Top critical review
Frothy comedy sparks interest, but little thought
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.