Cover image from AMAZON
THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton
I’m a big Kate Morton fan. It’s not just because I love her books, but because I enjoy how candid she is about her life as a writer. Morton has always been honest about the challenges she faced initially getting published. In interviews, she has shared her rejections, her moments of doubt and financial struggles, and times when she was working as a waitress at weddings. SMH
All this honesty, juxtaposed with commercial and critical acclaim make Kate Morton a wonderful writer for emerging writers to follow and learn from.
Her latest release THE LAKE HOUSE follows on from her success as a time-slipping family-drama mystery writer. I will try not to give anything away. The blurb copy reads like this… A missing child. June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party.
Alice Edevane, sixteen years old and a budding writer, is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever.
In the first pages of this book, a promise is made to the reader. A long time ago a young boy disappeared and this novel is going to find him. The case will be solved. Any Morton reader will know that she does not leave mysteries unsolved. Every open thread will be tied off.
Kate Morton must have a thing for grand old English houses. Once again, the character’s sense of place is integral to the elegance of this tale. The way she evokes place is integral to her writing. Especially as time shifts and the house warms and cools to the reader. A few of her other books are very closely linked with place, in particular an old house that becomes another character in the story.
The Lake House is a concisely plotted gripping family drama that spans the secrets of three generations. But it is also a crime fiction, with the lead characters solving a cold case. It is her smartest novel yet. It moves faster than any of her other novels and has the most intriguing aspects of investigation and mystery solving.
Perhaps it was the introduction of a police investigator, Sadie Sparrow, as the lead protagonist in the investigations of the cold case. Sadie adds a very different sort of pace and insight than we have seen in Morton’s previous books. The narrative has moved away from children wanting to uncover the secrets of their families, towards investigators solving crimes. But Morton has not lost any of the charming and wonderfully loveable characters her readers certainly enjoy.
As I writer, I am drawn to the characters in The Lake House. They are flawed, and still easy to care about. Many of the mysteries of the plot come from mistakes made by characters, secrets kept and incidences miss understood. Alice Edevane carries the longest held secret of the novel, making her a very hardened yet vulnerable character in the book.
Morton is aware of the book she is writing, and she has not been afraid to draw attention to it. through the mind of the successful crime writer Alice, the reader catches glimpses of an author at work. This makes The Lake House a self-aware novel and the plotting a little post-modern.
“Motive’s for fiction writers.’ says a police officer.
A personal highlight was when Alice bemoaned the letters of fan mail she received as readers pulled apart mistakes in her plotting or inconsistencies in the investigation process.
ReadingTHE LAKE HOUSE challenged me as a reader and a writer. New words forced me to the dictionary such as acerbity and sotto voce. I had to look up words in the dictionary, which was a welcome surprise.
There is nothing else like a Morton novel on the shelves at the moment. The best books to compare The Lake House to would be other Morton novels. If you’ve read and enjoyed any Morton novel then there is no reason why you should no go out and buy this one.
The Lake House is a big book, I mean Game of Thrones big. But it’s not a heavy read. It took me a little over a week to finish.
Kate Morton is a literary power house, one of Australia’s most successful writers. Currently taking in million dollar advances for her books, she is being compared to Collen McCullough as Australia’s successful export. The Lake House hit the best-seller list as soon as it was released, with a gigantic interview in the SMH. When reading The Lake House in public, people openly asked if they could borrow the book when I was done. It’s now at my mother’s house.