Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman


Natalie Marx is just a kid in 1962, looking forward to a family vacation. When her parents call up the Inn at Lake Devine, they quickly are turned away for being Jewish. Her parents move past it but Natalie can't. She needs to see this place and learn why the inn-keeper acts the way she acts. Eventually, Natalie gets an invite with a friend when her friend's family is going for a summer vacation there. At first, the inn-keeper doesn't realize that Natalie is Jewish and she really enjoys her time, including getting friendly with the children of the owners. But eventually the owner finds out and the reception is much cooler.

As Natalie grows older, the inn stays in the back of her mind. Eventually she runs in to the friend that invited her on that family holiday to find out she is engaged to the eldest son of the owners. Natalie finds herself back up at this inn and the owner is no nicer than she was in the past.

Despite the racial undertones of this entire book, it really is a romance. There are a couple of relationships focused on in the book, though obviously Natalie's is the focus. It's not a typical romance that's sappy in nature but a pretty relaxed and gentle romance.

This was an easy book to read. The characters were well flushed out and felt real. When the antisemitism issue was finally addressed it was a bit underwhelming, but the rest of the book made up for it.

First Line: "It was not complicated, and, as my mother pointed out, not even personal: They had a hotel; they didn't want Jews; we were Jews. "