29 October 2015

Review: The Lake House by Kate Morton

* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin and The Reading Room *

Kate Morton is one of my favourite Australian authors, and has sold more than 10 million copies of her books, quite an accomplishment. I've enjoyed all of them and The Lake House is her latest standalone historical fiction novel.

In the 1930s, Alice's younger brother Theo disappears during a Midsummer's Eve party at their estate, and is never seen again. The family leave Loeanneth (the lake house of the title) and never return. Alice grows up to become a crime writer, and seventy years later, Detective Sadie Sparrow stumbles across the cold case.

The story unfolds from multiple points of view, as we hear from Sadie, Alice and Alice's mother Eleanor. The result is a rich tapestry of family, regret, guilt, love, grief and the weaving together of secrets to form an intriguing mystery.

The Edevane family house Loeanneth is a character in of itself, magical and bustling with life, and then atmospheric, overgrown and abandoned after the tragic disappearance of little Theo. Morton's description of the house shut up and sealed for decades reminded me of the Paris apartment that lay untouched for 70 years

Morton has clearly had some fun in selecting the character names for The Lake House, Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Peter (Alice's assistant) from Peter Pan are both stories about lost children, and therefore fitting character names for this mystery about a missing child.

Alice was my favourite character by far though, an elderly writer, reclusive, aloof and set in her ways, she was an absolute joy to read.

Living in Australia, the tale of the missing boy is close to my heart, with the unsolved disappearance of William Tyrrell in the news every day and the case of Daniel Morcombe still fresh in my mind. I'll never understand how a person can just 'steal' someone from their lives and loved ones and claim them as their own. In a recent interview, Kate Morton said the disappearance of the Beaumont children had in part inspired her to write a mystery about a missing child.

The past and the present come together beautifully in The Lake House, and my only niggle was that the story was tied up way too neatly at the end in a coincidence that was a little too convenient for this reader to swallow. Some readers will love the reveal, but loyal fans who've read all of Morton's books will recognise that the magic that made me gasp in The Forgotten Garden and The Shifting Fog is absent at the end of The Lake House.

Still highly recommended and I can't wait to read whatever she writes next.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

Watch an interview here with Kate Morton filmed in Cornwall.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Great review. I really enjoyed this (and have enjoyed all of Morton's books) but do know what you meant. I think it's because part of the 'twist' is probably a bit predictable and (for me) the coincidence at the end was a bit too much.

    I very much enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book though.

  2. Thanks Deb, I'd go so far as to say it wasn't really a 'twist' at the end, just a 'reveal'. The twist in The Shifting Fog totally rocked my world. Already hanging out for her next one, lol!


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!