Summers at Blue Lake

By Jill Althouse-Wood
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781565124967, 325pp.)

Publication Date: August 2007

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As a young girl, Barbara Jean Ellington spent summers at her grandmothers' home in a small Pennsylvania town. It was not the most conventional of households, formed as it was by two women who lived as partners in life as well as in business, but it had been a welcome retreat for a shy girl who had issues with her own mother and who needed room to grow.
Now both grandmothers have died, and BJ has come back to the small house near Blue Lake to sort through the remnants of their lives and the tatters of her own. She arrives with her young son, desperately in need of time to herself--time to come to terms with her husband's sudden decision to end their marriage. Over the course of the summer, childhood memories come into sharp focus, especially with the reappearance of Travis, the man for whom, when they were both teenagers, she harbored a secret crush. Now, suddenly free, she must decide whether she's ready to take a second chance at love.
More unsettling, however, is the discovery of an unmailed letter written by BJ's grandmother Nonna to BJ's own late mother filled with revelations both startling and confusing. Finding secrets within secrets, BJ begins piecing together the truth of the past.
"Summers at Blue Lake" is an engrossing and rewarding debut novel in the tradition of works by popular novelists such as Elizabeth Berg, Sue Miller, and Anita Shreve.
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