Haven Lake. Holly Robinson. Penguin Group (USA). April 2015. 464 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9780451471499.
Sydney Bishop is a successful child psychologist who finds herself in the oddest of conundrums. Newly returned to the area many hours from her hometown after a series of family tragedies, she is engaged to a renowned surgeon who gives his all to his job but seems remote from his teenage son, Dylan. Hannah’s in a difficult position, trying to be friendly to Dylan as a future stepmother and not expecting to exert parental discipline. Unknown to Sydney, Dylan is angry and confused about a loss he has recently undergone and feels no one at home can truly understand what he’s going through. So he packs up and decides to head elsewhere where he can start anew and learn a computer profession in order to get a job and support himself. He thinks he’s an independent soul but has no idea of the difficult journey he is about to begin.
Dylan winds up at Sydney’s mother’s home in Haven Lake where he reluctantly agrees to stay a few days. Hannah is not your typical mother and allows Dylan space to make his own decisions, not realizing how complex it will all get when his mother arrives. In the midst of all the tension with her mother and Dylan, the secrets and feelings about the deaths in their family are gradually revealed, sometimes with harshness and sometimes with heartbreaking gentleness and sorrow.
Holly Robinson depicts family life with all of its unpredictability and tension-riddled moments with accuracy and sensitivity. No stereotypical characters reside in her story and misunderstandings galore fill these pages, as well as the words said with powerful emotional and mental ramifications. Secrets not only protect some characters but also initially keep a dysfunctional family from being torn apart, at least temporarily.
Forgiveness is never easy and the reader will be waiting for a satisfactory end but be quite surprised by the way it all evolves and concludes.
Very nicely done, Holly Robinson!