Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: The Lake House


It was almost exactly five years ago that I read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I fell head over heels in love and I told everyone and their mother they needed to read it too. Seriously...I worked at Coles bookstore the Christmas it became popular in Canada and I hand-sold it to anyone looking for a gift for the woman in their life. But I have a confession to make: that was the first and last Kate Morton book I read. I think I had such a fear of her subsequent books not living up to my expectations that I didn't make the time to read her others. Until The Lake House . And, boy, am I glad I agreed to review this one and be part of Simon & Schuster's Read-a-Thon!

I'm doing my read-a-thon post a little differently than the others for a few reasons...first, I'm on vacation right now and had to have this scheduled a week ago. This means that I can't really discuss the book with you as much as I'd like. Also, I'm in charge of the final part of the novel and it seems only fair to give my thoughts before asking questions about the whole book!

Here's the synopsis:
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.
I'm going to echo the synopsis: Morton is a fantastic storyteller. She's able to weave together such a compelling story. It makes the reader want to read the book from start to finish in one sitting. (I'd be damn impressed if you read it in one sitting...this is a hefty book at about 400 pages.) Morton sucks you in with a multi-layered and complex story. The Lake House takes place in various decades (mostly the 1930s and 2000s) and in different towns (London and Cornwall). It's a third person narrative which allows for viewpoints from all sorts of characters. That all sounds confusing, doesn't it? But, in Morton's more than capable hands, it completely works.

I love that this novel has a mystery at its core and clues are shared sparingly throughout the novel. I kept thinking that maybe I had things figured out about Theo's disappearance, only to realize I was way off base. I didn't feel too bad though because the characters had no idea what happened either and everyone seemed to think they had a hand in the event. There was a lot of confusion that needed to be cleared up before things started to make sense and I loved the moments when things started to fall into place. I actually had a "HOLY CRAP" light bulb moment that was almost right...so I felt pretty proud of myself.

Final (random) side note: I started reading the book on a Tuesday. I watch the TV show Castle, which is on Monday nights, so when I began the novel I, for some reason, kept picturing Sadie as Stana Katic, the actress who plays Detective Beckett. There's no real reason for this link (it wasn't based on what Sadie was supposed to look like!) or for sharing but I thought it'd be fun to include part of my reading experience :)

Kate Morton's latest novel is a total winner for me. The Lake House will be one I recommend to many people once again this holiday season - and beyond. It's an amazing story that's written so incredibly well. The mystery will suck you in and the characters will keep you even more invested. If you've read Morton before: read this book. If you like historical fiction: read this book. Just read this book.


Now...for the read-a-thon discussion questions! I'm going to try to avoid spoilers but I'm talking about the end of a novel - and a mystery to boot - so proceed with caution!

Questions for Chapters 28-35

There are two mysteries in this book. Sadie eventually becomes, one could say, obsessed with both and works hard to find out what happened to Theo and Maggie. Did you ever doubt Sadie or start to wonder if she was an unreliable character?

A lot of pain and heartache could have been avoided if many of the characters had been open with each other from the start. Why do you think it was so hard for everyone to be honest? Would the close knit family relationships have anything to do with it?

Did you see the ending, regarding both Theo and Maggie, coming? Would it have mattered to you if either outcome had been unhappy or happy? What about the other, smaller, mysteries? Were you shocked by any of the revelations?

Don't forget to check out the prior readathon posts!


Chapters 1-9: Lost in a Great Book

Chapters 10-18: Be Nice or Leave.

Chapters 19-27: Ms. Bibliophile

*An ARC of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada for the purpose of the read-a-thon and for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

1 comment:

  1. Soooo I also got an arc of this one but my leaky window decided to destroy it during a rainstorm. I WILL READ IT THOUGH! ONE DAY! Just have to wait for the library holds gods to smile in my favour ;) We will have to discuss it once I do read it though! :)

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