Barbara Delinsky has moved away from her romance roots, but not too
far. While her new release Lake News tends in its subject matter
and format to be more of a “mainstream” novel than a traditional
romance, it does contain a delightful love story which should make this
book an enjoyable read for Delinsky’s many fans.
The subject matter is both timely and important. Lake News deals
with the damage that a runaway and irresponsible press can do to an
innocent person caught in one of its feeding frenzies.
The story begins in the small town of Lake Henry, New Hampshire. John
Kipling had come home to be editor of the local newspaper, after his
successful career as a journalist at a major Boston newspaper turned
sour. A story he pursued with all the required gusto resulted in the
destruction and suicide of a prominent politician. John later
discovered that a rival reporter had set him up with false information.
John is happy to have returned to the lovely town and its beautiful
lake; he enjoys the slower pace with time out to watch the loons who
make Lake Henry their home. But, like most journalists, he dreams of
writing a book that will make him famous.
Imagine John’s surprise when his rival calls him for information about
one of the town’s former residents, Lily Blake, the daughter of one of
the town’s prominent families. Terry Sullivan claims he wants the
information for one of his friends who is dating Lily. John smells a
rat and refuses to cooperate.
The scene shifts to Boston. Lily Blake had left Lake Henry at eighteen
to pursue a singing career. She had studied music in college and at
Julliard and although she is a talented singer and pianist, she had
never made the big time. But Lily is happy with her life. She teaches
music at a private school and every evening, she sings and plays the
piano at one of Boston’s best private clubs. She has met and made
friends with a lot of well known people, including Bishop Francis
Rosetti, the newly appointed archbishop of the Boston diocese, soon to
be elevated to cardinal.
Terry Sullivan has been pestering her for an interview; he claims he is
doing a series on local entertainers. One evening, after “Fr. Fran” had
joined Lily for an impromptu duet at the club, Sullivan insists on
walking Lily home. He brings the conversation around to her friendship
with the new archbishop. The next morning, Lily wakes up to headlines
claiming that she is the archbishop’s mistress.
What follows is painful to read. The press, in all its gory glory,
descends on Lily, pries into her life, misinterprets her actions, hounds
her continually, and literally destroys her. Lily flees to the
sanctuary of Lake Henry and the small cottage her grandmother left
John realizes that Lily has been set up and is appalled at what the
press has done to her. But he also sees a chance to write that book.
He approaches her, gradually overcomes her understandable hostility,
and, in the process, they fall in love. Suddenly, the book seems less
important than justice for Lily.
There is much more to Lake News than the love story and the story
of Lily’s plight. Both John and Lily have serious issues to work out
with their respective parents, issues that continue to haunt them. The
troubled family dynamics of both the Blake and the Kipling families
provide an added dimension to the story.
Delinsky is marvelously evocative as she describes both the setting and
the people of Lake Henry. Her word pictures of the lake in autumn are
so well drawn that the reader can see its serene beauty and hear the
cries of the loons as they prepare for the migration south. Likewise,
Delinsky creates a vivid set of secondary characters, the people of the
town who distrust outsiders and who protect their own.
Lake News is a compelling book. It deals with an important and
topical issue and does a superb job of describing the dangers of an
irresponsible press which vilifies a person on page one and prints an
apology on page ten. Lake News is also a romantic book. Lily
and John are characters who find love in the most unlikely
Barbara Delinsky honed her writing skills in the romance genre and
although she has “crossed over” into the mainstream, she has not lost
her romantic sensibilities. Her fans who have followed her from
categories to single titles to hardback will not be disappointed with
Lake News. This is a very fine book.