Post by Mark T. Locker.
Ahh, summertime. Or rather, ahh, summertime when you are a kid and have nothing to do but to run around and explore and discover. I love those old-fashioned stories of children embarking on summertime adventures, roaming around, unraveling mysteries, where parents are but a peripheral part of the tale. Upon hearing of my love for The Penderwicks, a librarian friend of mine suggested Gone-Away Lake published in 1958 by Newbery-winning author Elizabeth Enright.
Ten-year-old Portia Blake and her six-year-old brother Foster get to ride the train alone to visit their favorite cousin, Julian, and his family in Western New York. Portia and Julian quickly set off into the woods behind Julian’s new home and make amazing discoveries, including a row of abandoned once-beautiful homes on the shores of a bog which used to be a beautiful lake. To their delight and surprise, a pair of elderly siblings, who lived on the lake in its prime, have returned to the erstwhile lake and the children begin a summer of new friendships and new discoveries.
So much of this book is things that most parents today would NEVER allow their children to do: wandering off in the woods on their own; going into strangers’ homes; drinking homemade sherry at strangers’ homes! If this book were written today, the reader would be waiting to find out what horrific secrets the old lady and her brother were hiding. SPOILER ALERT: they’re not hiding anything. They’re just really nice people.
A lovely, fun, innocent book of childhood, summertime, and the passage of time.