The Lake House

The Lake House

4.5 51
by Kate Morton

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Keeper comes a “moody, suspenseful page-turner” (People, Best Book Pick) filled with mystery and spellbinding secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Keeper comes a “moody, suspenseful page-turner” (People, Best Book Pick) filled with mystery and spellbinding secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories.

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a novelist. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old Edevane estate—now crumbling and covered with vines. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies from a masterful storyteller, The Lake House is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

Editorial Reviews

"Morton's moody, suspenseful latest is the perfect page-turner for a chilly night." -- People Magazine The Best Books of the Fall (The Lake House)
"In the latest from Morton, secrets from the past come to light in the present, a theme that is the author’s specialty…. Missing babies, maternal sacrifice, and secrets, secrets, secrets—Morton offers generous clues, only to peel back deeper layers just when the truth seems close…not short on heart-wrenching choices and rich characters." -- Booklist (The Lake House)
Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"..a rich and almost magical good old-fashioned tale...a fabulous addition to her work...whisks the reader away into another world...The Lake House is the perfect read for cold, dark nights" Ft. Worth Star Telegram (The Lake House)
The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Skillful, suspenseful, surprising...a perfect read for ...dark winter evenings...Morton is a master of suspense" The Philadelphia Inquirer (The Lake House)
San Diego Book Review
"..a stunning, well-woven mystery that will keep readers hooked through myriad twists and turns. There are secrets within secrets in this story, and every time readers think they've figured it out, something new will be revealed." -- San Diego Book Review (The Lake House)
Library Journal
New York Times best-selling author Morton (The Secret Keepers) offers another tale of families riven by dark secrets, as 14-year-old Alice Edevane's little brother Theo disappears during a lavish party at the family's sprawling estate in Cornwall, England. The case remains unsolved for 60 years, when Det. Sadie Sparrow of the London police stumbles upon the abandoned estate and approaches Alice, now a grand dame author. Fans are lining up.
Kirkus Reviews
A suspected kidnapping, a once-proud manor house, and a disgraced police officer all figure in Morton's latest multigenerational Cornish saga. In 2003, Sadie is put on administrative leave from her post with the London police force for getting too involved in a child-abandonment case. She retreats to her grandfather's house in Cornwall, and there, while jogging, she happens upon the ruin of what locals inform her is Loeanneth, the ancestral lakeside manse of the deShiel family. The story ricochets among 2003, 1911, and 1933 as we learn that Eleanor deShiel, who inspired a children's book reminiscent of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, became the chatelaine of Loeanneth thanks to a Downton Abbey-esque plot twist in which, due to the Titanic disaster, new husband Anthony Edevane inherits enough money to reclaim her birthright from creditors. But when Anthony goes to war, he returns shell-shocked and prone to unpredictable outbursts. Meanwhile, their children, Deborah, Alice and Clemmie, frolic on the grounds, oblivious to their parents' difficulties. Alice, 16, is a budding mystery writer (whose future fame will equal Agatha Christie's), but in 1933 she's nursing a teenage crush on Ben, an impecunious gardener. As a lark, she concocts a hypothetical scenario which might have prompted Ben to kidnap Theo, her baby brother. Flashbacks reveal that Deborah and Clemmie also have reason to blame themselves for Theo's disappearance during an all-night Midsummer's Eve party—he was never found and his fate remains unknown. At loose ends, Sadie investigates this cold case, developing several theories. As the various skeins intersect, the story becomes unwieldy; using multiple narrators, Morton can believably withhold information to build suspense, but when such selective nondisclosure is carried to extremes, frustrated readers may be tempted to practice their skimming. An atmospheric but overlong history of family secrets and their tormented gatekeepers.

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Atria Books
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Read an Excerpt

The Lake House



The rain was heavy now and the hem of her dress was splattered with mud. She’d have to hide it afterwards; no one could know that she’d been out.

Clouds covered the moon, a stroke of luck she didn’t deserve, and she made her way through the thick, black night as quickly as she could. She’d come earlier to dig the hole, but only now, under veil of darkness, would she finish the job. Rain stippled the surface of the trout stream, drummed relentlessly on the earth beside it. Something bolted through the bracken nearby, but she didn’t flinch, didn’t stop. She’d been in and out of the woods all her life and knew the way by heart.

Back when it first happened, she’d considered confessing, and perhaps, in the beginning, she might have. She’d missed her chance, though, and now it was too late. Too much had happened: the search parties, the policemen, the articles in the newspapers pleading for information. There was no one she could tell, no way to fix it, no way they would ever forgive her. The only thing left was to bury the evidence.

She reached the place she’d chosen. The bag, with its box inside, was surprisingly heavy and it was a relief to put it down. On hands and knees, she pulled away the camouflage of ferns and branches. The smell of sodden soil was overwhelming, of wood mouse and mushrooms, of other moldering things. Her father had told her once that generations had walked these woods and been buried deep beneath the heavy earth. It made him glad, she knew, to think of it that way. He found comfort in the continuity of nature, believing that the stability of the long past had the power to alleviate present troubles. And maybe in some cases it had, but not this time, not these troubles.

She lowered the bag into the hole and for a split second the moon seemed to peer from behind a cloud. Tears threatened as she scooped the dirt back, but she fought them. To cry, here and now, was an indulgence she refused to grant herself. She patted the ground flat, slapped her hands against it, and stomped down hard with her boots until she was out of breath.

