Friday, October 15, 2010

10/10/10 Reviews: #5 – Lake News

Book Review 5: Lake News by Barbara Delinsky

Lily Blake is a nightclub singer and music teacher at a private school. When her friendship with a priest who becomes a Cardinal gets picked up by a shady reporter with a vendetta and reported as an affair, she is suddenly swamped by the press and loses both jobs. She flees from NY to her little hometown of Lake Henry, Vermont. In an ironic twist, her biggest ally comes in the form of John Kipling, a former NY reporter who has his own grudge against the man who slandered Lily.

I picked this one up recently because it seems much like what I write: a cultural story with literary elements and a very strong romantic line. Also, it reflects the same theme as my Off The Moon: media invasion and making up stories to sell papers, turning average people into ‘monsters’ in order to propel themselves, regardless of ethics and truth.

Lake News does have something to say. Along with the media issue, the story line revolves heavily on family relations and how parenting, or lack of, affects children’s lives over the long run. It doesn’t blame parents, however; it shows the vicious cycle of generation upon generation. It makes readers stop and think about how what they say or don’t say makes their children feel, how misunderstandings so easily mess up lives. 

Overall, it was a nice read, although there was too much repetition of thoughts and I couldn’t quite buy the premise. Would the media really stalk and hound some nightclub singer relentlessly for days because of a supposed affair with a Cardinal? Sexual indiscretions these days are pretty well just glossed over. Would that singer, who lives in NYC, after all, and fends for herself on a daily basis, so easily crawl back home and hide instead of just saying, “No, it’s not true. He lied and I’ll sue if he doesn’t retract the story”? Lawsuits come easily these days, as well. Would a nightclub fire their star singer when she’s bringing in more business? I can’t see it. Something didn’t sit well in the scenario Barbara Delinsky creates.

I did enjoy the character of John and would have liked to have been in his POV more often, and less in Lily’s. There are some nice supporting characters -- in particular, Lily’s sister, Poppy. It ends as a romance ends, with everything prettily bow-tied. But I think the strongest upside to the book is the family relationship perspective. I give Delinsky kudos for that.
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Music Review: Messenger, Edwin McCain

I loved the song “I’ll Be” when I first heard it on the radio some years back, but I didn’t think far beyond that. And then the radio station I listened to at the time had him on as a guest. He had nothing with him but his acoustic guitar and sang “I’ll Be” and another song or two, completely acoustic. Wow, his voice grabbed me. Some artists – and everyone knows this is true – need studio help to sound really good. McCain just sounds really good.

Messenger is very acoustic-sounding all the way through. It’s not, other than “I’ll Be” but it has that feel because his voice easily stands out above the music, which is also gorgeous. There’s no covering up or hiding behind production. It’s real. And the songs are as lyrically beautiful and musically.  “Prayer to St. Peter” is a stirring tribute to those who have died in war, again only McCain and his guitar. It doesn’t need anything else. The songs that do have fuller instrumental sound are a nice treat, as well.

Highly recommended.
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Movie Review: Lady Jane (1986)

Yes, I only watched this recently. It’s a beautiful film and wonderful story, acted well. There was much to think about as regards religion, politics, treachery, and loyalty. Of course, history has been blatantly disregarded in Lady Jane, which I tend not to like. To me, a historical fiction should at least keep the facts straight when using actual historical characters. Otherwise, create your own characters based on real characters, and make it true fiction.

That said, it was charming, captivating, and thoughtful. Well recommended.
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Legal Note: No review was requested or compensated.


Celia Yeary said...

Loraie--Lake News is not new book, is it? I haven't found anything new by BD in a long while. Your review made sense--events that didn't add up. I read her books many years ago, and enjoyed them for the most part. Her writing style might put someone else to sleep, but I don't need wild excitement on every page. Good review. Celia

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Celia, no it's not new. I just found her recently when our book club read The Secret Between Us. I found the premise of that one a bit hard to believe, as well.

Her style is nice: casual and paced well. I have a couple more of hers here because I grabbed them during a clearance sale. Maybe I'll get to them eventually. ;-)