Christmas Reading

It has always been a tradition in our family from the time I was a child to spend a lot of the Christmas season reading the new books I got as presents.  My parents are gone now but my sister and I still purchase books for each other every year and a good deal of our break is spent reading.  This year I got Ian Rankin’s new book – Even in the Wild and The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro.

This Christmas I was still reading a book that I had started on December 13th and so rather than start a book that I got for Christmas, I kept reading The Lake House by Kate Morton and I completed it yesterday.  I will post my review below.  Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it but I did point out some issues in my review that I had with it.

I hope that everyone has a peaceful and safe New Years and I will post again early in the new year.

The Lake House by Kate Morton:

I am rating this book as 3.75 out of 5 stars.  In my opinion it is the standard Kate Morton book in that there is great detail, many red herrings and the ultimate conclusion nicely tied up.  It had been a while since I had read a Kate Morton book and I had forgotten how much detail she puts into her books and that I have to slow down my reading in order to catch everything.  Normally a book of this size I would have finished in a week, however, this took me over two weeks to complete.

The plot revolves around the disappearance of a toddler in the 1930’s.  The family were quite wealthy and lived in Cornwall on an estate at a lake.  The small boy disappeared one night during a party and was never found.  The family was so devastated that they walked out of the house, locked it and never went back.  Seventy years later, Detective Sadie Sparrow stumbles upon the house while staying with her grandfather.  Sadie is on a “suggested” leave from her job and has gone to spend a few weeks with her grandfather in Cornwall.  While out for a jog she finds the abandoned house and starts to ask questions.  The mystery of the disappearance of the toddler intrigues Sadie and she begins to investigate.

The narrative flips back and forth between the past and the present.  We hear the points of view of the mother of the missing child and his sisters.  Each feels guilty about the situation in a different way.  At the same time, we see Sadie struggling with an issue from her past.

While I enjoyed this book and would recommend it, I did have some issues with it.  The house had apparently been abandoned for seventy years but yet when Sadie obtains the keys and enters the house, the only indication of decay was that it was extremely dusty.  If this were real life, a house abandoned for that many years in damp Cornwall would have many other issues such as rotting floorboards, damp walls and rodent infestation.  There was a minor indication that there was a neighbor that looked after the grounds of the estate, but that really not much had been done and the gardens and grounds were largely overgrown.  The author also described Sadie opening the gate so that she could drive in to the front of the house on the driveway.  Again, seventy years later there would have been many trees growing up through the driveway and it would have been impassable.  I also find with Kate Morton’s books that they are a maze with respect to red herrings.  You are taken on so many different paths as to how the mystery might be solved that by the time I actually get to the end, I just want it to be done.

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