Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Lake House

Title:  The Lake House
Author:  Kate Morton
Publication Information:  Atria Books. 2015. 512 pages.
ISBN:  1451649320 / 978-1451649321

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Shelf Awareness.

Opening Sentence:  "The rain was heavy now and the hem of her dress was splattered with mud."

Favorite Quote:  "A person never forgets the landscape of their childhood."

Kate Morton specializes in secrets - layers upon layers of secrets that slowly peel back like the layers of an onion to ultimately reveal the heart of the story. She is also masterful at drawing a beautiful, mysterious setting around the secrets. This book is no different. At the heart of this book is Loeanneth, the at-one-time-lovely-but-now-empty-and-atmospheric Lake House.

The secrets of this book traverse from the early 1900s to 2003. Most center on the Edevane family, the owners of the Lake House. Stumbling upon and researching those secrets is police detective Sadie Sparrow. Yes, that is actually her name. Yes, she is a police detective with plenty of secrets and mysteries of her own.

She comes to Cornwall on leave from her job. The leave is forced because of her handling of a case. Secret #1. She is also troubled by a letter she carries around. Secret #2. She stumbles upon the Lake House and is immediately intrigued. A child - the youngest of the Edevane children - disappeared there years ago. The case was never resolved. Secret #3. This secret triggers the detective in her and gives her a focus away from her own troubles.

Sadie's own story continues as a sideline throughout the book and reaches a resolution by the end. However, secret #3 - What happened to Theo Edevane becomes the anchor of the book. Leading to it and stemming from it are a whole host of other secrets in the Edevane family closet. The narrative chases these other secrets, going from person to person and time period to time period. Some are predictable, and some are a complete surprise. Some are a key to what happened, and some just seem to add volume to the story.

The story is not chronological but episodic, gradually revealing pieces of different secrets that all come together in the end to answer the question of what happened to Theo. Sadie in 2003. Alice Edevane, Theo's sister and now prolific mystery writer, in 2003 and as a child in the 1930s. Eleanor and Anthony Edevane when the meet in the early 1900s and in the 1930s living in the Lake House. Eleanor as a child with her mother Constance. Constance in the Lake House in the 1930s. These perspectives and more. Round and round, the story goes, first plotting points and then connecting the dots to come together in the conclusion.

This formula has worked beautifully in other books by Kate Morton. This book, for me, has too many pieces in the puzzle. At times, I find myself flipping back to the chapter title to determine the time period and perspective of that section. At times, I find myself not engaged in any one character's secrets because the story keeps quickly moving between the different characters. At over 500 pages, the book takes a long time to reach a resolution. At the same time, the ending seems suddenly to wrap everything into a neat package. All the pieces seems to fit together a bit too suddenly and too conveniently.

The story and Kate Morton's writing still keep me reading, because I want to know how it ends and how all the mysteries resolve. I am still a Kate Morton fan and will still look for what she writes next. This one is just not a favorite.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.


  1. I loved this book. Her books always get me hooked...The Forgotten Garden was the first one that got me hooked.

    The quote you chose as your favorite is one I liked too.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Glad you liked the book, but sorry it wasn't a favorite.

    Silver's Reviews

    1. I think The House at Riverton was the first one I read, and I have been hooked ever since. I am already looking forward to her next one!