Author: Holly Robinson
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Sydney Bishop hasn’t returned to Haven Lake, her idyllic childhood home, since a pair of shocking, tragic deaths shattered her family when she was only sixteen. Now a child psychologist engaged to marry a successful surgeon, Sydney has worked hard to build a relationship with Dylan, her fiancé’s teenage son, so she feels nothing but empathy when he runs away—until she discovers that his hitchhiking journey has led him to Haven Lake and her mother Hannah’s sheep farm.
Sydney returns to Haven Lake for the first time in twenty years to coax the boy home. Against her daughter’s wishes, Hannah offers to take Dylan in until he’s ready to reveal his own troubling secrets. Now, for Dylan’s sake as well as their own, Sydney and Hannah must confront the devastating events that tore them apart and answer the questions that still haunt their family—and the suspicious surrounding community—about what really caused two people to die on their farm those many years ago.
This is a hard review for me to write because Holly Robinson has been a favorite author of mine since I read her book The Wishing Hill a couple of years ago, so when I got my hands on Haven Lake I was excited to dig on it. In fact, when I received my copy of it, I had a picture posted on twitter within about 10 minutes of opening the package. But when it came to reading it, I don’t know if I wasn’t in the right mood, or there was something that just wasn’t working for me, but I struggled with the initial stages. At one stage early on (I was maybe about 40 pages in), I put it down because I was struggling and there is sat, glaring at me from my bedside table for probably a good month or so (books rarely last that long as a current read). But on a snowy weekend, I curled up with Haven Lake and after I got past the chapter or so that I was stuck on, the rest of my reading was pretty much smooth sailing.
Much like her previous books, Haven Lake is a woman’s exploration into her life – what has gone wrong? what has gone right? what does she need to change to be where she wants to be? But I had issues relating to Sydney – I just felt like she wasn’t relatable – in fact, she was (at least to me an unfeeling bitch). She may have become slightly more redeemable as the book progressed for the most part, but honestly, yeah, I could have cared less.
I was much more interested in both Hannah and Sydney’s soon to be step-son, Dylan – they were to me the more interesting of the cast of characters. I’m always intrigued by people who decide to live off the grid (and while Hannah wasn’t completely off, she was fairly well unplugged) – mostly because I know I could never do it. I like my phone, my computer, Facebook, Starbucks etc wayyy to much 😉 I also liked how Holly developed Dylan’s character – all I wanted to do while I was reading his portion was wrap him up in a huge hug (and then bitch-slap his father…). He reminded me of Gigi in Holly’s other book, Beach Plum Island. As a writer she has the troubled teen character very well developed (and they don’t seem to be cardboard cut-outs of each other, each are unique).
I ended up giving Haven Lake 3.5 stars because of my thoughts about Sydney through-out, since she was the main character and I just struggled to like her. As well as the fact that I very easily put this down and wasn’t in any rush to pick it back up, like I did with previous books by Holly. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as previous books, I think reader’s who like women’s lit may enjoy it.