The Lake House
By: Kate Morton
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 6/7/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
Coming in Paperback June 7, 2016
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.
A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
C A P T I V A T I N G ! Master storyteller, Kate Morton returns following sensational The Secret Keeper, with THE LAKE HOUSE, an alluring Cornwall mysterious tale of dark family secrets. An enthralling suspense drawing you into a multi-generational, layered, unsolved 70-year-old mystery of intrigue-- combining past with present, with vivid descriptions and settings.
The stunning, idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, 1933--as the mysterious novel opens, someone is hiding evidence in the rain. Confession, too late. Who to tell, no one would forgive. It was done. The memories-will they follow? Nightmares of what happened. Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth; A midsummer party, Alice’s parents were famous for. Her mother had been a wreck all week, getting ready for the event. Midsummer Eve’s magic. Tonight she would be one of them. A night that was going to be extra special. Three daughters Deborah, Alice and Clemmie, and their 11-month old son, Theo. Parents, Eleanor and Anthony, grandmother, Constance, and family friend, Mr. Llewellyn, and a staff of employees. A mother’s strong love for her children. At age sixteen, Alice (Alice Cecilia Edevane) has always fancied herself a sleuth, bright, not shy, and inquisitive and loves to write stories. She was obsessed with Agatha Christie . . stories, puzzles, complex, twists, and events designed to mislead and bewilder readers. Crimes. Murder mysteries. She could write the perfect story. She was not as charming as her older sister, Deborah—she was a storyteller. Her dad was a journal-keeper too. She possessed special insights into other people’s state of mind. She was not a romantic, like her mom.
Their estate sat deep in a dell, surrounded by thick, briar-tangled woods, just like houses in fairy tales (later nightmares). This was her mother’s ancestral home. There would be hundreds of guests, dancing, music, foods, and magic. She had a perfect title for her manuscript. All summer long she had working feverishly on a novel of passion and mystery. And there was the gardener, Benjamin Munro, twenty-six years old. It had been a year since she first laid eyes on him. Tall, dark, and handsome. She was in love. However, before midnight strikes a tragedy occurs. The Edevanes discover that their youngest child, 11-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. Eleanor thinks Alice can help, after all she had the uncanny habit of being where she shouldn’t. She believes her son will be returned. Was he dead, suffering, or alive? Children do not just disappear. They go somewhere? Was he living a new life somewhere with a new family? No ransom note. Secrets. Lies. Blame. Dreams. Guilt. Anger. Protecting. Addiction. Obsessions. Love. Regret. Betrayal. A Mother’s Love. Loyalty. Flashing back and forth from past to present, Cornwall, 2003 –Constable Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in London is visiting in Cornwall at her grandfather’s cottage. While running one day, exploring she discovers the old abandoned estate, sparking her curiosity. She digs into the background of the house, and learns of the baby boy’s mystery, long ago. She knows something terrible happened in that house. The Lake House part of a much larger estate, Loeanneth, originally the head gardener’s residence. She is obsessed with finding answers. When she learns of the Edevane family and their house by the lake, and of the famous author, Alice, now about to publish her fiftieth book, she felt the singular thrill of two seemingly unconnected elements coming together. Alice is living in London; a successful author. Theo’s case has never been solved. Alice was bored, and her current book was going badly. When Alice hears from Constable Sparrow about the missing child back in the 1930s, she knows it is not about the police procedures from her books. Sadie presumed Alice would be thrilled to hear from her. Alice is a famous crime writer. She is a bona fide police detective willing to reopen, if only unofficially— the case of her brother’s disappearance? Who would take a child, choosing the son of a wealthy, upper-class family with all the possible resources at the fingertips to find him? However, she finds an older map from 1664 of The Lake House, there is a variation in the floorplan? Could this be a clue? What is the motive? She begins to delve deeper into the 70-year-old Edevane case with help of the library and locals, and a retired cop who worked on the case previously. Across time, we hear from three generations of strong women: Eleanor, Alice, and Sadie. Morton takes us back to London 1911, where we meet Eleanor, the last of the family line, marrying Anthony, after which Loeanneth was restored and retained for use as their country residence and their earlier life. Of course there was the war. Everyone has secrets, assumptions. What did Clemmie see through the window, and who knew about Alice’s crush? Was Alice caught up in her own world, she had missed what was going on around her, so long ago? Who knows the real truth? Deborah? Time is running out Alice is 86. Years of plotting novels had trained her mind to sift through information and make of it a narrative, and it had taken long to arrange the facts into linear form. There were gaps, and proof to fill and Alice needed the full picture. Fact versus fiction. “So many pieces of the puzzle and everyone holding different fragments.