I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Penguin UK on January 24, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Crime, Psychological, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Cozy, General, Ghost, Gothic, Romance, Domestic, Family Life, Marriage & Divorce, Military, Horror
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
No matter how far you run . . .He's never far behind
'Gripping, poignant' Rosamund Lupton
'Eerily haunting' Jane Corry
'I literally couldn't put it down' Emma Curtis
Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend's rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It's miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.
But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren't as safe as she thought.
What secrets have Rowan Isle House - and her friend - kept hidden all these years?
And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?
**BUY THE NEW SPELLBINDING THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF DAY OF THE ACCIDENT AND MY SISTER'S BONES**__________________________________________
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT NUALA ELLWOOD
'Creepy and deliciously atmospheric, this page-turner has it all - twists and turns and a powerful emotional punch' Teresa Driscoll
'What a great book! It's got everything a good thriller needs, a creepy old house, a remote location, some great complex characters and lots of perfectly timed twists and turns' Netgalley Reader
'Makes you question everything you thought you knew' Emma Kavanagh
'Brilliantly compulsive and with one hell of a twist!' Claire Douglas
The House On The Lake. The synopsis, the atmosphere, the struggle. It held such incredible promise. A woman, Lisa is on the run from her husband, Mark. A woman and her three-year-old son, Joe. An impossible situation that finally breaks the woman – it gives her the edge and the courage to leave. She essentially kidnaps her son and goes on the run, a plan loosely concocted. She must make it to her friends Yorkshire cottage. A cottage on the lake. Rowan Isle House. A story told in dual timeframes. The plan didn’t account for how dilapidated the house would be. It’s no place for a frightened woman…no place for a three-year-old boy. Hostile and cold just like the life Lisa has been living.
We also have the point of view of an eleven-year-old girl, Grace approximately fifteen years previously. The similarities between the two storylines are startling. They are both living unconventional lives in the house. The walls of Rowan Isle House has seen some sights. Grace is living with her father, who is ex SAS and from all appearances seems to be experiencing the symptoms of PTSD. The girl has an extremely harsh life and it is so far away from a regular childhood it is awful. He treats her more like a solider, referring to her as solider number one – but only when she passes the tasks that deem her to be worthy of the title.
Unfortunately, House On The Lake didn’t work for me. The plot just seemed to be so inconceivably unbelievable. The urge to escape a terrifying domestic abuse situation is strong, especially when a child is involved but to escape to an inhospitable house with no electric, water or heating just seemed idiotic. Where was the simple and rational thought process of staying with friends or even accessing the help available through the avenues of the police and women’s aid? I fully accept the fear factor and it always isn’t easy but surely it would have easier than the route she chose?
One other thing I found at odds with the situation and Lisa’s behaviour was just how much she put herself out there. She didn’t want to be memorable to those in the village, but she didn’t exactly do the whole incognito deal well. She would be terrible in a spy situation. At the very least she could have had a name change. That was one aspect of the plot that just didn’t add up.
The House On The Lake was just extremely slow and for most of the book nothing of any note seemed to happen in relation to Lisa and Joe’s story. I couldn’t bring myself to be invested or to really care about the conclusion of her story. Grace was a more pragmatic narrative, but I was only slightly more invested in her as a character. Although this was the first book I’ve read by the author I will attempt one of her other books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nuala Ellwood is the daughter of an award-winning journalist. She was inspired by his experiences and those of foreign correspondents such as Marie Colvin and Martha Gellhorn to secure Arts Council funding for her research into PTSD for her debut psychological thriller MY SISTER’S BONES.
I thought this sounded like a gripping read from the synopsis but reading your thoughts clearly shows that this was not the case. Once you notice how implausible something is, you can’t unsee it, can you? Hopefully your next read will be more enjoyable. Great review.
Thanks. Yes unfortunately. I just couldn’t see past the plot holes.
The premise sounds like exactly the kind of book I’d love, but perhaps it wasn’t executed as well as Ellwood’s other books.
This did sound promising..too bad!