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Friday, September 18, 2020

From The Lake House by Kristen Rademacher (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Virtual Author Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for From The Lake House by author Kristen Rademacher!

Book Review

From The Lake House by Kristen Rademacher
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Format: Paperback - 256 pages
               Kindle - 1628 KB
               Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 978-1631528668
BNID: 978-1631528675
Genre: Memoir

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher / author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Virtual Author Book Tours.

Book Description:

Dizzy with grief after a shattering breakup, Kristen did what any sensible thirty-nine-year-old woman would do: she fled, abandoning her well-ordered life in metropolitan Boston and impulsively relocating to a college town in North Carolina to start anew with a freshly divorced southerner.

Dismissing the neon signs that flashed Rebound Relationship, Kristen was charmed by the host of contrasts with her new beau. He loved hunting and country music, she loved yoga and NPR; he worried about nothing, she worried about everything. The luster of her new romance and small-town lifestyle soon―and predictably―faded, but by then a pregnancy test stick had lit up. As Kristen’s belly grew, so did her concern about the bond with her partner―and so did a fierce love for her unborn child. Ready or not, she was about to become a mother. And then, tragedy struck.

Poignant and insightful, From the Lake House explores the echoes of rash decisions and ill-fated relationships, the barren and disorienting days an aching mother faces without her baby, and the mysterious healing that can take root while rebuilding a life gutted from loss.

Advance Praise:

“Over the course of this book, in well-structured, descriptive prose, Rademacher effectively leads readers through a gradually withering romantic relationship that culminates in a tragedy . . . Some of the most painful sections of the book are her loving letters to the little girl whom she held for but an hour, and whom she named Carly. It soon becomes clear that these missives helped to lead her back from a precipice of despair, so that she could finally face her future. A poignant and painful remembrance with comforting messages for the grieving.”- Kirkus Reviews

“Kristen Rademacher’s achingly honest memoir about her losses of place, partner, and much-anticipated baby daughter Carly resonates with courage and an abiding gratitude for the preciousness of life. A truly tender reflection about loss that illuminates the devastating experience of baby loss.”-Janel Atlas, writer and editor of They Were Still Born: Personal Stories about Stillbirth

“From the Lake House is an intimate, inspiring story of surviving in a world where blessings and tragedy walk hand in hand. Written with tender honesty and luscious language, it is a joy to read, even amidst the pangs of heartache and loss. As a bereaved mother, I found myself nodding in agreement with so many of Rademacher’s experiences of life after the death of a child . . . This book is for memoir-lovers and anyone who finds themselves in a turbulent relationship or who has said goodbye to a dearly loved child . . . Rademacher champions solitude for its healing capacities and the wholeness birthed from dogged, hard-earned resiliency. Perceptive and endearing, it is a moving saga of motherhood.”- Alexis Marie Chute, award-winning author of Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After Loss

“In this beautifully written and poignant memoir, we learn that though people and dreams die, relationships don’t. If we’re attuned, the dead can transform our lives, offering enduring love and guidance―and hope.”- Carol Henderson, author of Losing Malcolm: A Mother’s Journey Through Loss and Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers

Book Excerpt:

From the Lake House: A Mother’s Odyssey of Loss and Love by Kristen Rademacher

Excerpt from Chapter 17: Shells

As the shuttle van carried us from the airport to the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, I leaned my head against the window and stared out at the banyan trees, the pelicans, and the pink houses. My father had gifted Jason and me with a trip to a luxury resort in Florida with the goal to get away and start healing. But I’d packed my bag with hesitation. I’d hardly left my house since returning from the hospital a week earlier; how could I venture as far afield as an entirely different state?

We arrived on the sprawling grounds in the late afternoon and checked in to our spacious villa. From our screened-in porch we could see a dozen tennis courts nestled in the live oaks, and just beyond, the ocean.

“Pretty nice,” I said to Jason. He thumbed through the visitor’s guide in the wicker-filled living room, complete with seashell-filled lamp bases and star shell-themed pillows and throws. Now that I saw where we’d live for the next week, my worry about being far from home eased. I’d be okay.

I sat beside Jason and looked in the glossy brochure featuring photos of happy people playing golf, or swimming in one of the five pools, or getting massages in the spa. There were half a dozen restaurants, miles of beach, and cheerful red trolleys to take these smiling people from one venue to another. This trip must be costing my father a fortune. I doubted I’d ever stay in a place this ritzy again and wasn’t even sure I wanted to. Even if Jason and I had come here for a regular vacation, a financial impossibility, we likely had little in common with its guests.

“Let’s go see the beach,” Jason suggested.

We followed a lush path through the tennis courts that opened onto the chilly and windy beach. A balmy, sunny afternoon would have been nice, but it was January after all, Florida or not. The ocean always energized me, and the first moments on any beach delighted my senses: salty air, roaring surf, soft sand between my toes, and the vast expanse of sparkling water. Whether swimming through the waves on a hot summer day or walking the shore wrapped in fleece, I came alive at the beach. With Jason beside me, I removed my sneakers, let the salty spray splash against my ankles, and waited for that familiar feeling. I may as well have been at the mall. I felt nothing. A steely sky bled into the lead-hued water. Fellow tourists bundled up in sweatshirts were stooped along the
piles of shells dragged in by the tide, searching for treasures. The wind blew relentlessly, flicking my hair into my eyes and knocking seagulls off their spindly legs. I was tired and wanted my feet inside warm socks.

