November 16, 2015

Book Review: The Lake House by Kate Morton

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Source: The book store

A missing child…
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…

The Lake House is the perfect fall/winter book for me. I had been saving it for a treat during a chilly day and cracked it open during a recent holiday. I was happily ensconced with it at my couch, underneath a blanket for the next 3 ½ hours, savoring every delicious word. (This is my idea of heaven, BTW. This, along with a mug of thick hot chocolate and a plate of cookies.)

In The Lake House, we have the adventurous and imaginative Alice, a budding young writer scribbling all sorts of stories while at her family’s lake house in Cornwall, Loenneth. Alice’s mother, Eleanor, was so enchanting as a child that she was inspiration for a classic children’s book written by a family friend, the Lewis Carroll-like Mr. Llewellyn. When she grows into a young woman, Eleanor falls in love with Anthony Edevane under such romantic circumstances that their love story becomes the stuff of legend. 

Thus, the Edevanes live a fabled life, with magical summers that culminate in an annual party. Thus, it would seem that the Edevanes are charmed, until Alice’s little brother goes missing the night of their grand party and is never found again.

Many years later, Loenneth has fallen into disrepair for the Edevane family has never returned to summer there since Theo’s disappearance. Alice Edevane is now an imperious but bestselling author of crime novels. Her carefully erected façade starts to crack when a detective on forced leave decides to resurrect Theo’s cold case and starts doing off-duty investigation. Alice is hiding some secrets about that fateful Midsummer night so long ago … could they be the key to solving what happened to Theo?

The Lake House has everything that makes me such a devoted Kate Morton fan. First, there’s the wild and beautiful setting of Cornwall. As always, Morton’s descriptions are so vivid, I can see, feel and hear every detail. Then there are the characters, which are rendered with such specificity that they live and breathe, from an elderly woman in her 90s to an 11-month-old baby. But tantamount to all is Story. There is never any doubt when cracking open Morton's books that I will be seduced from the first page. As I do every time, my mind races with possibilities of what or whodunit. Events are seen from one perspective then another, and their significance is altered. Just when I think I know what happened, Morton surprises me yet again.  

In The Lake House, Morton masterfully weaves a haunting and captivating tale.

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