Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Week at the Lake

Author:  Wendy Wax
Genre:  Fiction/Chick Lit

Paperback
ISBN: 9780425274477
Berkley
432 Pages
$11.40 Amazon; $7.99 Kindle
June 23, 2015
Five Stars

Twenty years ago, Emma Michaels, Mackenzie Hayes Russell, and Serena Stockton bonded over their New York City dreams.  Then, each summer, they solidified their friendship by spending one week at the lake together, solving their problems over bottles of wine and gallons of ice cream.  They kept the tradition for years, until jealousy, lies, and life's disappointments made them drift apart.

It's been five years since Emma has seen her friends, an absence designed to keep them from discovering a long-ago betrayal.  Now she's in desperate need of their support.  The time has come to reveal her secrets-and hopefully rekindle their connection.

But when a terrible accident keeps Emma from saying her piece, Serena and Mackenzie begin to learn about the past on their own.  Now, to heal their friendship and their broken lives, the three women will have to return to the lake that once united them, and discover which relationships are worth holding on to...   

********

Emma, Mackenzie and Serena met when they were all starting out in New York City.  Emma is the daughter of a well-known acting family and lives in California with her daughter Zoe; Mackenzie, a fashion designer, married Adam and moved to Indiana to run a community theater; and Serena still lives in New York City, voicing a caricature of herself named Georgia Goodbody.  They have always met for one week every summer at the lake cottage that Emma was left by her grandmother - up until five years ago, when Emma stopped asking them to come.

But this year, Emma wants to resume the tradition, and, the day they are set to leave Emma has an argument with Zoe that results in an accident and Emma being left in a coma, with Mackenzie and Serena constantly at her side.

Serena, damaged by a relationship that should have materialized and never did, now only dates married men: the premise being the men aren't worth having anyway.  Mackenzie, who has been relatively happy living in Indiana, has had her life turned upside down by the fact that her husband Adam has finally seen interest in one of his screenplays and is over the moon at seeing it possibly bought by Hollywood, which would mean great changes.  Emma, before the accident, realized that she needed to confront her friends and share with them a secret she has hung onto for years, terrified by the fact that it could change all of their lives forever.

I didn't know what to expect reading this book, but I absolutely loved it.  Of course there were aspects I didn't really agree with (is it ever okay to sleep with someone else's husband?) but none seemed to detract from the pleasure I derived in it.  I felt for Emma, who was 'divorced' from her parents and estranged from her siblings, people for whom acting was their life blood and far more important than she ever could be in their lives; not understanding why she didn't strive as deeply as they did for the top prize.  Mackenzie had spent her entire life in Adam's shadow without ever knowing it, her love and desire for him showing through ever fiber of her being, happy to be his second-in-command, and even expecting it.  Serena, tough as nails New York style, never allowing herself to become involved with anyone in order that she might lay herself open to the raw, blistering pain she felt when her first love, Brooks, deserted her at the last minute in order to remain in Charleston and marry another local Southern belle.

While Emma lies in a coma we are treated to the strong friendship Mackenzie and Serena have for her, and each other; and the love they have for Emma's daughter, Zoe, who is lost and devastated by what has happened with her mother.  When they finally do make it to the lake we watch as they navigate their time together, with Mackenzie's insecurities about Adam bubbling to the surface, and Serena's refusal to look at her life and see things she never wants to look at; we watch Emma's recovery and her struggle to remember exactly what it is she wants to reveal to them.

I think that we know what it is long before Emma remembers, but it doesn't matter, we need to watch, and hope, that everything will turn out alright - Emma will help Zoe navigate life as she returns to hers; Serena will finally become the woman she was always meant to be; and Mackenzie will pull herself from Adam's shadow, realize she will always love him but refuse to remain an added fixture to his personality.  It is a book that shows us what happens by wanting the best for those you care about; and the strength of friendship after tragedy and betrayal.

I have to say that I enjoyed Nadia's character; it gave some much-needed comic relief (a Russian weight-lifter turned nurse).  This book is well worth reading, both for fans of Wendy Wax and those who have never read her before - it is a great starting-off point.  Highly recommended.



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