I’m feeling like a real book reviewer this week as I’m a Beta reader for non-fiction author, Barbara J Starmans’ first fiction book. Barbara is responsible for the fascinating Social Historian website https://www.thesocialhistorian.com/ and she is now writing a novel based on the story of her great-grandmother.
I’ve also received 2 ARC books. The first, being delivered in instalments, is “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” by Australian author, Kate Morton, whose time-shift novels I always enjoy. It will be published on September 20th. I am reading this on my iPad via The Pigeonhole which includes comments from current readers. I found this very distracting so have deleted that feature!
The other ARC is by Jan Ruth, one of my favourite authors. Called “Gift Horse,” it is about a real horse but also about the eponymous proverb and will be published in October. I am looking forward to reviewing both these books.
The Lake house contains all the ingredients I have come to expect in a novel by Kate Morton: mystery, action in different eras, a beautiful house in Cornwall and more than one complex female protagonist.
The core story is of the Edevane family who lived in Leoanneth, a large house by a lake in Cornwall, from 1911 until 1933. An idyllic love story is blighted by the First World War and as their family life appears to be blossoming again, tragedy strikes.
Moving to 2003, we meet Sadie Sparrow, a feisty police sergeant who has let her emotions take over when investigating the case of an abandoned child. Visiting her grandfather, Bertie in Cornwall she inadvertently discovers Leoanneth, overgrown and deserted. Soon she is putting her experience to good use trying to discover what happened on that fateful Midsummer Eve in 1933. As she researches old newspapers and case notes, we encounter Alice Edevane, who was 16 in 1933 and is now a very successful crime write of 86. Will she help Sadie or will she keep her secrets?
The intricate plot weaves threads together in a most satisfying way. The book has a glorious sense of time, of the echoes glimpsed momentarily. Sadie, Alice and Alice’s mother Eleanor gradually reveal themselves as the book progresses. They all share sadness and loss which they hide behind strong personas.
Some readers may feel that all the puzzles are solved too perfectly, but I was sad to leave this long beautiful book.