Genre: Contemporary Fiction
This novel is hard to classify. It’s a mixture of genres. There are historical, mystery, thriller and romance elements. Dark events from the past break through into the present and there’s even a bit of a ghost story going on. But all the elements are perfectly blended by this experienced and talented author. So it all adds up to a very good read.
The main character is Amy. Amy having overcome her own difficult childhood, has worked in France for the past ten years as a live-in nanny. She has looked after Viviane, daughter of Alain and Julia, since her birth. Julia’s health issues mean she needs help to look after her daughter.
After Alain’s sudden death, Amy, Julia and Viviane have to go back to live in Julia’s childhood home, Reservoir Cottage, in Somerset. It is situated by the lake of the title. This uprooting proves to be a real jolt and sees a big change in circumstances for these three characters. They are immediately propelled into a ghostly, threatening and potentially deadly mystery.
The story is well-paced, beautifully descriptive and nuanced. The supporting cast contains believable and intriguing characters, including troubled farmer, Daniel, to whom Amy is strongly attracted. Even the minor cast members such as neighbour, Mrs Botham, and Amy’s dog, Bess are engaging.
Reservoir Cottage and the lake are also both characters in their own right––the cottage secretive and malevolent, the lake dark and brooding.
To avoid spoilers, I can’t really say more.
All I will say is I came nowhere near guessing the resolution of the mystery at the heart of this book.
The Secret by the Lake is a page turner and it had me hooked right away.
Type of Read: Good one for passing the time on a plane or train journey. You’ll be locked in the world of the story for the duration. But wherever you read it, you’ll be lost to the real world while you do so.
Back Cover Blurb:
A FAMILY TRAGEDY Amy’s always felt like something’s been missing in her life. When a tragedy forces the family she works for as a nanny to retreat to a small lakeside cottage, she realises she cannot leave them now. A SISTER’S SECRET But Amy finds something unsettling about the cottage by the lake. This is where the children’s mother spent her childhood – and the place where her sister disappeared mysteriously at just seventeen. A WEB OF LIES Soon Amy becomes tangled in the missing sister’s story as dark truths begin rising to the surface. But can Amy unlock the secrets of the past before they repeat themselves?
The Secret by the Lake is published by Transworld and is available as a paperback, e-book and audio book.
4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas”
Great review Anne, sounds like a cracking read.
Thanks, George. It was.
Sounds good – I shall see if Highland Libraries have the audio version. It sounds like a good one to listen to whilst ironing sheets when the season starts!
I hope you can get it and that you enjoy it.