book review

Gone Away Lake

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"Gone-Away Lake" by Elizabeth Enright, is a delightful, beautifully written story.  A brother and sister from the city take the train to visit their country cousin. The children discover an old, mostly abandoned summer colony of houses near a swamp that used to be a lake. There, they meet another brother and sister team, Minnehaha Cheever and Pindar Paton. They are living happily  in the place where they spent their summers as children. The pair are out of a time machine. Not literally but nearly. The pair wear old-fashioned clothes stored away many years ago by their family. Each is a gardener,and  conservationist.  They have several gardens which they live off of, as well as having chickens, goats, a duck, and a cat named Fatly. Ms. Cheever is also an avid pickler and preserver. Once a month, Pindar cranks up the antique Franklin car and drives into town for supplies.

This is an intergenerational tale of brothers and sisters sharing a friendship of adventure and commradship, taking place over an imaginable summer. Interlinked with the tales of yore and the musings of today. Gone Away Lake is a wholesome tale of honesty, integrity, and plain and simple fun living.

Make sure not to miss the haunted house, the quick-sand pit, and of course the carved stone. This is a not to be missed story.

Something To Do Book Review:

Is there someplace by your home that you've always heard about but have never visited? After reading Gone Away Lake, I told my children about an abandoned vacation village way up in the Great Smoky Mountian National Park. Elkmont Village was once a great summer getaway. When Elkmont became part of the National Park system everyone had to leave. These homes have been vacated for years. Some of them still have household items inside. Currently, there is a restoration idea going a round to restore some of these cottages and the old hotel.

My kids were stunned. They've hiked in the Smokies tons of times but never knew of this secret and hidden village.

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It was while reading the book that this idea of discovering Elkmont Village came to mind. In fact, it was this quote:

""And their island had many things to offer besides the cottage: The woods that smelled so sweet; the pale little crowds of Indian pipes and the orange jack-o'-lantern mushrooms that pushed up the needles. There was a broken rowboat at the northwest end of the island, which could be used as a Lockheed F-90, a rocket ships, an atom-powered submarine, and sometimes even a rowboat."

Here's a little look at our discoveries and for more signs of our adventures have a look here.

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3 thoughts on “Gone Away Lake

  1. Love that! I found your blog somewhere along the way and am so happy to find great book ideas (as is my local mother-daughter book club, my mom, and my sister!). I would love to tromp around Elkmont village – wouldn’t it be great to go to a camp like that with all you friends/familY?????

  2. Your discovery is really cool! I love Great Smoky Mountain National Park…although next time we go we will enter from North Carolina to avoid the over commercialized Gatlinburg!

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