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The Inn at Lake Divine [Paperback]

Elinor Lipman
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1998
It's 1962 and all across America barriers are collapsing. But when Natalie Marx's mother inquires about summer accommodations in Vermont, she gets the following reply: The Inn at Lake Devine is a family-owned resort, which has been in continuous operation since 1922. Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles. For twelve-year-old Natalie, who has a stubborn sense of justice, the words are not a rebuff but an infuriating, irresistible challenge.

In this beguiling novel, Elinor Lipman charts her heroine's fixation with a small bastion of genteel anti-Semitism, a fixation that will have wildly unexpected consequences on her romantic life. As Natalie tries to enter the world that has excluded her--and succeeds through the sheerest of accidents--The Inn at Lake Devine becomes a delightful and provocative romantic comedy full of sparkling social mischief.  

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (31 Dec 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037570485X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375704857
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,108,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'If Jane Austen had been born two centuries earlier, gone to Smith, then palled around with Fran Lebowitz, chances are she'd have written like Elinor Lipman. Lipman is one of the last urbane romantics.' -- Chicago Tribune --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'The sort of novelist you want to tell your friends about' The Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem of a book 18 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I continue to be shocked that anyone could have anything bad to say about 'The Inn at Lake Devine'. I absolutely adore it -- I pick it up whenever I'm stressed or in a bad mood and it never fails to make me feel better. Ms. Lipman is a marvelous writer, and comparisons to Jane Austen are certainly well-founded. It was solid throughout with excellent characters and a great plot. There truly is nothing better than a revenge comedy. This is an excellent book, and I would recommend it to anyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elinor Lipman's done it again 5 Aug 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I'm an Elinor Lipman fan but was disappointed by "Isabel's Bed," and didn't find the summary of "The Inn at Lake Devine" all that compelling. But I ended up reading this little trifle of a book in one sitting--laughing out loud on occasion. It's a great light read with some interesting points about society and prejudice, and a cute little love story you root for besides. My reservations are that the adult Robin isn't more developed, and the anti-Semitic innkeeper's views aren't explained in more depth. But maybe the latter is the point--many of these attitudes develop without people realizing them or recognizing that they're wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and Rewarding 26 July 2006
Format:Paperback
I just wanted to add my vote of support for this wonderful comic novel. Dismissals of The Inn at Lake Devine as "fluff" are, I think, unwarranted. Comedy is really hard to write. People often dismiss books they've read quickly, but presumable they're read quickly for a reason: they're enjoyable. And The Inn at Lake Devine is not just enjoyable, but well written.

The plot does indeed follow the precepts of a traditional romance, what with lovers from different backgrounds overcoming parental disapproval, but I've never read a comedy about prejudice with such style and wit. And Natalie Marx is a fantastic heroine -- indignant and self righteous, with just enough self awareness and eye for detail to make the whole thing a delight. Highly recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars heartbreaking and hilarious 30 Aug 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I'm having a hard time understanding the comments put forth here about a truly wonderful and brilliant book, one I've been buying up and giving to friends and relatives, by the way. I have been a longtime fan of Ms. Lipman's, having fallen in love with her sublime wit and social commentary years ago, and I feel that THE INN is by far her best book because it moves beyond anything she's done before. Like the best works of art, it is a nimble balance of the heartbreaking and the hilarious, with characters so well-drawn, so fully detailed and so capivatingly complex that they were indelible. Ms. Lipman's sense of time and place were so real as to be palpable--in part because she's such a master of the subtle detail...i.e. the Papagallo shoes and of course the Catskill suppers complete with flanken for the table! Robin not fully drawn? Balderdash! If she wasn't, then why was I so upset when she disappeared from these pages? Some readers said the book was predictable. Again, I am dumbfounded. I felt THE INN moved from one surprise to another, culminating in an ending I certainly didn't see coming. And I disagree totally with one reader who said the message was simply "Love Conquers All" and would advise that reader to take another look and discover the richness he missed. All's well that ends well?--not for every character in the book. Look again. In this novel beats a complex, complicated heart, one that says much about the nature of tolerance, guilt, hatred and yes--love, too. THE INN was exquisitly written, subtle, surprising--and important. I can't wait to see what Ms. Lipman will do next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jewish versus Gentile - a love story 5 July 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
As a society we are divided by class, religion and color. Whenever we try to intermingle any of these differences in personal relationships it is, often times, met with disapproving attitudes by others. And eventhough we may be reminded, justifiably so, by the holocaust or by slavery our nation still discriminates, still judges. Elinor Lipman in her novel, "The Inn at Lake Devine" writes with great wit and humor about the great divide between Jews and Gentiles. Ms. Lipman's story centers around a hotel in Vermont in the 60's that flatly states they do not accept Jews as guests. The main character, Natalie Marx, challenges the hotels policy and after meeting a gentile friend at summer camp, whose family spends each summer at the Inn, invites herself to vacation there with her friends family (as that is the only way she can "legally" get into the Inn). Natalie's eyes are widened even further after witnessing the owners and their family during that vacation. Years later she returns to the Inn to attend the wedding of her summer camp friend where unforeseen circustances occur and relationships develope between Natalie and the innkeepers 2 sons. Interestingly, Ms. Lipman takes the action to the Catskills, where the tables are now turned as the Jews talk about the Gentiles. All of this is done with great style and wit by Ms. Lipman and she never judges anyone so that we dislike them. Instead, Ms. Lipman allows us to observe the inner-workings of our society and how we, as a whole, can improve all our lives together. What happens to Natalie, the owners 2 sons and the Inn will have to be discovered by the reader. In the meantime, buy Ms. Lipman's novel - she addressess a subject worth writing about and delivers it humorously and professionally.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars This was really enjoyable and quick and easy to read
This was really enjoyable and quick and easy to read, as many others have noted. I did get sucked in a bit and enjoyed the Jewish storyline- my husband is Jewish and I'm not so can... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Finnea C.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inn at Lake Devine
I borrowed this from the library. I loved it. I bought various copies via Amazon and gave it to friends for Christmas. That's it really. Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2011 by Ms. A. G. Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inn at Lake Devine
Don't be put off by some of the covers on some editions, she's a great writer and the characters are wonderful. Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and undemanding
Our book group enjoyed this book, but it did not generate a very long discussion. We found it a gentle and undemanding story about realistic, nice people. Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read - it was like a Mills and Boon romance.
I had read several very good reviews of this book and bought it as soon as it came out in paperback. However, I found it very disappointing. Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A serious subject covered in an entertaining way.
I got this book as I'd heard about it on the radio. Addressing the subject of anti-semitism and discrimination by means of a gripping story is quite a feat. Read more
Published on 4 Sep 2000 by C. Walls
1.0 out of 5 stars not much substance...
An extremely superficial read. The comparison to Jane Austin was a stretch. I guess I was fooled and might have been more leary of the book if the cover was more appropriately... Read more
Published on 9 Aug 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Positively delightful book!
This is my favorite Lipman novel so far. Definitely has the most substance of all of them. Great characters, great story. You won't be able to put down this book. Read more
Published on 29 July 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars A strong, original start degenerates into superficial cliche
I am an enthusiastic Elinor Lipman fan, and while I read this book in one day, I agree with the other readers who say it fell off after the little girl grows up. Read more
Published on 21 July 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and breezy read
This is a great summer book -- not too demanding and tremendously entertaining, with a serious subject at its core. Natalie Marx is smart and funny, and a wise guy, to boot. Read more
Published on 4 July 1999
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