Thursday, November 15, 2018

Review: THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton

Rating: 5/5 stars

Kate Morton has done it again! This book was amazingly breathtaking, beautiful in every way. I could not put it down, which was so refreshing after my last read that I struggled to pick up.

You know when a book is so delicious that you physically can’t read the pages fast enough? When you ignore chores, showering, sleeping, and even food just to fit in one more chapter? That was this book for me. (I would have finished it even faster if it I didn’t have to work.)

The Lake House follows the lives of three different people: Eleanor in 1911; her daughter Alice in 1933; and detective Sadie in 2003, who is trying to uncover the seventy-year-old mystery of what happened to Eleanor’s son, Theo, when he randomly disappeared one night. I have read in other reviews that some people found it hard to keep the timelines straight and what was happening to who, but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. It was actually very easy for me to mentally construct a timeline for this story, and when the chapter began and stated it was 1933, I would go right to that spot in my mind. I think if you actually pay attention while you read, it won’t be confusing in the least bit. The characters each have distinct voices, as well.

The narrative did start out rather slow, establishing the lives of each of the characters, and I found myself eagerly waiting for the mystery to start. That was probably just my own anticipation of getting lost in another Kate Morton book, but keep in mind that the story does pick up its pace throughout.

Kate Morton is just so dang clever! She literally spells out for you everything you need to know, yet the ending still hits you like a wall, when you look back and finally realize all the hints and pieces of the story were there all along. I don’t know how she does it, but she is good!

I actually did guess one of the big reveals at the end during the first few chapters of the book. There were no clues or anything; I just pulled an absurd idea out of my head and went on believing it the whole story. I had almost given up hope when in the last few pages it came to light that I was right all along! Always trust your instincts. And this in no way dampened the ending of the story or the joy from the journey. I was actually very happy that I had guessed right because it was such a sweet moment for the characters.

One thing I especially loved about The Lake House is that one of the characters, Alice, is a mystery writer. At one point, she explains to someone about things that mystery writers should do to concoct a good story. I loved this part because it was like a foreshadowing of Kate’s own novel. Alice mentioned some things and I was like, oh I bet that’s how she did it in this book too! It was great. The way Morton weaves her story together is truly superb.

What I love about her writing is that she gives the reader clues in every chapter, hints all along the way, so when you get to the end it’s like all the details are coming together and you finally understand why each piece of information was given. I don’t like books that keep everything a secret and then drop it all on you in the last few pages, and this book is definitely not like that. She truly weaves the mystery into the story, into the lives of each character, and it’s beautiful how all the details intertwine. Her words painted a vivid picture in my mind with every detail.

I must mention that I do like the first book of Kate’s that I read, The Forgotten Garden, better than this book because of its air of magical whim, while The Lake House is a darker novel with a more grim setting, but it is still excellent and completely deserving of five stars. One significant difference between the two books is that in The Forgotten Garden, the reader doesn’t know any clues that the characters don’t know. The past and present characters reveal secrets at the same time as each other. But in The Lake House, the past and present characters know completely different information that only slightly overlaps at times, so the reader ends up knowing clues that one narrator does not know, adding a bit of dramatic irony to the novel. It’s a different writing technique, and I liked being able to experience each style.

I cannot wait to read every single one of Kate Morton’s books in the future because she is definitely one of my favourite authors. If you enjoy dynamic historical fiction characters that are somehow connected to a character in the present who is trying to solve a decades-old mystery that is deeply intertwined in both her life and the lives of those in past generations, set mostly in the English countryside, then you will love Kate Morton’s books. I can’t recommend her enough!

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