Monday, October 19, 2015

The Lake House ~ Kate Morton (earc) review [@AtraiBooks #KateMorton]

The Lake House
Atria Books
October 20, 2015
512 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

One of People magazine’s Best Books of Fall—“Morton's moody, suspenseful latest is the perfect page-turner for a chilly night.”

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping 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.
The Lake House is a stunning blend of a whodunnit, a tale of family secrets and portrait of women through the decades. I have been intending to read one of Kate Morton's novels and am so thrilled this is the one I started with.

I was expecting the tale to alternate between Alice and Sadie, between the 1933 and 2003. Though it does stay in those two time periods - give or take a year or so - I was pleasantly surprised that the storytelling is much less limited than that. Along with Alice, we meet the other women in her family -her sisters Clementine and Deborah, her mother and her grandmother. Through a few characters' flashbacks, we get to see what some of them were like as girls or younger women.

Having not even expected to learn any more of Alice's mother, Eleanor, other than through Alice's perceptions, she ended up being my favorite character. The differences in the Eleanor of the past and Eleanor of the (then) present, is marked. More than that, is that she level of the difference and who is - or is not - aware of it. I really came to love, appreciate and sympathize with her character. She was a true standout and someone I was not anticipating.

The Lake House, in addition to its fantastic characters and the changes in their selves and relationships - especially those between mothers and their daughters - over the years, is a fantastic mystery. Through the different characters and time periods, clues are revealed - or, rather, things that seem to be clues. When something is revealed through a character's thoughts or actions, it is not a big aha moment at least not for the character. As a reader you feel the weight of the information, though.

As the novel progresses, through the Edevane's life leading up to and after the Midsummer party and the investigation of Sadie Sparrow, we see that some of those clues may be false. Not intentionally. Though the characters may think they know what happened to the youngest Edevane family member, they may not be correct.

As Sadie does her best to uncover the truth, to name the culprit and explain the crime, we learn more about the Edevane family and about Sadie herself. The characters themselves are quick to discount the idea of coincidences, but it seems some parts of how their stories all work together could be nothing but.

I loved The Lake House from the mystery that kept you guessing to the very complex and very real characters we're introduced to and get to know. For Sadie to unravel the mystery of what happened at the Lake House that Midsummer night, we have to learn of the Edevane family, the public perception as well as the things they kept hidden. We also get to know Sadie and what it is - both the immediate events as well as their historic foundation - that brought her to Cornwall and the Loeanneth estate in the first place.

Who these characters are, what caused them to be that way, whether who they are is who they truly wish to be and who they are in secret, and the secrets and the promises they keep, are magical. How the characters, their lives, secrets and promises play into the mystery - and possible crime - make for a novel you do not want to miss!

NB: And this is not directly related to the book, but I have decided Sadie is somehow related to Sally Sparrow. (They call her 'Sadie Sparrow' quite a few times, not just Sadie so I couldn't help but think it!) Even the "Blink" and The Lake House plots work together . . . a bit.

digital copy received, for review, from publisher, via NetGalley

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