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Book Review of On Mystic Lake

On Mystic Lake
On Mystic Lake
Author: Kristin Hannah
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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Hannah pulls out all the stops in this one. She dumps in crumbling marriage, empty-nest syndrome, long-lost loves, neglected children, traumatized children, loss of a parent, homelessness, substance abuse, suicide, mental illness, and pretty much every hanky-dampening situation in the romance writers' playbook.

In other words, her fans will eat this up.

It all starts when Annie Colwater's husband announces, apparently out of the blue, that he has fallen in love with another woman and wants a divorce. He drops this bombshell moments after the couple has put their 17-year-old daughter on a plane for London.

Shocked and confused, Annie returns to her hometown on the Olympic Peninsula, to spend time with her father and to try to reorganize her life. Looking for something to fill her days, she agrees to help her first love, Nick, with his six-year-old daughter, so traumatized by her mother's suicide that she is nearly catatonic.

Things build pretty predictably from there, and even the "surprise twist" at the three-quarter point is something the long-time romance reader will have seen coming, though Hannah does manage to dodge one cliche bullet in the resolution.

The ending drags somewhat as Annie tries to decide between new-old love and old-established love, between comfort and adventure, and between doing what's expected of her and doing what she really wants.