduate, Annie has known only a life of perfect wifedom: matching Blake's ties to his suits and cooking meals from Gourmet magazine. What is she to do with her shattered life? Well, she returns to dad's house in the small town of Mystic, cuts off all her hair (for a different look), and goes to work as a nanny for lawman Nick Delacroix, whose wife has committed suicide, whose young daughter Izzy refuses to speak, and who himself has descended into despair and alcoholism. Annie spruces up Nick's home on Mystic Lake and sends "Izzy-bear" back into speech mode. And, after Nick begins attending AA meetings, she and he become lovers. Still, when Annie learns that shes pregnant not with Nick's but with Blake's child, she heads back to her empty life in the Malibu Colony. The baby arrives prematurely, and mean-spirited Blake doesn't even stick around to support his wife. At this point, it's perfectly clear to Annie and the reader that she's justified in taking her newborn daughter and driving back north. Hannah's characters indulge in so many stages of the weeps, from glassy eyes to flat-out sobs, that tear ducts are almost bound to stay dry.
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