Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Lake House – Kate Morton

Historical Fiction 5*s
Historical Fiction

I chose to keep my copy of The Lake House for reading as my first read of the year as I had a feeling that I might not want to put it down and I was right I didn’t.

As in all of Kate Morton’s tales the story is split across different time periods; firstly in 1933 where Alice Edavane lives with her parents, her two sisters and her baby brother Theo at Loeanneth. Alice is in her teens already sure that she doesn’t want what her elder sister Deborah wants which is to go to London and marry well. Oh no, she is far too interested in writing stories and living at home for ever helping her father with his natural history studies. So far so normal but on the night of the Midsummer ball the Edavane’s host annually, something terrible happens and life will never be the same again..

Years into the future in 2003 the Metropolitan Police have been looking for a mother whose young daughter was left alone for days. Sadie Sparrow, a detective finds herself at odds with her superiors and is packed off for enforced leave to let the dust settle. She decides to stay with her Grandfather Bertie in Cornwall. Bored and worried about both her past and her future she hears of an unsolved crime and decides to investigate. Between that and her running she anxiously awaits the verdict on whether she still has a career to return to.

There are layers to this story which span far more years than the two main ones mentioned, we visit the battlefields of WWI, suburbia in the 1980s among plenty of others in-between, and as always with this author, I got a sense that this was backed up by solid research that underpins but never overshadows the story in hand. There are books within the book as well, a murder mystery and a children’s storybook that featured Mrs Edavane, Constance, as a young girl. So the stories swirl around each other, connected but each satisfying in their own right.

This is a large book at just over 600 pages and they are all packed with details or actions so none were inserted to make up the numbers! While not fast the pace of the book is consistent without that dreaded dip in the middle, and the characters are varied with realistic lives, hopes and dreams, which is always a bonus. The author has worked hard to make the largish cast rounded, nearly every single character had their fair share of emotions and motivations, some with a hint of a darker side.

In amongst the sheer readability is a solid mystery to be solved, along with a few more minor ones. I’m not going to pretend that some of the reveals don’t hinge on massive coincidences, but I found that easy to forgive in such an engaging and entertaining tome of a book, it does come with the territory for these type of historical split time-line stories and Kate Morton carries it off with far more aplomb than most. It was one of those books that I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to once I’d read the last page, it was that satisfying a read but my copy is now off to my friend who I’m sure will love it just as much as I did!

I’ve read all of Kate Morton’s previous books, you can see two sitting on my bookshelf on the header to this post and I’ve enjoyed them all immensely.

The House at Riverton
The Forgotten Garden
The Distant Hours
The Secret Keeper

Posted in Uncategorized

Read Into 2016

Reading Into 2016

This gem of an idea was created by BOOKERTALK , so hop over there to get the full details (including a possible prize) but in brief this is a post about what I am reading to start 2016 off!

My choice is The Lake House by Kate Morton, an author whose books I love with their past to present connections – if you check out my header you will see some of her early books nestling there.

I bought The Lake House on pre-order, something I rarely do, and it was delivered to me in October but I felt that a book this anticipated, it has been over two years since read her last book, The Secret Keeper, that it deserved some dedicated reading time. I’m only a couple of chapters in and reluctantly breaking off to write this post.

The Lake House

It was hard to say what made her so certain, but as she turned to leave . . . she knew in that twist of the gut way a police detective had, that something terrible had happened in that house . . .
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.
An abandoned house
Seventy years later, after a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police. She retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall, but soon finds herself at a loose end. Until one day, Sadie stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace.
An unsolved mystery
Meanwhile, in the attic writing room of her elegant Hampstead home, the formidable Alice Edevane, now an old lady, leads a life as neatly plotted as the bestselling detective novels she writes. Until a young police detective starts asking questions about her family’s past, seeking to resurrect the complex tangle of secrets Alice has spent her life trying to escape . . . Amazon

To finish the post of Bookertalk wants a picture of me with my book – I’ve done one of these before and cringed each time you lovely people read the post and it comes up on the side-bar to haunt me, but not being one to shy away from a challenge – here it is!!

Cleo reading Jan 2016

The eagle-eyed amongst you will note the orange ribbon that comes with the book – something that makes me happy, books I received as a child were always more special if they included a ribbon bookmark!

Because I’m nosy and have huge book envy I will be visiting Bookertalk’s post to see who else has posted about their first read of this year.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (November 1)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

A day late, but as (surprisingly) I have a few books that have been added to my shelves, I thought I’d share them with you.

To read in November, I have The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas. Last year I enjoyed Your Beautiful Lies by this author and have my fingers crossed that this one will be equally good.

The Secret by the Lake


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.
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.
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? NetGalley

December reading includes The Thirteenth Coffin by Nigel McCrery, the creator of Silent Witness. I haven’t read the earlier books in this series but I did enjoy Silent Witnesses his non-fiction book the history of forensic science.

The Thirteenth Coffin


Stretching along the shelf, standing upright, were twelve wooden coffins. Nine were closed, and three open . . . with little dolls standing inside them . . .
It was supposed to be the most special day of her life – until the unthinkable happened. Leslie Petersen is shot dead on her wedding day. With the bride’s killer vanished without a trace, the investigation into the murder grinds to a halt before it’s even begun. But then, the decomposing body of an unidentified homeless man is found in an old Cold War bunker, and DCI Mark Lapslie makes a bizarre discovery. Hidden near the body is a shrine full of miniature wooden coffins. Each coffin contains a little doll, all dressed differently. One of the dolls is dressed as a bride – could this be a link to Leslie’s murder? And if so, who do the other dolls represent? Can Lapslie and his team stop the countdown of the ‘dying dolls’ before it’s too late? NetGalley

And for January I have a copy of Dead Pretty by David Mark, the fifth in the Aector McAvoy series.

Dead Pretty


Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days.
One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won’t let either of them go until justice can be done.
But some people have their own ideas of what justice means… NetGalley

I also have a copy of the Murder on the Common by Keith Pedder which my brother has been urging me to read for quite some time, this is the true story of the murder trial where the chief suspect Colin Stagg was found not guilty. Written before he was acquitted and the real murderer discovered, this is Keith Pedder’s justification of the methods used to put Colin Stagg on trial.

Murder on the Common


No one could have imagined that when beautiful young Rachel Nickell went for a walk on Wimbledon Common with her little son, it would have resulted in a wicked, sickening crime that appalled a nation; or that the police investigation that followed would cost millions of dollars. This is the inside story of that operation by the police detective that headed it up. It reveals information that has hitherto been withheld, and spectacularly prints letters from the police involved in the operation to the chief suspect that will astonish the reader and bring the details of this terrible case right back into the public eye. Goodreads

I have a copy of The House of Memories by Monica McInerney, author of Hello from the Gillespies

The House of Memories


Sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are those that matter most.
Following a tragic accident, Ella O’Hanlon flees to the other side of the world in an attempt to escape her grief, leaving behind the two people she blames for her loss: Aidan, the love of her life, and Jess, her spoilt half-sister.
In London Ella is taken in by her beloved uncle Lucas, whose extraordinary house holds many wonderful memories for her. Along with other members of the very colourful Fox family, Lucas helps Ella to see that she is not the only one still hurting, and that forgiveness can be the greatest healer in a family and in a marriage.
For anyone who has ever loved and lost, this is an exquisitely moving and life-affirming novel by the internationally bestselling author of Lola’s Secret. Goodreads

Lastly, my pre-order of The Lake House by Kate Morton finally arrived!

The Lake House


Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…
One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.
Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.
A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read. Goodreads

What have you found to read this week?