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Tuesday, November 8, 2022
About the Book
Book: Deep End of the Lake
Author: Carol Grace Stratton
Genre: Women’s Contemporary Inspirational Fiction
Release date: March, 2021
Life looks great for Ally Cervantes. She has a gig with the paper in Lake Surrender, two adorable kids, and is marrying camp director Will Grainger in a few months. What could go wrong? Her optimistic side assures her she can juggle it all, especially her new custom cake business.
But typical, Ally bites off more than she can chew. Her dream job as a reporter is turning into the treadmill she left when downsized from a prestigious publishing company in Northern California. Now she covers everything from a contentious school board meeting to the new dog food store in town. Oh to have a day off. But she is bound to prove her worth as a writer even as Janice, the know-it-all office manager, scrutinizes her every move.
Her home front isn’t much better. Benjie, a 7-year old on the spectrum has a penchant for squirrels, tantrums and running off at school. But Will has a way with him and can already see changes in Benjie as he bonds with the boy.
Kylie, her precocious thirteen year old is another story She’s trying to wedge herself in-between Will and her mother, obvious she doesn’t want her mother to remarry. And worse still, she’s discovered boys – the kind that drive cars.
When Will hints at Kylie’s resistance to the upcoming marriage, Ally blows him off. Will, being a camp director, hears things about Kylie but Ally is in no mood to listen. When he confronts her on Kylie’s doings around town, Ally takes offense. Blending this family together is like mixing half dried cement. The tension builds between them as he seeks out God’s will for his life. Has he taken on too much? A side of him reminisces about his ex-fiancé. Sarah, a quiet, calm woman doesn’t have a tangled mess for a life.
It’s only through a near tragedy and coming close to losing Will, that Ally, a new believer, realizes what it means to trust God for her future. Her aunt reminds her “When you’re swimming in the deep end of the lake you’d better know how to swim.”
Carol has published three books through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas: Changing Zip Codes, Lake Surrender and Deep End of the Lake. Her first novel, Lake Surrender, won a 2016 Illumination Award Medal for Inspirational/Romance Fiction and was chosen as one of the top favorite books for Prismatic Prospects blog in 2015 as well as being a finalist for Serious Writer’s Book of the Decade.
Her work has appeared in a Guideposts book anthology, with credits from Focus on the Family online, CBN online, the MOPs website, In Touch and Your Church magazines. Carol was a reporter for the Mooresville Weekly for two and a half years with over 500 articles to her credit. She speaks to MOPS groups, has taught at writing conferences, and has had a blog for twelve years (carolgstratton.com).
Although born on the West Coast, she lived in the Midwest for years and now lives with her literary muse husband in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she diddles around on a mandolin, plays with eight grand kids and encourages new writers. Her most recent book, Deep End of the Lake, is a sequel to Lake Surrender and is a Golden Scroll winner.
More from Carol
Camps are in my blood.
I committed my life to Christ at a Young Life camp, kissed my husband-to-be (for the first time) at Mt. Hermon and worked at two summer camps as a college student. Experiences like standing under a giant California redwood tree in the rain or hiking in the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains with a backpack shaped my early life and unleashed in me a love for God and His creation.
The tradition continued with all four of my children attending Bair Lake Bible Camp in Michigan when they were growing up. Experiencing camp helped them grow in their Christian life while having a blast water skiing, hiking and boating. They still talk about the experiences.
Now my grandchildren have discovered camp life. Fresh from their first experience, my grandsons shared stories of the 48 foot tall, (“Not just forty but forty-eight feet, Gammi.” they corrected me) climbing wall and the WATER BLOB a camper could jump onto to catapult their friend into the lake. So when I hunted a setting for my story, a summer camp seemed the perfect fit. Why, of course, send Ally Cervantes to work at a camp.
Because at camp, magical things happen.
We can make lifelong friends at a camp, commune with nature, and most of all connect with the God of the Universe. At summer camp you and I drop all pretenses of our normal life. Suddenly we find ourselves singing ridiculously silly songs around a campfire, and there’s no other world that exists at that moment besides friends, fresh s’mores, a smoky fire and a lumpy sleeping bag. But in the midst of the fun we mull over life’s important issues while trudging through dusty hiking trails or having a whispered late night conversation on the cabin porch with our new best friend.
Best of all, God shows up, knowing He can get our attention. Suddenly our mind becomes aware there is more to life than getting good grades, finding the right boyfriend, and discovering that perfect career. At camp we shift into slow gear and listen to our Heavenly Father say, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Ah, what a life.
After finishing this book I am exhausted. Ally is one overcommitted person and I don’t think I would ever be able to keep up with her. She writes for a newspaper, has a teen daughter with an attitude and a son who has autism. She is also trying to plan her wedding while dealing with a certain person in her office who maybe is a little jealous of her.
I loved the setting of a small town and how it felt like a great place to raise a family. Will is a wonderful character and I like how patient he is with Ally. Or is he? Receiving a phone call from his ex fiancé may bring up old feelings for him. It is a unsettling situation for him when Ally continues to not make him a priority? I can see why he gets frustrated when she cancels plans with him and doesn’t listen when he tries to warn her about her daughter making bad choices when it comes to friends.
The story explores how easy our life can get out of control and before we know it we find ourselves in the deep end. Can Ally find her way back to the shallow end and allow God to help her? I’ve been thinking lately that I an struggling with my faith. Yes I have admitted it on paper now. I feel like Ally in the deep end and am drowning in life. What I learned from this story is how we get so caught up in things that we forget to include God in everything. Ally sees herself losing control and knows the only way to survive is to let go and let God.
I loved the ending and how the author shows how important communication and honesty is between people. We have to let go of our pride and admit when we are wrong and struggling. Ally and Will are a great example of giving their problems to God and trusting Him to work things out.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.