Title: The Lake House
Author: Kate Morton
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: 1st November 2015
Rating: 5/5 stars
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 have. 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. She retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall but soon finds herself at a loose end. Until one day, Sadie 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 …
I read my last Kate Morton while I was in high school and remember absolutely loving it – the intrigue spanning generations was just fantastic! And she has most definitely done it again with The Lake House– I could not put it down! It makes it so much better that she is an Australian author as well, even if her story is set in United Kingdom!
Sadie Sparrow got too involved with a case and has been sent on an enforced break. Stuck at her grandfather’s place in Cornwall she needs something to occupy her time and when she stumbles across the estate of Loeanneth on a run, she knows she has found her case. A child went missing here seventy years ago, and Sadie is determined to discover what happened.
There are quite a number of voices through which the story is told, but they all blend seamlessly. No one character possesses all of the information, and the snippets are revealed so slowly that the suspense becomes almost unbearable. Morton is a true master of keeping the reader on their toes. Alice was my favourite character – the crotchety, reclusive writer ignoring her own past – and I absolutely adored her awkward assistant, Peter. But I loved Sadie’s grandfather, Bertie, too!
The book does get a little dark, but everything is all fixed and figured out by the end. I have finally found the sort of crime I like – I need to forget the psychological thrillers and get into the old-fashioned whodunnit stories which have proper satisfying conclusions. I am very much like the character of Alice in that regard – she was a fascinating piece of work. Convinced that she had witnessed too much on the night of her brother’s disappearance, she has thrown herself into her work and refuses to consider the past. But the detective writer can’t ignore the siren’s call of her own family mystery when Sadie Sparrow begins searching for answers.
It did annoy me a teeny tiny little bit that everything was a bit too neat at the end, but I can forgive Morton that for the adrenaline rush I got throughout the rest of the story! I also wasn’t a total fan of the extra back story Morton wrote in for Sadie. The mystery there was a bit obvious, and I felt it detracted too much from her main storyline about the case back in London.
However, it is an impeccably written book, and I will be going back through Morton’s catalogue – I need more of her brilliant suspense! I have found the crime writer to stop me from giving up on the genre completely!
What sort of crime stories do you prefer? Have you read anything by Kate Morton before?