Dream Lake [Friday Harbor #3] by Lisa Kleypas

Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Platkus Books
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
They say that opposites attract. But what happens when one has been devastated by betrayal and the other is so jaded that his heart is made of stone? Enter the world of Friday Harbor, an enchanting town in the Pacific Northwest where things are not quite as they seem and where true love might just have a ghost of a chance….
Alex Nolan is as bitter and cynical as they come. One of the three Nolan brothers who call Friday harbor home, he’s nothing like Sam or Mark. They actually believe in love; they think the risk of pain is worth the chance of happiness. But Alex battles his demons with the help of a whiskey bottle, and he lives in his own private hell. And then a ghost shows up. Only Alex can see him, Has Alex finally crossed over the threshold to insanity?
Zoë Hoffman is as gentle and romantic as they come. When she meets the startling gorgeous Alex Nolan, all her instincts tell her to run. Even Alex tells her to run. But something in him calls to Zoë, and she forces him to take a look at his life with a clear eye and to open his mind to the possibility that love isn’t for the foolish.
The ghost has been existing in the half-light of this world for decades. He doesn’t know who he is, or why he is stuck in the Nolans’ Victorian house. All he knows is that he loved a girl once. And Alex and Zoë hold the key to unlocking a mystery that keeps him trapped here.
Zoë and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark, and sometimes love can reach beyond time, space, and reason to take hold of hearts that yearn for it…

Lisa Kleypas’ latest installment tells a story about love transcending time and death, love overcoming differences and love winning above all else.

The Gist:   Alex Nolan has been numb for most of his life. The scars of having lived through the horrors of having alcoholic parents were something he carried deeply. As a result, he made himself unavailable, cold, and emotionless to those close to him. After a disastrous marriage, it seemed that history was about to repeat itself. All he ever lived for was his next bottle of Jack. After yet another night of bingeing, he found himself haunted by a ghost; a ghost who seemed to see through his soul, a ghost with whom he had restlessness in common with. As if that wasn’t enough, a girl whom he had no business lusting after is also haunting his thoughts.
Zöe Hoffman has lived her whole life in a shell. Having the face of an angel with a body for sin, she’s learned to stay away from men in general – especially the likes of Alex Nolan. But there is something about him that calls to her on some deeper level. His broken nature pulls her harder than his physical beauty. All she ever wanted is to take care of him, feed him and love him. But Alex is determined to stay away.

Some say opposites attract, but these two are on different spectrums altogether. In the end, the push and pull between Zöe and Alex will either result in an explosive meeting in the middle or a heartbreaking time spent apart.

The Review: The books in this series are fast reads. They’re not slight by any means, but the stories that Lisa crafted have that discerning quality of having you wrapped around their fingers. You’ll sit there devouring the books until you realized four or five hours have gone by and there were no more stories to tell. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’ll stop thinking about the stories. More often, I find myself obsessing over the characters long after I’m done reading.

Dream Lake was a book that I’ve highly looked forward to ever since I discovered this series. You see, Alex Nolan is my favorite among the brothers. I just knew that his story will be heavier based on the few encounters I had with him from the previous books. I think that he’s scarred more than his brothers have been and as a result, he evoked more empathy from the readers. I think he’d been more affected by their family history because he was the youngest and since childhood was where we were the most vulnerable, Alex’s trauma was the hardest.
I love Zöe. She’s the sunlight to Alex’s dark nights. If you’ve ever met a person who has a perpetual smile on their face and who refused to see the glass half empty, then Zöe is that girl. She’s so kind and generous despite the fact that she sees the futility of loving someone unavailable. I love her relationship with her grandmother. Sometimes, I expected her to give up but she’s strong and ever dependable.

If you’re familiar with this series, you’d know that these books are just as mystical as they are romantic. The previous books are tampered with magic while this one has a ghost story to tell. Basically, Alex is being haunted by the ghost of Tom Findlay; a war vet killed when his plane was downed in China. His’ and Emma’s (Zöe’s grandmother) story was heartbreaking to say the least. But it is also hopeful and poignant because their love transcended time and death.

There’s also a brief insight on the subject of Alzheimer’s; a truly sad disease that makes us lose parts of ourselves that, at one point in our lives, we thought can never be stolen. I have never been thus, overcome with emotions while I read through Emma’s struggles to hold on to her memories.

Verdict: Dream Lake is touching, romantic and hopeful, as it is heartbreaking. It’s no wonder that Lisa is one of the most revered novelists of our time. She creates the most heartfelt stories that stay with her readers long after her books are shelved. This one, most especially, moved me in ways that no other romance books had ever done.

Memorable Quotes: (I don’t normally do this on my reviews, but these are just too good to pass up!)

“You are everything that’s ever been my favorite thing. You are my love song, my favorite cake, the sound of ocean waves and French words and a baby’s laugh. You are a snow angle, crème brulèe, a kaleidoscope filled with glitter. I love you and you’ll never catch up, because I’ve gotten a head start and my heart is racing at light speed.”

– Page 243

“There are worse things than having your heart broken. [Like] Never having it broken. Never giving in to love.”

– Page 244

“Sometimes, you could rescue a person from trouble. But some kinds of trouble a person had to rescue himself.”

– Page 182

“Sometimes silence was easiest when the only word left is goodbye.”

– Page 198

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