The Lake House
by Kate Morton
October 20, 2015
Hardcover & eBook
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
Kate Morton is one of my favorite contemporary female writers. After falling in love with The Forgotten Garden, I have read all her other books. I have organized a read-along for The House at Riverton and reviewed here The Distant Hours and The Secret Keeper. She is one of the rare authors I will read blindly, whatever she writes, without a peak at the synopsis or reviews.
So I am thrilled to present to you today her latest novel, The Lake House.
It has all the elements of Morton’s novels, smartly arranged together.
As I have written here somewhere before, Morton manages to keep the same ingredients from one book to the next, without giving you the feeling of déjà vu. Not everyone has that skill!!
So as in other books by this author, you have several time periods and places, with back and forth movements and intersection in the narration:
- Cornwall 1932-1933: The Edevane family
- Cornwall 2003: Sadie
- London 200: the author Alice and her assistant
- Flashbacks to the 1910s and the 1930s, focusing on the past history of the main characters, on how they met, and highlighting the effects of war on the soldiers and their families
There are also several stories and groups of characters involved, and they connect:
- The Edevane mystery
- The Bailey mystery
- Sadie’s own life
Sadie, a young detective, is having a hard time in her family and in her profession: in the last case she worked on, Sadie suspected foul play and contacted the medias about it, as the police thought there was really nothing serious going on.
To avoid being suspended from her work, she is asked to go away from London for a while, the time things cool down. She decides to spend some time in a remote area in Cornwall, at her grand-father’s who raised her actually.
As she goes out for a walk, she stumbles upon an old abandoned house. Curious, she gets help from a local librarian and discovers something terrible happened there decades earlier: during a Midsummer Eve’s party, Theo, the baby boy of the family, disappeared. He has never been found, and the police never found out what happened to him. So Sadie tries to reopen the case and figure it out.
This is as much a historical novel (all the passages on the war) as a mystery, with two cases to solve, and many family secrets. The Edevane mystery offers numerous leads (you first think you got it, and then new leads keep multiplying – how does Kate Morton do it?!) and red-herrings, though I have to say I did see the end coming, probably from being quite familiar with the author’s style, so chapter 33 was not a surprise to me.
The book does open like a thriller: by night, in the rain, a young woman is secretly digging a hole in the forest. She is burying the evidence of something she has done…
Descriptions in Morton’s book are always so wonderful, both bucolic and spooky, for instance as she describes the Edevane property and the woods. She can be funny too, and quite specific, for instance in the presentation of characters (I have grand-mother Constance especially in mind.)
It was also neat to see the essential place in the plot given to journals, letters, old maps, and even a mystery series written by a key character.
The reader will be rewarded by a happy ending, but at the price of a lot of drama and a torturous suspense at times.
EN DEUX MOTS :
Kate Morton a le chic de répéter sa formule de livres sans jamais répéter ses histoires. Toujours à la frontière entre roman historique et mystère, elles sont uniques. Elles vous envoûtent par le choix des mots, par l’ambiance, et vous poussent néanmoins à tourner les pages pour découvrir les liens inattendus entre les personnages et les différents niveaux du récit. Un délice.
VERDICT: The Lake House highlights Kate Morton’s usual style, at the intersection between historical fiction and mystery, in all its greatness. The words make you want to linger on each and the plot makes you turn the pages.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets.
Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…
One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.
Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.
A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | GOOGLE PLAY | ITUNES | INDIEBOUND | POWELL’S
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specializing in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary Gothic novels.
Kate Morton has sold over 7.5 million copies in 26 languages, across 38 countries. Her novels include The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, and The Secret Keeper.
You can find more information about Kate Morton and her books at www.katemorton.com or www.facebook.com/KateMortonAuthor
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Sounds like a good book, I particularly like that it is strong descriptively I love books with evocative descriptions. 🙂
then Kate Morton is definitely an author you should try!
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I think you nailed it on the head – she’s great at keeping the same elements from book to book while changing things up. I had a hard time with the mystery writing in this one but I’m still a loyal Morton fan (even if this was my least favorite!).
I have to admit, even ME, I guessed the ending from miles away, and I’m usually not that good at guessing
Thanks, Emma. I’ll look out for a copy of this one to read after The Forgotten Garden. Really enjoyed reading your reviews on both these books.
The Forgotten Garden is still my favorite. and her latest one, I didn’t like at all