My mother recommended Australian author Kate Morton to me ages ago, and I ignored her recommendation. Mum only ever read beauty books by Sophie Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, biographies about old film stars, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and the Queen Mother, and Agatha Christie novels. I love Agatha Christie’s stories, but the rest of Mum’s reading matter I can do without. (I’m fairly sure Sophie Loren was blessed with wonderful genes, and no matter how much spaghetti I eat, I am never going to look sultry or glamourous. Sometimes you just have to accept that what works for one of the most beautiful women in the world may not work for you). Anyway, I’m not sure what made Mum start reading novels, but after she read one book by Kate Morton, she promptly went out and bought every other book she had written.
Eventually, under sufferance, I picked up The Lake House by Kate Morton and sat down to read, fully expecting to roll my eyes and sigh like a petulant teenager at my long suffering mother’s choice of novel, before recommending a much better book to Mum. (I know, I know. I deserve a smack).
Half an hour later I was completely absorbed in the story of a family living in a lovely country house in Cornwall during the 1930s, and the mysterious disappearance of their child. There is also a present day story involving a disgraced detective becoming absorbed by the mystery of the now abandoned house and the child’s disappearance and of course, she sets out to solve the mystery. The story moves easily across the timeframes.
The characters in The Lake House are lovely too. They are believable and on the whole, good people. Even when their behaviour is immoral or suspect, the reader still sides with these characters and wants the best for them. And while I liked the characters, particularly Alice Edenvale, I loved the family’s home, Loeanneth. The house is charming, with secret tunnels, beautiful gardens, a swing in a tree, a boathouse, lake and river. What more could anyone want?
My only criticism is that the story’s central mystery, which kept me going for nearly 500 pages, was tied up in the last few pages with a string of coincidences. (I tried to discuss my dissatisfaction regarding the ending with Mum, but she wasn’t having any of it. She said the ending was perfect).
I actually have a great idea for how the story could have ended, but can’t go into details here without spoiling the book for other readers as my idea involves some changes to the earlier part of the story.
I’m planning to read more books by Kate Morton and can happily recommend The Lake House, particularly as a comfort or holiday read. Thanks, Mum.