Publisher: Black Swan
Release: 19th November 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction, Ghost Story
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"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?"
When I’m in the mood for a creepy read I find that nothing beats a good historical ghost story, so when I was after just that on a cold winter’s day I picked up The Secret by the Lake and it delivered the moody mystery I wanted and so much more!
The book is set in the 1960’s and follows Amy who works as a nanny to Alain and Julia Laurent’s little girl Viviane. The family lead a comfortable life in France until Alain dies, forcing Amy, Julia and Viviane to sell their belongings and move to the lakeside cottage in England that Julia grew up in. But the lake and cottage aren’t as idyllic as they seem – they each carry horrific memories of Caroline – Julia’s sister – a troubled girl who died in her teens. As a dark and hard winter draws in, the long buried secret by the lake begins to surface as history intertwines with the present.
Being new to Louise Douglas’s work, The Secret by the Lake took me completely by surprise. It’s impossible to not be swept away by the ominous atmosphere and compelling storyline. Both the cottage and the lake were so vividly described that I physically felt like I was alongside Amy as she uncovered the secrets of the past which made the ghostly parts even more frightening to read.
Louise Douglas is a masterful storyteller. I thought that I knew where this book was going but the last fifty or so pages took me completely by surprise! I think that what Louise Douglas does so brilliantly here is leaves breadcrumbs, which seem like nothing at the time, right before your eyes. Her hints are so subtle yet so plain to see by the end of the book.
The Secret by the Lake is a book that’s impossible to discuss too deeply without giving up its secrets but if you’re looking for accomplished writing, a complex plot and compelling characters all wrapped up in a haunting setting, The Secret by the Lake has it all. On the strength of this book alone Louise Douglas has become an auto buy author for me. This is essential reading for anyone who wants a book that they can lose themselves in from first to last word.