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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Deepest Lake

Narrators: Susan Bennett,

Rebecca Quinn Robertson

ISBN: 9798891783782

Publisher: RB Media/Recorded Books

Publication Date: 05/07/2024

Format: Audio

My Rating: 5 Stars (ALC)



In this atmospheric thriller set at a luxury memoir-writing workshop on the shores of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, a grieving mother goes undercover to investigate her daughter’s mysterious death.


Rose, the mother of 20-something aspiring writer Jules, has waited three months for answers about her daughter’s death. Why was she swimming alone when she feared the water? Why did she stop texting days before she was last seen? When the official investigation rules the death an accidental drowning, the body possibly lost forever in Central America’s deepest lake, an unsatisfied Rose travels to the memoir workshop herself. She hopes to draw her own conclusion—and find closure.


When Rose arrives, she is swept into the curious world created by her daughter’s literary hero, the famous writing teacher Eva Marshall, a charismatic woman known for her candid—and controversial—memoirs. As Rose uncovers details about the days leading up to Jules’s disappearance, she begins to suspect that this glamorous retreat package is hiding ugly truths. Is Lake Atitlan a place where traumatized women come to heal or a place where deeper injury is inflicted?


Perfect for fans of Delia Owens, Celeste Ng, and Julia Bartz, The Deepest Lake is both a sharp look at the sometimes toxic, exclusionary world of high-class writing workshops and an achingly poignant view of a mother’s grief.










Praise


“The suspenseful narrative is hardly short on surprises, but it’s the sharp characterizations that make this stand out. Romano-Lax delivers a chilling look at maternal grief and the lengths people will go to tell their own stories.”

—Publishers Weekly


“The Deepest Lake is a mesmerizing, twisty page-turner combined with a complex mother-daughter family drama. Andromeda Romano-Lax’s insightful interrogation of the confessional memoir culture and the nature of obsession will stay with you long after the novel’s last nail-biting pages. I couldn’t put it down.”

—Angie Kim, New York Times bestselling author of Miracle Creek


“Celeste Ng meets Lisa Jewell in this mesmerizing story about a writing retreat that’s as inspiring as it is insular, as alluring as it is alarming—and the mother and daughter who risk their lives to uncover the dark secrets of its leader. Chillingly atmospheric and filled with disturbing twists, The Deepest Lake will have you glued to its pages until its surprising and satisfying conclusion.”

—Megan Collins, author of Thicker Than Water and The Family Plot


“A richly evocative and suspenseful read that plumbs the depths of grief, motherhood, and the endless hunger to tell our stories—with page-turning twists you won't see coming. Hold your breath and dive in.”

—Amy Gentry, bestselling author of Good as Gone


“Atmospheric, psychological, and surprising, The Deepest Lake mines the depths of mother-daughter relationships and the risks we take in the name of creativity. With humor and lush language, Andromeda Romano-Lax has created a taut suspense story . . . I finished this book wanting to call my mom and tell her how much I loved her.”

—Caitlin Wahrer, author of Edgar Award finalist The Damage


“At a reclusive writing retreat led by a charismatic memoirist, a mother searches for clues into her daughter’s death. From the adrenaline-spiked first words, The Deepest Lake pulls you under. What follows are twists and turns that can only be unraveled through the stories these characters tell themselves about who they are and who they want to be. Asking provocative questions about motherhood, truth, and what we’ll do to ensure our own survival, The Deepest Lake is one of the most suspenseful, thought-provoking novels of the year.”

—Erin Flanagan, Edgar-winning author of Come With Me


“A scintillating psychological thriller with deeply woven characters and a jaw-dropping twist. I absolutely loved it.”

—Cate Quinn, bestselling author of The Clinic


“The best thriller I've read in years! At once a heart-pounding mystery and a profound take on the dangers of our confessional age. I loved it.”

—Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year


“Pulls you into its depths from page one . . . A tense and compelling story of the bonds between women as profound as the lake at its heart.”

—Melissa Adelman, author of What the Neighbors Saw


“Immersive, atmospheric, and beautifully rendered, The Deepest Lake weaves the stories of a missing daughter and a mother driven to uncover the truth into a suspenseful, can’t-miss thriller.”

—Laura McHugh, award-winning author of What's Done in Darkness


“Welcome to the memoir workshop from hell. In dual timelines, a young writer looks for creative inspiration in a dangerous paradise and a mother searches for answers about her daughter's last days. I relished this insider's look at the glittering, intimate, and sometimes toxic world of writing retreats. The Deepest Lake is a gripping yet thoughtful novel about overcoming trauma, meeting our inheritance, and what happens when we seize the power to rewrite our own stories.”

—Alison B. Hart, author of The Work Wife


“With The Deepest Lake, Andromeda Romano-Lax has crafted a suspense novel rich in emotional insight. This gripping story, set against a captivating landscape filled with unraveling secrets, is an exploration of the depths we travel and the shadowy places we confront along the way.”

