There was a point in time when I was a huge fan of Kate Morton. I still like her work, but I used to be obsessed with every one of her books, and I would always be on the lookout for one of her new releases. The premise of this novel reminded me of the type of story Kate Morton concocts, so I knew it would be worth giving a shot. Here is my review:
In 1935 at a remote vacation home in Minnesota, 6-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her bedroom. Her disappearance tears the family apart, and Emily’s mother, along with her two older sisters, spend the rest of their lives in that lake house, hoping that Emily will return to them. 60 years later, Lucy, the middle sister, is the only one still alive. But before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she bequeaths to her grandniece, Justine.
For Justine, hearing the news of her great-aunt passing is sad. But she is relieved to have the chance to return to the lake house, and escape her manipulative boyfriend. With her two daughters, she travels to the house hoping that it will become a sanctuary for them. However, the house is no longer what it used to be. It is cold, run-down, and their only source of human contact is an old man. And the problems don’t end there. Justine’s eldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, Justine’s mother arrives with plans to get her hands on the inheritance, and her manipulative boyfriend tries to come back into her life with a dangerous plan. In a house marked by tragedy, Justine must face her worst fears to save herself and her family.
The synopsis that I have provided here does not do this novel justice, but anything more that I say would just ruin the story. This book moves in a slow yet intriguing way, switching between the voice of Lucy and that of Justine. Both of these women are so similar in their thinking and way of behaving, and yet they retain their separate identities. The story itself is tragic and unfolds beautifully, capturing one’s attention from the very beginning and holding it until the very end. While the disappearance of the child is what brought me to this book in the first place, it was the tale of growing up, learning to love, and exploring life itself that kept me here. If you are looking for a good historical fiction that explores the lives of 5 generations of women, then this would be a great place to start!