(this is easily my favorite cover of 2016 thus far.)
The Twelve Dancing Princesses meets the heady glamor and danger of the Jazz Age
All Dorothy Perkins wants is to have a good time. She’s wild about dancing, and can’t understand or accept her father’s strictness in forbidding it. Night after night she sneaks out to the Lost Lake House, a glamorous island nightclub rumored to be the front for more than just music and dancing…in spite of an increasingly uneasy feeling that she may be getting into something more than she can handle.
Marshall Kendrick knows the truth behind the Lost Lake House—and bitterly hates his job there. But fear and obligation have him trapped. When a twist of circumstances throws Dorothy and Marshall together one night, it may offer them both a chance at escaping the tangled web of fear and deceit each has woven…if only they are brave enough to take it.
Novella, approximately 26,000 words.
I don’t even know where to start with all the reasons why this book made me flail excitedly like a deranged penguin.
Let’s take it one at a time, shall we?
1). The writing has such vividry. It’s awash with vintage-movie glamour and lovely description and unexpected snappy bits of conversation that I loved. This is only the second novella of Foley’s that I’ve read, but I can safely say that she knows how to create the right atmosphere in a book and it’s wonderful.
And did I mention the descrip?
“On cloudy nights like this the lake and sky and island all melted into a uniform invisible black, so the blazing golden windows of the Lost Lake House seemed suspended in the middle of the lake like a floating fairy palace.”
2). You know a book is good when you have only two (extended) scenes where the main characters are actually together and you approve of them as a couple instantly. Dorothy and Marshall hit the perfect balance of a realistic friendship and attraction between two young people. The level of blunt honesty and bringing-out-the-best-in-each-other and chivalry and banter makes me happy. And how adorable and squee-worthy was it when Marshall gave Dorothy his sweater so she wouldn’t catch her death of cold?
3). Father/Daughter relationships in stories are my favorite. This particular one twisted my emotions every which way and I loved it so. *rewards Story with chocolate chips*
4). Dorothy is, hands down, one of the most relatable characters I’ve encountered in awhile. She is girlish and worries about things like shoes and friends and is so reminiscent of my own sixteen-year-old self more than four years ago. I remember clearly that frantic feeling of “I must taste life now” and being afraid that it would end up just leaving me behind without having properly participated in it. Her mad, unquenchable longing for something she loves (dancing) resonated with me deeply. As did her emotions halfway through the book of feeling trapped in a vicious cycle and not having the courage to break out of it. That hit me hard because, in essence, she was caught in both an addiction (which I would liken her desperate hunger for dancing to) and her own web of fear and lies. I’ve been in that position before as a sixteen-year-old girl and the memories Lost Lake House awoke were unsettling, but I know it helped me connect with the story and especially with Dorothy on a deeper level than I had before. It’s what made Dorothy’s choice and the book’s ending even more moving and beautiful to me than I anticipated. (Actually, I would go so far as to say that if you know someone who struggled/struggles with an addiction of some sort this book is one they should read.)
Lost Lake House is not shallow by any means, neither is it oppressively heavy. Rather it tells its story in a simply, beguiling way that makes an impact without ever going unnervingly dark. The book tugged me in with its magical essence and glamour, slowly wound me up into a state of unease and discomfort as the secrets behind Lost Lake House are revealed and Dorothy begins to feel her trapped position, and then the apprehension and anticipation (plus my sympathy for the poor girl) kept me glued to the plages until the world began to turn right-side up again and I reached The End with a lump on my throat and the best feeling of contentment only a bookworm can understand.
Lost Lake House was satisfying, folks. I can’t wait to read it again, and this time I will go slowly and savor it like I would a cup of particularly well-brewed mint tea.
*I received a free ARC from the author in exchange for a honest review