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book cover of Summers At Blue Lake

Summers At Blue Lake

A novel by

She thought that her family was an open book, without secrets. Even as a child, Barbara Jean Ellington knew her grandmothers were lesbians, a truth they never concealed. During BJ's summer vacations at their home on Blue Lake, Nonna and Lena taught her to swim and play cards, provided a lively contrast to BJ's conservative parents, and comforted BJ when her first summer romance ended abruptly and without reason. Now, years later, BJ seeks refuge in her late grandmothers' house in the wake of her husband's affair. As she relives the languid summer days of her youth and prepares the house for sale, she struggles to come to terms not only with the looming threat of divorce, but also with the Pandora's Box of family revelations she uncovers in Nonna's hidden notebooks. In them, she discovers a fifty-year family history littered with secrets from the past--secrets that have present day consequences for herself, her marriage, and for Travis, the boy who broke her heart during that long-ago summer.

With discerning prose and compelling characters, Summers at Blue Lake follows in the tradition of bestselling authors such as Anita Shreve, Elizabeth Berg, and Sue Miller.


"In Althouse-Wood's engaging novel, she alternates between past and present; gives BJ a fresh, honest voice; and beautifully develops the relationship between the grandmothers." ~Carolyn Kubisz, Booklist Review

"An engaging character study that alternates between the past and present, Summers at Blue Lake investigates how the actions of one generation can have consequences many decades later." ~Robert Francis, Aptos Times

"The author skillfully builds suspense... Characterization is exceptional... Spikes of humor, brilliant descriptive passages... all contribute to a memorable, thought-provoking novel." ~Barbara Johnson, Voya book reviews


Jill Althouse-Wood grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Delaware with a BFA in Fine Arts, Jill returned to Pennsylvania where she enjoyed a fifteen-year career as a textile designer.

Because design was her profession, Jill turned to writing for a creative release. Her novel Summers at Blue Lake, which was originally published by Algonquin in 2007, is the result. This is the first time it's available as an ebook.

After leaving the fabric industry, Jill resumed painting, and she also began using her experience in multiple art forms to teach workshops in journaling and creative thinking. She has designed and facilitated workshops for women's shelters, schools, health facilities, community centers, and Woman-to-Woman, a local event that benefits the YWCA and domestic violence services. Her art works have been exhibited across Pennsylvania in such places as Gallery Piquel in New Hope, Moondancer Winery in Wrightsville, and Red Raven in Lancaster's Gallery Row. Jill recently concluded a three-year term on the board of the Lancaster Literary Guild.

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Used availability for Jill Althouse-Wood's Summers At Blue Lake

Hardback Editions

August 2007 : USA Hardback

Title: Summers at Blue Lake
Author(s): Jill Althouse-Wood
ISBN: 1-56512-496-0 / 978-1-56512-496-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Audio Editions

October 2015 : MP3 CD

Title: Summers at Blue Lake
Author(s): Jill Althouse-Wood
ISBN: 1-5113-4356-7 / 978-1-5113-4356-5
Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

June 2013 : UK Audio edition

Title: Summers at Blue Lake
Author(s): Jill Althouse-Wood
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon UK   

Kindle Editions

November 2013 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Summers at Blue Lake
Author(s): Jill Althouse-Wood
Publisher: DCA, Inc.
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA