My review of The Lake House by Kate Morton
June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. Alice Edevane, sixteen years old and a budding writer, is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever.
An abandoned house…
Seventy years later, after a particularly troubling case Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police. Sadie retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall but soon finds herself at a loose end. Until one day, she stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace.
An unsolved mystery…
Meanwhile, in the attic writing room of her elegant Hampstead home, the formidable Alice Edevane, now an old lady, leads a life as neatly plotted as the bestselling detective novels she writes. Until a young police detective starts asking questions about her family’s past, seeking to resurrect the complex tangle of secrets Alice has spent her life trying to escape…
- Hardcover: 512 pages
- Publisher: Atria Books (October 20, 2015)
In the middle of a sunlit clearing stood a house. A brick house with twin gables and a front door tucked beneath a portico. Multiple chimneys rose from the tiled roof and three levels of leadlight windows winked conspiratorially. A climber, green-leafed and voracious, clung to the brick face of the building and small birds flew busily in and out of the fretwork of tendrils, creating an effect of constant movement.
That strange, almost ominous, feeling was there again but Sadie shook it off. She dealt in facts, not feelings, and after recent events it was as well to remind herself of that. She steepled her hands against a glass pane and pressed her face to them, peering through the window. Sadie experienced the familiar, agreeable sensation of opening the lid on someone else's life; she'd always been fascinated by the way other people lived. Sadie automatically started making mental notes.
Now, I know The Lake House by Kate Morton doesn't cover the Victorian era but I have finished reading an advanced reader's copy and I am in love with this novel! The Lake House is the second book of Kate Morton's that I've read; the first being, The Distant Hours. Anyway, if you are seeking a novel that is beautifully written, dual storylines intelligently crafted holding a few red herrings, a few plot twists, some turns leading down gravel paths then you will thoroughly enjoy another one of Kate Morton's gems.
Beginning in 1933, you will meet separately and as a family together, the Edevane family presiding at their ancestral home, 'Loeanneth' in Cornwall, England. Sixteen year old Alice Edevane is the main protagonist living with her two sisters Deborah and Clemmie, youngest eighteenth month old brother Theo and parents Eleanor and Anthony. This family dynamic is vitally important because Kate Morton juxtaposes shades of similarities between real life Alice Liddell and her sisters Lorina and Edith Liddell. For instance, you will meet older man friend of The Edevane family Mr. Llellwyn who again reminds me very much of Rev. Charles Dodgson who was family friend of the Liddell family. He became author Lewis Carroll of Alice in Wonderland. Just pay close attention to the happenings of The Edevane Family living in their manor house in Cornwall during and after that party they had one Midsummer Eve in 1933 when their brother Theo disappeared never to be seen again!
"Mr. Llellwyn!" Alice exclaimed, when she saw the hunched figure standing there, an easel under one arm, a large sketch block clutched awkwardly to his other side. 'You frightened me.'
'Sorry, Alice, dear. It would appear I don't know my own stealth. I was hoping we might have a little chat.'
'Now, Mr. Llellwyn? Despite her affection for the old man, she fought a wave of frustration. He didn't seem to understand that the days of Alice sitting with him while he sketched, of bobbing downstream together in the rowing boat, of her confessing all her childish secrets as they hunted fairies were gone. He'd been important to her once, there was no denying that; a treasured friend when she was small and a mentor when she was first getting started with her writing. Many times she'd run to present him with the small childish stories she'd scribbled in a fit of inspiration and the'd made a great show of providing earnest critique. But now, at sixteen, she had other interests, things she couldn't share with him. 'I'm rather busy, you see.'
His gaze drifted towards the hole in the hedge and Alice felt her cheeks buzz with sudden warmth.
Skip ahead to the second storyline in 2003 (present day) where we meet police detective sargaent Sadie Sparrow who visits her grandfather in Cornwall only to discover an abandoned manor house. She is strangely attracted to it. Remember that old saying, 'curiousity killed the cat'? Well, perhaps D.S. Sparrow should have listened to her own instincts!
Enter into the frame, a grown up, aged, Alice Edevane, now a successful crime writer using the pen name A.C. Edevane. When Sadie writes to her requesting an interview, Alice immediately knows it's about her missing brother Theo. What happens next will awaken The Edevane Family secret which may or not have been laying dormant for seventy years.
To purchase in the UK, Amazon UK
To purchase in the US, Amazon US