Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (Literary Fiction)

I love Ann Patchett’s books. The reflective, perfectly paced books focus on life and the intricate intersections between characters that give life its shape. This story follows Lara along a dual timeline. In the present, she is the mother of three grown daughters, each pursuing different interests — one will take over the orchard Lara and her husband run in Northern Michigan; one will be a vet; and one longs to be an actress. The narrative takes a jump backwards as she tells her daughters the story of her pre-orchard life. Some parts are stories well loved and often told, others have not been told before, and a few are only whispered in her own mind (and — obviously — to us).

This previous life features Lara the actress — once on the fast track to fame and glory. The threads come together beautifully, as always — Patchett is a master of her craft. The stories don’t really go the way you would imagine because life never does. No twisty surprises, just different paths taken, each a result of experiences and self insight. I was completely drawn in from page one and never felt like stopping. Would happily befriend her whole family.

Thank you to Harper and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on August 8th, 2023

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