on 18 August 1999
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.
on 5 August 1998
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.
on 26 July 2006
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
on 30 June 2014
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 relate to a lot of the bits. However, I just found that it only really touched very lightly both on the religious issues and even the love story. Better than too much melodrama, but I wanted it to get a bit, I don't know...grittier or something. This was my first Elinor Lipman, so perhaps that's just her stuff. I enjoyed this enough though that I would try some others.
on 24 February 2011
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. Well, she writes so well, not at all a chicklit book, nothing is predictable, but all the essential stuff is positive and KIND. She is such a good writer, I have read many of her books now, and they are all in the same vein - I feel involved when I read them, also happier. She knows the faults and she knows the good stuff about people, and as I say she and her characters aren't predictable. I hope you enjoy her books as much as I have enjoyed them,.
on 4 July 1999
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. This is not a demanding or challenging book, but if you want to pass the time being entertained (and laugh out loud a number of times), this is the book for you!
on 29 July 1999
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. Lipman is without a doubt the modern day Jane Austen.
on 30 August 1998
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.
on 5 July 1998
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.
on 23 August 1998
Having read all of Elinor Lipman's previous works, I came to this one expecting a certain quality. Lipman maintains her deft touch of humorous realism, yet this latest novel falls a bit short of her others. Readers will quickly skim through this enjoyable read, but provoking thought, or even much emotion, is not high on this book's goals. This creates a disappointingly neutral distance between the reader and the main characters. The romance between Natalie and the youngest Berry boy is pleasant enough, but what happened to the romantic, undiscussed, tension between Natalie and his older brother? How did the Berry boys happen to never have picked up on their mother's anti-Semitism? And why the heck did Nelson even want to marry Robin "bland girl" Fife?!? These and many other questions arise during a reading of The Inn at Lake Devine. Unfortunately, though Lipman (and the reader, for that matter) clearly enjoys her story and characters, there are too many unanswered questions for this to be a completely absorbing, fulfilling read.