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In Allen's (Garden Spells) atmospheric fifth novel, a widow and her daughter find healing at a quirky summer resort. For the year following her husband's sudden death, Kate Pheris sleepwalked through life, barely able to care for her eight-year-old daughter, Devin. Kate's overbearing mother-in-law, Cricket, stepped in, selling Kate's house and arranging for Kate and Devin to come live with her. On moving day, Kate unearths a postcard from Lost Lake, a resort in Suley, Ga., where her great-aunt Eby owned a group of rental cabins. More than that, it was where Kate spent her "last best summer." Finding the postcard wakes her up. On a whim, Kate decides to take a detour to Suley with Devin, having no idea whether Eby and the cabins will even still be there. They are-Eby's decided to open the cabins for a handful of her regulars for one final summer before selling to a real estate developer. Kate and Devin are immediately taken with Lost Lake and Eby's guests, an assortment of oddballs and misfits. When a magical alligator directs Devin to a treasure box submerged in the lake, it sets off a chain of events that uncovers 15-year-old secrets and cements Kate and Devin's ties to the resort. The overused family business-versus-developers trope doesn't particularly add to the story, and Allen's trademark mystical touches are not as effective as usual, but her eccentric cast of characters and charming Southern setting will win readers over. Announced first printing of 125,000. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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A year after her husband's death, Kate emerges from the fog of grief just in time to make one seemingly simple choice that changes everything. Upon finding a decades-old postcard from her Great Aunt Eby hidden in the attic, Kate and her eight-year-old daughter Devin leave the confines of Atlanta to explore Lost Lake in Suley, GA, and oh the adventures they have! A collection of quirky characters, all with wisdom to share, bring this story to life, and none shy away from the chance for even greater personal growth. But the star of this show might be its geographical sweet spot. Soon after the first page, readers will want to release their cares and woes for full immersion in this novel's magical setting. Who wouldn't want to spend time in one of the relaxing -cabins, dine by the lake, and enjoy the unique fellowship found around this campsite? -VERDICT A favorite author (Garden Spells; The Peach Keeper) has returned with a solid novel that reads so quickly it will leave fans wishing for more, more, more! [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/13; 125,000-copy first printing; library marketing.]--Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Kate has been lingering in a fog throughout the year since her husband died, and it is only when her manipulative mother-in-law threatens to hijack her life that Kate begins to snap to. When her wardrobe-challenged eight-year-old daughter, Devin, discovers an old letter from Kate's great-aunt Eby, the pair go on the lam to Lost Lake, Eby's dilapidated resort camp tucked deep in the south Georgia swamplands. Long widowed, with dwindling funds and a diminishing guest roster, Eby may be forced to sell her fading haven to an unscrupulous developer, until Kate's arrival gives her a new lease on life. While guests and townsfolk prepare a farewell send-off they hope will perversely convince her to stay, Devin receives perplexing clues from the lake's loquacious alligator. One would need a heart of steel, or the skin of an alligator, not to fall in love with Allen's beguiling cast of misfits. A surefire star of feel-good fiction, Allen always manages to nimbly mask her potent messages of inspiration and romance beneath her trademark touches of mirth and magic, but this endearing tale of surprising second chances may just be her wisest work yet.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2010 Booklist