Summary: Amy’s always felt like something’s been missing in her life, but as a nanny for the Laurent family – Julia, Alain, Viviane – she feels complete.
So Amy wouldn’t think of leaving them when a sudden tragedy forces them to move from France to the small lakeside cottage in the isolated Somerset village where Julia grew up.
But there’s something strange about the cottage by the lake. This is where Julia spent her childhood. But she used to have an older sister, Caroline, whom she rarely speaks about…
Who disappeared at just seventeen…
Who has a secret the whole village wants kept hidden for ever…
As soon as I saw the cover and read the synopsis of this book, I knew that I had to read it. And I am so very glad that I had that reaction because The Secret by the Lake is an incredible book that I found very hard to put down. It’s creepy, addictive and compelling in the best ways. I was instantly pulled into the story and fell in love with the storyline, the characters and the writing style. It was a book that reminded me of why I love reading.
There is an eerieness to this book that Louise Douglas has pulled off incredibly well. As I was reading, I could imagine every single thing that was happening. It was written in that way that even though everything was working just fine, something just felt a little off and not quite right. In many ways it reminded me of the atmosphere in Hot Fuzz. Everything there works fine but actually, underneath it all, there’s something mysterious going on. I found this part of the novel so brilliant to read about as it made it feel so real to me. It also helped to really make this book have a creepy, unputdownable feel.
One of my favourite things about any book is the characters and in The Secret by the Lake, Louise has written powerful, strong, and fully-rounded characters that I fell in love with. I adored Amy and could feel for her and the way that she felt like her life was, at the start, just something where she went from one tragedy to the next. But she grew so much throughout the novel and really came into her own. She was strong, but still with her own weakness, powerful and vigilant and I just loved reading the novel from her perspective. I also enjoyed reading about Daniel and how sweet and gentle he could be while also being very protective and caring. Vivi and Julia were again, fantastic characters with Vivi really helping to bring out the eerie feel to the book but also being a lovely, vibrant and colourful child. Whereas Julia was a very complex and interesting character and it was lovely to see her come out of her shell as the story progressed.
I absolutely adored the storyline of this novel. I loved all of the little twists and turns as the mystery of it all was finally revealed. I did work out early on what was actually going on – and did a little woo, when I realised I was right – but Louise also added in a few more things that I never would have guessed. And I loved that. I loved that even though I thought I was on point with it all, I was also incredibly wrong about it all too. Definitely made the read that much more interesting and exciting for me. It takes a very talented writer to spoon-feed the story the way she did and I loved the empty room as a way of doing it.
Or Fight Them
In case it isn’t yet obvious, I adored this novel from the very first page until the very last. It is eerie and creepy and yet you feel that you cannot put it down because you need to know what is going on. You need to know what happened and uncover the truth of it all. It’s compelling and addictive and a book that I will very happily read again. Louise Douglas has a wonderful way with words and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her books because if they’re even half as good as this one, I know I’ll absolutely love them. So, if you’re looking for a book that will keep you hooked throughout, definitely pick up The Secret by the Lake.
** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **