Authors frequently fall into a sour grapes attitude toward those who are more successful than they are, so I’ll try hard not to commit that sin. I do read best sellers to discover the key to success, as I’m sure other authors do, but end by discovering the same essential question. Does the story keep me in its grips and carry me away? Kate Morton’s Lake House, despite a few lagging spots, did indeed keep me reading. Mystery fans will love the complexity, the weaving of many strands, the unexpected turns of events, and I hope any of you who know her work will join in the conversation.
Loeaneth, the Lake House, stands abandoned on the Cornwell coast, deserted by the Edevane family seventy years ago when their treasured last child and only son, Theo, vanished, never to be found or heard of again. And so it might have remained, but Sadie, a police investigator on leave, discovers it and becomes enthralled with the mystery surrounding the boy’s disappearance and begins to dig into the Edevane history.
The story of that Midsummer’s Eve in 1933 unfolds slowly, jumping in time from that night to 2003, from Alice, the Edevane’s middle daughter who has buried something in panic at book’s opening, to Sadie and her own story as well as her investigation. Alice’s parents, her sisters, as well as the gardener become entwined as Sadie’s discoveries take her (and the reader) from one theory to another.
I did indeed keep reading, intrigued by the possibilities and shifts in focus and fascinated by Alice, surely the most complex and engrossing character of the lot. As an author I was impressed by Morton’s ability to draw together the many stories and interweave them into a unified (in the end) story. I did get impatient with the number of points of view changes, some of which I found unnecessary detours—especially those into the case that led to Sadie’s enforced leave from the police force. This last played little role in the on-going mystery and its intrusion lent clumsiness to the whole. I did, however, keep reading and that’s what matters in the end.