Publisher: Berkley Books

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Book Review: A Week at the Lake

July 7, 2015 Book Review 7

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: A Week at the LakeA Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax
Published by Berkley Books, Penguin on June 23rd, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction
Pages: 432
Source: complimentary review copy
Goodreads

 

Y’all know the only book I was able to read while on family vacation was Wendy Wax’s A Week at the Lake from this tongue-in-cheek confession.  The book came back from the beach a bit water-logged, though not quite as soaked as the book my daughter was reading.  She left a borrowed paperback in her beach chair. . .that was on the edge of the water. . .and a wave crashed ~ a large wave. . .you get the picture, right?  Her version includes something about me sitting in the chair next to hers. . .My defense? I bet you can guess ~ I was reading!

Long-time friends Emily, Mackenzie and Serena are to meet up at Emily’s lake house after a 5-year absence.  Since their college days they had an annual vacation tradition at Emily’s Grandmother’s historic Millionaires’ Row home on Lake George.  Emily is from a long line of actors.  She became favorite media gossip when, as a teenager, she divorced her famous parents.  Gifted clothing designer, Mackenzie, married her college sweetheart, but after 20 years of marriage, they seem to have hit a rough patch.  Serena is the famous sultry voice behind a popular animated television series {along the lines of the “Family Guy” or “The Simpsons”}.  Serena is a popular media darling as well with her long line of affairs.  The women have each suffered from their lack of connection for five years.

Favorite quote

Serena’s therapist tells her, “If you’re going to expend time and energy imagining scenarios, you really need to allow for the positive.”  Now that feels like great advice for anyone!

[Tweet “If you’re going to expend time & energy imagining scenarios, allow for the positive @wendy_wax “]

My thoughts

Set in New York City and Lake George, A Week at the Lake is a departure for Wax.  Most of her novels have been set in the south and evoke the particular landscape and feel of the South.  The descriptions of the old lake ‘house’ from Millionaires’ Row were breathtaking.  I was able to visualize the lake house.  Older homes and description is definitely Wendy Wax’s strong point.

Early on, I figured out what happened to distance the women, and why they went five years without communicating.  I can understand how time gets away from us all and we lose touch with friends, but it was clear that such was not the case for Emily, Mackenzie and Serena. My issue with A Week at the Lake is that I could not relate to any of the women nor their situations in the novel. My expectations based on the cover and the title had me thinking A Week at the Lake would be a perfect beach read.  I know, I know “never judge a book by its cover!”  The build-up to the reveal of why the five year distance lasted almost the entire novel ~ revealing the secret earlier along with the aftermath would probably have kept me better engaged.  Unfortunately, this one is a miss for me.  

Will I give Wendy Wax another try? Absolutely!  Her Ten Beach Road series is laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming and engaging.

How is your summer reading coming along? Any stand-outs?

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Any Downton Abbey Fans?!?

January 3, 2014 Book Review, reviews 2

Any Downton Abbey Fans?!?While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax
Published by Berkley Books on April, 2013
Genres: chick-lit, Fiction
Pages: 384
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

Are you anxiously waiting for Sunday, January 5th like I am?  I must admit it was not til this past summer that I watched the first season. . .and the second. . .and the third. . .gotta love a Roku and Amazon Prime!

Of course over the past couple of years I’ve heard the Downton Abbey craze but never got around to watching it ~ thanks to weeks and weeks of required bed rest I had plenty of time to watch all three seasons and become completely addicted to Downton Abbey!  Soooo, when offered the chance to read and review While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax, I, of course, jumped at the chance.

A story of three women brought together by weekly screenings of Season 1 of Downton Abbey in their exclusive apartment building in downtown Atlanta.  The hunk of a concierge with impeccable British manners creates a weekly viewing of the popular show in order to bring the building neighbors together.

Samantha married young for all the wrong reasons, and with her husband, owns the Alexander ~ historic and exclusive Atlanta apartment building.  Claire is a writer and empty nester, and finally there’s Brooke, single mom with ex + the new wife moving INto the Alexander just above Brooke’s place!  The women become friends although each are on very different life paths.

I typically love Wendy Wax’s novels.  The last one I read Ten Beach Road made me crave the female friendships Wax portrayed so well.  And in While We Were Watching Downton Abbey I found the friendships developed to be sweet and supportive, but the characters felt a bit flat to me.  I wanted to know what inspired Edward; how the three women really came to know one another to the point of watching Brooke’s children; cajoling Samantha out of a depression and bullying Claire into finishing her book.  I mean the friendship was lovely but the development aspect was lacking.

The Downton Abbey segments were engaging but brief, and I felt like I was talking with a good friend over the major plot points of the show. . .like the Titanic sinking, Lady Mary’s interest in politics and women’s rights, Lady Edith’s conniving and contriving, Upstairs, Downstairs. . .Bates, Anna, Thomas. . .etc.

But unlike the characters of Downton Abbey who were dealing with major life issues, Samantha, Claire and even Brooke did not share in those issues ~ they had a roof over their head, food on the table and decent lives.  Yes they had problems, just not ones I connected with. The plot was predictable and I’m one easily swayed by an engaging plot. While We Were Watching Downton Abbey definitely qualifies as chick-lit.  And not one that draws the reader into an emotional connection.   Have you read While We Were Watching Downton Abbey? What did you think?

 I’d love to know ~ will you be watching “Downton Abbey” Sunday evening or are you one of those really cool British citizens who has already seen Season 4?!?  

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