I finally finished reading this amazing book, The Lake House. I think Kate Morton is going to be my favourite author for the next few weeks. I came across this book when I was googling ‘What to read after The Thirteenth Tale’ and even though the list mentioned The House at Riverton first, I somehow felt like I’d enjoy The Lake House more. Mainly because it literally mentions ‘lake’ and ‘house’ implying the role these two play in the story. I have always had a thing for stories where the house plays an important role.
The story begins with young Alice burying something in the woods before taking the reader to the night when baby Theo went missing. In the next chapter, we are introduced to Sadie Sparrow, a young detective who stumbles upon the now abandoned Lonneath. Sadie is on a forced leave because she had leaked information to a journalist about a case she was involved in. The story behind the sad, lonely house in Cornwall somehow grabs her attention and she decides to find out what happened to baby Theo 70 years ago.
Alice Edavane is a successful writer now and when Sadie contacts her, she refuses to reply. Her assistant, Peter assumes that she just feels too tired (or arrogant) to speak to a stranger but the reader gets a glimpse of the guilt and fear that are holding her back. During a conversation with her sister, Deborah, it is revealed that Deborah has been keeping a secret all these years. She tells Alice that Clementine and she had discovered that their mother was having an affair with Benjamin Munro and that their father must have killed Theo because the two had been stupid enough to reveal it to him. Apparently he was suffering from shell shock and at times he used to lose control of himself. But Sadie is already aware of Anthony’s condition after her meeting with the former nanny’s niece.
Alice, who has been thinking all these years that her first manuscript which gave a detailed description of a baby being kidnapped must have helped Ben kidnap the child for money, decides to find out what really happened. She gets in touch with Sadie and gives her the keys to Lonneath. What they all discover there is predictable but beautiful nonetheless.
The story as such was not very unique but the way the author has narrated it is brilliant. The lake house is the protagonist of the story. The people in it are just secondary characters- each one with their own secret. Their version of what happened to baby Theo all those years ago. Sadie Sparrow’s storyline seemed a little unnecessary at first. I felt like too many pages are being wasted away in describing that abandoned child, the grandmother of the child (who kept insisting that her daughter won’t abandon her child) and the nearly perfect ex-husband. But at the end, it made sense. It was a parallel storyline that helped Sadie understand the unsolved case of the missing Edevane child and vice versa.
It had the kind of happy ending I like. A closure for the characters but with a lingering melancholy.