A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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Ladies of the Lake by Cathy Gohlke: Book Review

  *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

After two young women’s deep bond is torn apart, what will it take to bring them together again? In The Ladies of the Lake, the beloved author of Saving Amelie and Night Bird Calling returns with a transformative new historical novel about the wonder and complexities of friendship, love, and belonging.

When she is forced to leave her beloved Prince Edward Island to attend Lakeside Ladies Academy after the death of her parents, the last thing Adelaide Rose MacNeill expects to find is three kindred spirits. The “Ladies of the Lake,” as the four girls call themselves, quickly bond like sisters, vowing that wherever life takes them, they will always be there for each other. But that is 
before: Before love and jealousy come between Adelaide and Dorothy, the closest of the friends. Before the dawn of World War I upends their world and casts baseless suspicion onto the German American man they both love. Before a terrible explosion in Halifax Harbor rips the sisterhood irrevocably apart.

Seventeen years later, Rosaline Murray receives an unsuspecting telephone call from Dorothy, now headmistress of Lakeside, inviting her to attend the graduation of a new generation of girls, including Rosaline’s beloved daughter. With that call, Rosaline is drawn into a past she’d determined to put behind her. To memories of a man she once loved . . . of a sisterhood she abandoned . . . and of the day she stopped being Adelaide MacNeill.

Bestselling, Christy Hall of Fame, and Carol and INSPY Award-winning author, Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Her critically acclaimed novels include A Hundred Crickets Singing, Night Bird Calling, The Medallion (winner of the 2020 Christy Award), Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Christy, Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008 and winner of the 2008 Christy and American Christian Fiction Writers Award) and William Henry is a Fine Name (winner of the 2007 Christy Award).

When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com, and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks; on Bookbub (@ CathyGohlke); and on YouTube, where you can subscribe to Book Gems with Cathy Gohlke for short videos of book recommendations.

I must admit, this book took me quite a while to get into. I'm not sure if this was the story itself--- it being a dual timeline with many characters to keep track of, which can often be harder for me to connect with anyway... or if it was because I was listening to the audiobook version, which is not my usual or preferred way to enjoy books typically.... most likely, it was a bit of a combination of the two. 

Despite the slow start though, once I got into the story, I absolutely adored it! This was such a beautiful story about friendship and forgiveness.... mixed with great pieces of history and even a love story too. It spanned the course of many years, jumping back and forth between the time the Ladies were children at the school to their adulthood. It had many heartbreaking moments, but also many filled with hope. All of it kept me wanting to read (or listen) on to see what was going to happen next and how it would all end. While quite different from what I have been reading lately, I found it to be a really wonderful story. 

If you enjoy historical fiction, this is certainly one to check out. 

As mentioned, I listened to the audiobook version of this one. I've only listened to a handful of audiobooks in the past, so I don't have a ton of reference to compare it too... but I definitely thought the narrator did a wonderful job of bringing this story to life. She was enjoyable to listen to and easy to understand. While this still isn't my preferred way to enjoy a book (I find I get distracted more easily), I really enjoyed this one nonetheless. 


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