—Maggie Downs, author of Braver Than You Think


“All who enjoy writer-focused thrillers will be enthralled by Romano-Lax’s morally and intellectually intricate tale, while her fans will marvel at her versatility as she shifts from complexly imagined literary fiction like Annie and the Wolves (2021), to this psychologically and culturally spiky work of suspense.”

—Booklist






My Review


Andromeda Romano-Lax's THE DEEPEST LAKE is a stunning atmospheric lyrical suspense thriller set in Guatemala at an exclusive writing retreat. Featuring a famous author, a writing retreat, a young woman's mysterious death, and a tenacious mother who goes undercover to seek answers about her daughter's disappearance.


AUDIOBOOK: The audiobook was exceptional, and the narrators, Susan Bennett (my favorite) and Rebecca Quinn Robertson, delivered a spellbinding performance. I was hanging on their every word! I highly recommend the audio!


Jules, a 20-something young woman, is searching for adventure and an aspiring writer. She travels to Guatemala to an exclusive writer's retreat led by one of her favorite charismatic memoirists/authors (hero), the famous writing teacher Eva Marshall, a woman known for her controversial work and memoirs in Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán.


Rose, Jules's mother, worries about her daughter traveling, especially after her texts stop abruptly.

The news comes about her daughter's mysterious drowning. She and her ex-husband and father of Jules, Matt, do not know what happened. Jules’s final texts to her parents came on her birthday (23rd) and a few days later, a Canadian expat saw a woman matching Jules’s description swim far out in the lake.


It had been three months, and all she knew was that her daughter was swimming alone. However, her daughter feared the water. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning, but is there a body or assumed to be drowned? But Rose does not believe it. How could her daughter's body be lost in Central America in the biggest lake? Someone has to know something.


Rose is determined to find answers for herself. She travels to the memoir workshop (under her maiden name) and goes undercover, hoping to get close to those in the community and workshop and learn more about her daughter's disappearance/death and the woman running this workshop. Is everyone in the community spellbound by this woman, or are they afraid of her?


She slowly learns strange, sinister things about the details leading up to her daughter's disappearance. This glamorous retreat is hiding something, and Rose is determined to find out what. What ugly truths lie beneath his writer's retreat and this famous author?


Is Lake Atitian a place of refuge or a place that is harmful to women?


Told from two POVs: Jules and Rose. The story alternated between Jules and what happened leading up to the drowning and unraveled with chapters from the mother's undercover investigation. I adored the mom and her strong love for her daughter.


I loved this book! THE DEEPEST LAKE reminds me of Joyce Maynard's (a favorite) writing, especially her latest, The Bird Hotel. Also for fans of The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz, and authors, Lisa Jewell, A.J. Banner, Carol Goodman, and Ruth Ware.


Psychologically rich, immersive, and spellbinding, THE DEEPEST LAKE is mysterious, suspenseful, and beautifully written with vivid, lush settings. The writing is both lyrical, twisty, and mesmerizing.


The author skillfully explores the complex relationship between mother and daughter in this family drama, covering topics such as motherhood, grief, survival, love, danger, trauma, risks, and the introduction of a confessional memoir culture. The novel also explores the dangers, toxicity, and obsessions of writing retreats, as well as the cautionary tale of those who follow a cult-like leader and fall under the spell of deception and an opportunistic writer’s dark schemes.


Thought-provoking, gripping, spine-chilling, evocative, and atmospheric, with twists that will have you glued to the book or audio until the last page is turned. Ideal for book clubs and further discussions. My first book by the author, and I look forward to reading more.


Thanks to Recorded Books and NetGalley for an ALC for an honest opinion.



@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

My Rating: 5 Stars








About the Author



Born in Chicago and now a resident of Vancouver Island, Canada, Andromeda Romano-Lax worked as a freelance journalist and travel writer before turning to fiction. Her first novel, The Spanish Bow, was translated into eleven languages and chosen as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, BookSense pick, and one of Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year. Her next three novels, The Detour, Behave (an Amazon Book of the Month), Plum Rains (winner of the Sunburst Award), and Annie and the Wolves reflect her diverse interest in the arts, history, science, and technology, as well as her love of travel and her time spent living abroad. ​

​Andromeda co-founded and continues to blog for 49 Writers, a nonprofit organization. She has taught fiction in the University of Alaska Anchorage low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program and currently works with novelists and memoirists as a freelance book coach.

A late-blooming Ironman triathlete, she lives with her family on a small island off a bigger island in British Columbia, where her favorite activities are trail running, cycling, and ocean swimming.

o sign up for her author and book coaching newsletter, FROM MY ISLAND TO YOURS, please click here. 

Andromeda also has a separate collaborative Substack called PRESENT TENSE, dedicated to suspense fiction, please click here. 


Andromeda's website is www.romanolax.com and she enjoys hearing from readers.



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