Reading Wednesday

Book Review Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

I have read at least a half a dozen Ann Patchett novels over the years (she has 14 novels I think) and this one, Tom Lake, is my favorite by far. A beautiful story. Here is my book review Tom Lake by Ann Patchett.


I’ve been waiting for the first book to fall that really uses the pandemic and lockdown as part of the plot. Tom Lake does it effortlessly. Without drama or politics, the pandemic and the family bubble of the Nelson family during Covid, provides Patchett the perfect opportunity to unravel this tale.

Once Upon a Time

Northern Michigan in the spring of 2020 is about as far away from Hollywood and Movie Stars as you could get. But here we meet Lara and her three adult daughters. With husband Joe the family operates a cherry farm in Northern Michigan. The girls have returned to the nest during Covid, and together the family is desperately trying to get the cherries off the trees before fruit rots. This work, done all by hand, takes hours and hours, but gives the perfect opportunity for storytelling.

Daughters Emily, Maisie and Nel, each trying to find their own path in life, want to use the tedious time to hear their mother tell them the story of her brief time as an actress. And her brief time in a relationship with famous actor Peter Duke.


This is a story about family first and foremost. It’s a look at how our children often can’t see us as people, or understand who we were before we were their parents. It’s also a story about self-discovery, young love, youthful recklessness and true love. It’s a book that makes you think about hope and happiness, even during a historic period where it seemed the world was falling apart. One of the most charming parts of this book is the solid and sublime relationship Lara has with her husband Joe…even in the midst of her narrative to her daughter about her first love Peter Duke. Patchett’s remarkable talent pulls you into the affection and tenderness this family has for each other.


This book was one of my summer audible reads, in the car. Brilliantly narrated by none other than the incomparable Meryl Streep I highly recommend it as an audible. Although I’m sure it would be just as amazing on kindle or book in hand. Whichever you chose, read Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. One of my favorites of summer 2023.

Thank you for reading my book review Tom Lake by Ann Patchett.

*****Five stars for Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. Read last week’s book review The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

My current read The Furrows by Namwali Serpell

See this year’s Reading Round Up – My Favorite Books of the Year.

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