The Inn at Lake Devine (1999)

by Elinor Lipman

If anyone can find humor in bigotry, it’s Elinor Lipman. The Inn at Lake Devine is romantic comedy with a serious theme.

In the early 1960s, teenage Natalie Marx’s Jewish family inquires about a stay at the Inn at Lake Devine and is told, “Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are gentiles.'' On a crusade from then on, Natalie worms an invitation to join a campmate’s family at the inn two years later. Many years later, after graduating from college and cooking school, she is invited to the friend’s wedding at the inn. A tragedy keeps Natalie there for days, during which she and the owner’s son fall in love, leading to her ultimate revenge.

Lipman’s tone is breezy and satirical. The characters are vividly drawn, especially spunky, sarcastic Natalie; her improbably matched parents; the haughty Ingrid Berry, the inn’s proprietor; and Ingrid’s son and Natalie’s love Kris, a guy who’d capture most any woman’s heart.

Lipman’s humorous novels have a large fan following, and many consider The Inn at Lake Devine her best.


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