Friday, February 10, 2017

Summers at Blue Lake by Jill Althouse-Wood

I read a lot of books on my e-reader.  I really don't like it because I prefer physical books but I really love it because it is small, lightweight, and I can read in the car really well with it, even at night.  I am in the car a LOT.  Now, just in case you are wondering, I don't read while I am driving.  I do, however, read when I am a passenger.

I have quite a few books on my e-reader so I decided that to start out my 2017 reading list (no challenges this year) I would begin by trying to read down some of my books that are electronic.  I began at the top of the list.  I have them arranged alphabetically by author.  So, the next on the list was this title -- "Summers at Blue Lake" by Jill Althouse-Wood.

When I opened this book, I sort of felt that it was just an exercise to mark books off a list, clean house so to speak, get it done and archive the book.  I had no idea that this story would grab me hook, line, and sinker.  Finally a book that didn't involve political statements or opinions, marches, rallies, extreme social issues.  This was just a romance.  I loved it.

Now, like a lot of books written these days, there is the primary story and a back story.  In this case, the primary story was pretty predictable.  It was the back story that was the grabber.

This is the story of Barbara Jean aka Bobbi aka BJ -- depending on what time of her life you are looking at.  BJ is in a really bad marriage -- a marriage of inconvenience where she is the inconvenience.  It is dissolving all around her.  She is the mother of Sam, her five year old son - the product of the inconvenient marriage.  She is an artist specializing in jewelery and metal works.   The book takes you through the summers she spent with her grandmothers in Pennsylvania.  BJ grows up, has romances, has disappointments and victories during this time.

The real story, though, is that of her grandmothers.  Now, normally you would think that means her mother's mother and her father's mother.  Not so, in this case.  Her grandmothers were lesbians.  They weren't always lesbians, they both had completely different lives at one point and that is where the twist comes in. I won't say anymore because you just have to read it.  It is well written and flows nicely and actually, it was a page turner for me.  It is medium sized book, 298 pages on my Nook, and I read it in two days.  I couldn't put it down which means the floor didn't get vacuumed.  Oh well, it hasn't gone anywhere.

I will say that the interpersonal relationships between BJ and her friend Karen, her husband Bryce, her long-time love Travis and, of course, the grandmothers were handled very tastefully.  There is no explicit detail of the relationship between the grandmothers.  Everything is pretty much "assumed".  The tension between BJ and Travis is a little more detailed but not offensive in any way.

I recommend this book, it was a great read.  The twist was unexpected, actually, and brought a lot of depth to the characters.  Yes, I enjoyed it.