Summary and book reviews of Lake News by Barbara Delinsky

Lake News

By Barbara Delinsky

Lake News
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  • Hardcover: Jun 1999,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: May 2000,
    544 pages.

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Book Summary

With this powerful story, Barbara Delinsky, the bestselling and acclaimed author of Coast Road and Three Wishes, has written her richest and most exciting novel yet.

At its center is Lily Blake, a talented singer who shuns the limelight and cherishes her privacy. Tricked by a devious reporter into unwittingly giving an interview about her friendship with a distinguished churchman -- a newly appointed Cardinal -- she finds herself accused of having had an affair with him.

Shocked and dismayed, Lily becomes a pariah and suffers the brutal, ultimate violation of her privacy as headlines all across the country proclaim her guilt. Hounded by the press, fired from her job, deprived of all public freedom, Lily has no choice but to flee. She returns in secret to her hometown of Lake Henry, in a remote, beautiful part of New Hampshire.

But, idyllic as it may look, Lake Henry, too, has its secrets. Some were the cause of her leaving home in the first place, so returning to her birthplace and her family is not without its own stress and pain.

Driven by the need to exact justice -- and, for herself, some kind of closure -- from the media that changed her life forever, Lily forms an uneasy alliance with John Kipling, a journalist who was born and raised in Lake Henry's poorest neighborhood. His successful career as a big-city reporter has ended disastrously, and John has come back home to edit the local newspaper, Lake News. At first he sees Lily as a victim, as well as a subject for the book he hopes to write. But soon she becomes someone whose appeal -- and cause -- he cannot deny, even at the risk of taking on his former colleagues in her defense.

Set against the physical beauty of New Hampshire and against the complex web of family life and relationships in a small town, Lake News moves triumphantly toward a surprising and deeply satisfying conclusion.

Barbara Delinsky's bestselling Three Wishes was praised by Publishers Weekly for its "spare, controlled, and poignant prose that evokes the simplicity and joys of small-town life." Those same qualities are abundant in Lake News, which offers an intimate look at the complex relationship between an enigmatic man and a vulnerable, besieged woman, both struggling to find a new sense of community in a strange place they once called home.

Lake Henry, New Hampshire
Like everything else at the lake, dawn arrived in its own good time. The flat black of night slowly deepened to a midnight blue that lightened in lazy steps, gradually giving form to the spike of a tree, the eave of a cottage, the tongue of a weathered wood dock -- and that was on a clear day. On this day, fog slowed the process of delineation, reducing the lake to a pool of milky glass and the shoreline to a hazy wash of orange, gold, and green where, normally, vibrant fall colors would be. A glimpse of cranberry or navy marked a lakefront home, but details were lost in the mist. Likewise the separation of reflection and shore. The effect, with the air quiet and still, was that of a protective cocoon.

It was a special moment. The only thing John Kipling would change about it was the cold. He wasn't ready for summer to end, but despite his wishes, the days were noticeably shorter than they had been two months before. The sun set sooner and rose later,...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
DISCUSSION POINTS
  1. Compare and contrast Lily Blake's life in Boston and her life in Lake Henry. What does each locale offer her? How does Delinsky use setting to reveal character? Discuss how Lily's relationships in each place differ. Compare, for example, the reaction of her Essex Club boss after the scandal breaks to her reception at Charlie's in Lake Henry. What does the novel reveal about the rewards and sacrifices inherent in both urban and small-town living? What does it suggest about the meaning and importance of community?

  2. When Terry Sullivan accuses John Kipling of "hiding out" in Lake Henry, John says, "Not hiding. I'm totally visible." Police Chief Willie Jake says of Lake Henry residents: "We all know what ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

The deserved popularity of Delinsky's novels resides in her ability to create appealing, believable characters who don't need to drop names and fashion labels to earn the reader's attention.....Delinsky (Coast Road) plots this satisfying, gentle romance with the sure hand of an expert, scattering shady pasts and dark secrets among some of her characters, while giving others destructive family patterns and difficult family dynamics to contend with. Nature, and how it colors small town living, is described in clean, unembellished prose that only occasionally lapses into an awkward attempt at rural New Hampshire dialect.

Reader Reviews
Cindy

One of the best books this avid reader has ever read is "For My Daughters" by Delinsky. All of her books are well worth the read and I highly recommend them. "Lake News" is true to form.

Anonymous
P. Pease
This is the first book I've read by Delinsky. I found it to be a well written story with beautiful descriptions and complex, interesting characters. The book explores different relationships common to all of us (man-woman, child-parent, ...   Read More

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