“ And oh are there plenty of suspects, twist and turns, and Morton keeps you guessing until the end. Letters. Journals. More secrets. Confessions. Nothing is as it appears. Spellbinding! You find yourself holding your breath for the next clue. If you have read Kate Morton previously, you know she is in a class all her own. She grabs you, and never lets go while you are transcended to another place and time—a perfect escape, while forgetting the present world. A mix of Gothic, historic, literary, mystery, romance, suspense, family drama, and thriller –all rolled into one engaging read. I adore, Cornwall's rich heritage and dramatic landscape which have inspired writers since the 19th century--something alluring and mysterious about the England countryside and coastal areas. Amazing, today, the Cornish economy depends heavily on its tourist industry; quite interesting to view the deprivation and poverty at some levels. A big variation from poverty to prosperity; with some areas among the poorest in England; whereas, others rank among the top half in prosperity. Fans of Diane Chamberlain and Karen White, will enjoy THE LAKE HOUSE, and be drawn to the complex multi-layered saga. This stunning tale will linger long after the book ends – as always, Morton’s writing is STELLAR!
About the Author
Kate studied and earned a Licentiate in Speech and Drama from Trinity College London. After an ill-fated attempt to do something sensible and obtain an Arts/Law degree, she went on to complete a summer Shakespeare course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and for some time believed her future lay in theatre.
Although she’d read and scribbled from before she could remember, it hadn’t occurred to Kate, until that time, that real books were written by real people. She began writing in earnest and completed two full-length manuscripts (which lie deep and determinedly within a bottom drawer) before settling finally into the story that would become The House at Riverton (The Shifting Fog). Meanwhile, Kate graduated from the University of Queensland with First Class Honours in English Literature and took up a scholarship to complete a Masters focusing on tragedy in Victorian literature
The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 and a New York Times bestseller in 2008. The Shifting Fog won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA), and The House at Riverton was nominated for Most Popular Book at the British Book Awards in 2008.
Her second book, The Forgotten Garden, was a #1 bestseller in Australia and Spain, and a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2008. It won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2009 Australian Book Industry Awards and was an Amazon Best of the Month pick and a New York Times bestseller in 2009.
The Distant Hours was an international bestseller in 2010 and won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2011 ABIAs. The Secret Keeper debuted at #8 on the New York Times Bestseller List and has won a number of other awards and accolades including the 2013 ABIA for General Fiction Book of the Year and The Courier-Mail’s People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year.
Kate’s books are published in 38 countries and in 32 languages. She continues to write the sorts of books she can disappear inside. Website
Praise for THE LAKE HOUSE
"Morton's moody, suspenseful latest is the perfect page-turner for a chilly night." -- People Magazine The Best Books of the Fall (The Lake House) (People)
"..a rich and almost magical good old-fashioned tale...a fabulous addition to her work...whisks the reader away into another world...The Lake House is the perfect read for cold, dark nights" Ft. Worth Star Telegram (The Lake House) (Ft. Worth Star Telegram)
"Skillful, suspenseful, surprising...a perfect read for ...dark winter evenings...Morton is a master of suspense" The Philadelphia Inquirer (The Lake House) (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
"..a stunning, well-woven mystery that will keep readers hooked through myriad twists and turns. There are secrets within secrets in this story, and every time readers think they've figured it out, something new will be revealed." -- San Diego Book Review (The Lake House) (San Diego Book Review)
"Compelling...Morton's plotting is impeccable, and her finely wrought characters...are as surprised as readers will be by the astonishing conclusion." -- Publisher's Weekly * (The Lake House) (Publisher's Weekly)
"Brilliant...delivers the satisfactions of all her bestsellers since debuting with The House at Riverton...perfect books for just about every reader." -- Library Journal (The Lake House) (Library Journal)
"In the latest from Morton, secrets from the past come to light in the present, a theme that is the author’s specialty…. Missing babies, maternal sacrifice, and secrets, secrets, secrets—Morton offers generous clues, only to peel back deeper layers just when the truth seems close…..not short on heart-wrenching choices and rich characters." -- Booklist (The Lake House) (Booklist)