“It’s too cold,” I said. “Let’s go.”

Back at our place, Jason collapsed with eyes closed on the sofa while I unpacked the odd array of books we’d brought: humor (David Sedaris), home improvement (green building), and self- help (surviving infant death). In the bedroom, I pulled out my journal and wrote a few lines.

Where am I? Not home with my baby. I’m on an islandin Florida. Two weeks ago I was pregnant, waiting for labor. Now I’m at a resort with a sea-green plastic band around my wrist.

Jason and I eventually visited the nearby deli, ordered sandwiches for dinner, and brought them back to our villa.

“Want to watch TV?” Jason asked.

No, I thought. I hated the blare of TV, and hated in particular Jason’s style of watching, which was to cruise the channels interminably. I’d often complain how he wouldn’t commit to one show. Jason always promised he would, as soon as he found something good. He rarely did. But I was not about to have our same old, tired argument at the South Seas Resort.

“Watch anything you want,” I said, quickly tuned out, and buried my head in a USA Today crossword puzzle.

The next morning, like always, I awoke much earlier than Jason and tiptoed out of the bedroom. From the porch, I noticed vacationers strolling the perfectly manicured sidewalks. Their lean and fit bodies wore tennis and golf apparel: form-fitting colorful jackets, leggings and nylon sweatpants, caps, and unblemished athletic footwear. They held small gym bags and sipped from Styrofoam cups. Coffee. I threw on a sweatshirt and sneakers and grabbed my wallet.

The deli was bustling at seven thirty. After being surrounded by family and friends who had tended to me carefully and cautiously, I liked my newfound anonymity. I perused the menu among strangers as if I were just another wealthy woman vacationing. I wasn’t the woman whose baby had died, whose breasts were still leaking milk, or whose hips were still too full to fit into anything but stretchy pants or one pair of too large, shapeless jeans. I wasn’t the woman who was supposed to be caring for an infant and whose house was filled with baby gear waiting to be packed up. I wasn’t the woman who was ready to end her maternity leave early and return to work because what else was she supposed to do?

Here, I could pretend that my life was intact.

“I’ll take a hot buttered bagel”—I smiled openly at the barista as if I didn’t have a care in the world—“and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar.”

“Coming right up,” he said and smiled in return.

It worked. I could blend in, sound normal, stand in line with strangers, and order a cup of coffee.

I relaxed into a wicker chair on our porch with my drink, buoyed by my
successful solo jaunt. The ocean’s briny aroma wafted through the screen, and I could hear the rhythmic thump of tennis balls on the courts. I read the newspaper, knocked out another crossword puzzle, and started a new knitting project. I felt focused and calm as my needles clicked. Maybe the worst is over, I thought. Chapel Hill, the hospital, and the bassinet at home were all far away, and I couldn’t connect to any of it. Everyone is
expecting me to be weepy and wounded forever, but I am fine. I’m not so different from women who miscarry, and they aren’t crippled by sadness for the rest of their lives.


My Book Review:

From The Lake House is a compelling memoir that follows author Kristen Rademacher's heartwrenching journey of rebuilding her life after two failed relationships, and the devastating loss of her baby daughter, Carly.

Kristen takes the reader on an emotional journey as she recounts the choices and hardships that she went through in regard to her romantic relationships, and the difficult battle to heal and move forward after giving birth to her stillborn baby daughter.

From The Lake House is a beautifully written and very moving memoir that documents the very sobering struggle that Kristen endured while battling the traumatic loss of her baby daughter, and how she finally was able to move forward in her life, while holding the precious memory of Carly with her always. You can't help but feel compassion and empathy as Kristen's story unfolds, it will tug at your heartstrings as her account of this devastating loss changed her life.

From The Lake House is an amazing memoir that will tug at the heartstrings and stir the soul.


About The Author

Kristen Rademacher has lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina since 2002, which is when she began writing. FROM THE LAKE HOUSE is her first memoir. With a Master’s Degree in Education and a Professional Coaching Certification, Kristen is an Academic Coach and ADHD Specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also leads trainings and presentations at national conferences on the topic of academic coaching.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Contest Giveaway

Win A Copy Of 

From The Lake House

This giveaway is for 1 print copy for 3 winners and is open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends September 19, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Participants:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Aug 3 Kickoff
Lu Ann Rockin' Book Reviews Aug 4 Review
Andy Amazon Aug 5 Review
Dawn (Linda Lu) Bound4escape Aug 7 Guest Review
Betty Toots Book Reviews Aug 10 Review & Interview
Miller Amazon Aug 11 Review
Becky Sincerely Uplifting Aug 17 Review &  Excerpt
Penelope Amazon Aug 18 Review
Voni VonisView Aug 20 Review
Bee Book Pleasures Aug 21 Review
Amber Amazon Aug 24 Review
Kathleen (Gud Reader) Celticlady's Reviews Aug 25 Guest Review & Interview
Denise Amazon Aug 26 Review
Bookgirl Goodreads Aug 28 Review
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Sept 8 Review
Amy Locks, Hooks and Books Sept 10 Review & Excerpt
Kathleen Jersey Girl Book Reviews Sept 18 Review & Excerpt


  1. I am so glad you enjoyed 'From the Lake House'! Thanks for hosting!

    1. Hi Teddy Rose! Thank you for the opportunity to feature the book on my blog. This was an emotional memoir that touched my soul. :)