After a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police and retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall. There she 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.
June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. For Eleanor, the annual party has always been one of her treasured traditions, but her middle daughter, Alice, sixteen years old and with literary ambitions, is especially excited. Not only has Alice 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 sky, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great they leave Loeanneth and never return.
I know people who love Kate Morton’s books. That’s one of the reasons I picked up one of her books. A friend of mine would not stop raving about her, so I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed the two other books I read, The Secret Keeper and The Forgotten Garden. When I saw that we had received an ARC of The Lake House at work, I made sure to grab it. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I wanted to.
Warning: Spoilers may be below. Read at your own risk.
I really enjoy dual timelines. It just adds something to the story for me. It’s more than just backstory – it’s a whole other life that has affected another but years later. Kate Morton is a genius at dual timelines, though I will say that I felt this one was a little more cluttered and confusing than her usual. I do take this all with a grain of salt, since this is an advanced copy.
I’m not a fan of mysteries. I like intrigue, and I like having questions while I read, but I don’t like whodunnits. I enjoyed the mystery here. What happened to baby Theo? Who killed/kidnapped him? Why did they do it? What happened to Anthony during the war that was so unspeakable? Was he sleeping with the nanny? Did Alice kill the baby on accident? I had so many questions while reading this, and I really hadn’t figured it all out until close to the end.
I understand why Kate did this the way she did, but I was so confused reading it. I kept having to flip back to previous chapters and say, “Wait, when is this again? Is this before or after what just happened?” I don’t mind having to do a little work with my reading, but I felt this was just so jumbled.
Kate gives the reader a few chapters strictly focusing on Alice’s parents – how they met, when they were married, and their first years together. I honestly did not care. It didn’t add anything to the story for me. I know why she did it now, and I know its purpose to the story, but I still feel like the book would have been much better off without it.
I must have skipped about 60% of this book. I found myself flipping through pages of details I didn’t need to know for the story, or details that, to me, felt superfluous. Enough was enough. I had so many descriptions of how inquisitive Alice was, how self-depricating Sadie was, how sad Bertie was, how magnificent the house was. I felt like I was being bombarded with information.
I haven’t been so annoyed with an ending in so long. I know that it’s supposed to be one of those, “Fate brings people together,” things, but whatever. All I could do was roll my eyes at it. Like… really? That was the best way to end it? Not all stories need happy endings.
• Pg. 2 – I’m going to assume the little brother is what is being buried…
• Pg. 22 – Could Mr. Llewellyn be proposing? How old is he? (Would it matter then?)
• What happened to Sadie with the case? It sounds like she slept with the father or something
• Pg. 147 – 1/2 of what I’ve read has had nothing to do with Theo’s disappearance
• Pg. 192 – 200 pages later and now we’re hearing about Benjamin again? Good lord…
• Pg. 230 – If this gardener has nothing to do with Theo’s disappearance, I’m going to be annoyed.
• Pg. 348 – I never thought Theo was Rose’s baby. First, Alice (or any of the girls) wouldn’t have noticed their mother not showing? If that wasn’t the case (like there was a stillborn), I just don’t see Eleanor being able to keep a reminder of her husband’s infidelity.
• Pg. 352 – How’s the home phone ringing if she’s got dial-up internet?
• Pg. 378 – Now I’m wondering if Eleanor is the person from the first chapter burying Theo.
• Pg. 409 – What!? Eleanor?! You dirty harlot! So wait… was Theo Ben’s son?!
• Pg. 483 – BOOM. Anthony killed Theo’s son. Done. Mystery solved.
• Pg. 507 – Llewellyn knew that Eleanor and Anthony were going to give the baby to Benl that’s why he drew the picture.