When we first meet 16 year-old Alice Edevane it’s 1933 and she’s peering out of the bathroom window of her family’s Cornwall estate, trying to get a glimpse of Benjamin Munro, their family’s handsome new gardener. He’s a kindred spirit who, like her, keeps journals of his observations of the world. Unlike her family, he listens to and appreciates the stories she writes, admiring her cleverness. As Alice is hiding in the bathroom, the rest of the Edevane household is busily preparing for the midsummer party, an annual family tradition to which hundreds of people have been invited. What they don’t know is that tragedy will strike during that party, a tragedy that will echo throughout the rest of their lives: Their beloved baby brother Theo disappears and is never found.
Fast forward to 2003 when we meet Sadie Sparrow, a young London police detective who has gotten into a bit of political trouble in her office and is taking a few weeks off until things cool down. She heads down to Cornwall to stay with her beloved grandfather. Soon bored, she becomes curious about the Edevane child’s disappearance, now a 70-year-old cold case. Sadie tenaciously investigates and ultimately makes contact with Alice Edevane, now a popular mystery writer in London and nearing the end of her career. Alice has been carrying her own secrets since the night of that fateful midsummer party.
I’m a huge Kate Morton fan and once again, she completely captivated me with her newest book, The Lake House. Ever since I read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett as a kid, I’ve loved stories with old dark mansions hiding family secrets and the plucky and tenacious girls who must uncover those secrets despite everyone’s warnings to stay away. Although The Lake House is in our adult fiction collection, I could easily recommend it to older teens who enjoy a good gothic page-turner. (This title will be published on October 20, 2015.)