There. It was done.

It crossed her mind that she should say something before she left this lonely place. Something about the death of innocence, the deep remorse that would follow her always; but she didn’t. The inclination made her feel ashamed.

She made her way back quickly through the woods, careful to avoid the boathouse and its memories. Dawn was breaking as she reached the house; the rain was light. The lake’s water lapped at its banks and the last of the nightingales called farewell. The blackcaps and warblers were waking, and far in the distance a horse whinnied. She didn’t know it then, but she would never be rid of them, those sounds; they would follow her from this place, this time, invading her dreams and nightmares, reminding her always of what she had done.


Meet the Author

Kate Morton, a native Australian, holds degrees in dramatic art and English literature. She lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia.

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The Lake House 4.5 out of 5 based on 13 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be too long and was scanning the pages just to finish the book. Also, the ending was ridiculous. I have read other books by Kate Morton that I have enjoyed. This book was so disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nowhere near as good as her previous books. Did not care for the charaxters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kate Morton has written another masterpiece. Her characters are so believable, you immediately feel close and are eager to find out what has happened. I like trying to figure out what has occured only to find myself wrong at the end. Everyone should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book until one very important revelation regarding Theo was revealed at the climax of the novel. Way too unbelievable not to detract from a story that was, otherwise, engrossing and hugely entertaining!!!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
“We are all victims of our human experience, apt to view the present through the lens of our own past” The Lake House is the fifth novel by Australian author, Kate Morton. DC Sadie Sparrow has had to take leave from the job she loves. She got so deeply involved in a case, following instinct over evidence, that she secretly did something that would get her suspended if her boss knew. A month in Cornwall with her widower grandfather, Bertie, and she’s itching to get back to London, where the real action is. But then one day, while running through the woods with the dogs, she stumbles upon an abandoned house by the lake. Bertie’s neighbour mentions that this was the site of the tragic disappearance of 11 month old Theo Edevane, a mystery still unsolved after seventy years: Sadie is hooked. When successful mystery writer A.C. Edevane receives a letter from the young police constable enquiring about her family’s past, she fears that the secret she has kept for seventy years is about to be revealed. Alice is sure that when she was sixteen, consumed with fervour for both her writing and a certain unsuitable person, her foolish actions leading up to the Midsummer’s Eve party were instrumental in the kidnapping of her baby brother. Morton sets her novel over two time periods. The events that led up to, and followed on from, the tragedy in the early to mid-twentieth century are narrated by many of the key players: young Alice, her mother, her father, her grandmother, a gardener, a close family friend and even baby Theo; what occurs in 2003 is told by Sadie, Alice and her assistant, Peter. And while the time periods are clearly indicated at the start of the chapters, the style of prose, the descriptions and dialogue also reflect this. Morton gives the reader an expertly crafted mystery. At first she has the reader wondering about Alice’s role in Theo’s disappearance, then, with each new revelation, has the reader discarding one theory concerning Theo’s fate and postulating another. There are miscommunications, misunderstandings, secrets and misplaced guilt. And while the main mystery involves baby Theo, there are at least three other mysteries to distract the reader. There are twists and red herrings and surprises, and the ending holds a delicious irony. And all this is done with characters that are interesting and beautiful prose that evokes the wonderful setting. “Those afternoons in the library, breathing the stale sun-warmed dust of a thousand stories (accented by the collective mildew of a hundred years of rising damp), had been enchanted. …. Peter was beset with an almost bodily sense of being back there. His limbs twitched with the memory of being nine years old and lanky as a foal. His mood lifted as he remembered how large, how filled with possibilities, and yet, at once, how safe and navigable the world had seemed when he was shut within those four walls”. A brilliant read. With thanks to TheReadingRoom and Allen&Unwin for this copy to read and review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing. Caught me completely by surprise at the end. I literally clapped my hand over my mouth in surprise! I love all her books!
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
5 stars!! Can you give more? Oh my gosh, this book was soooo good!!! I am really sad that it's over, even though it's like 600 pages long. There were actually three stories going on here. One was a present day case which got the detective into a bit of trouble and so she was on mandatory leave allowing her time for the second story. The second story and the most involved in the book was a 70 year old cold case that took place near where her grandfather now lives. She stumbled upon the case by accident and with free time decided to look into it. And boy, is it a case. An 11 month old child disappears back in 1933 or 1934 with hundreds of people on the property and no one saw nothing and he has never been found. The third story is merely hinted at and not really dwelt upon, but it deals with the child the detective gave up when she was a pregnant teenager. The cold case has the reader and the family blaming just about everyone. And most of the suspects are in the family. I can say enough about how good this story was. It was well written. It went back and forth in history to present time and let the reader know what era was being talked about. The characters were well developed and for the most part likable. The family is what you would consider upper class with a nanny and servants along with gardeners. The only kidnapping that had happened before this (according to the story) was the Lindbergh kidnapping and police were stumped. Especially since there was not a ransom note. I'm not sure if this review is coming across as to how good this story is, but believe me, it will definitely be on my top 12 for 2015. There was not once that I was bored with this book, as a matter of fact, I could not read it fast enough. It starts with a female running and hiding something and with a little boy missing. And then it goes years back and starts talking about how this family began. So you definitely know something is going to happen and that a female is involved somehow, someway. I would like to thank Atria Books for sending me this ARC. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries that leave you going "what?".
nbaker1234 More than 1 year ago
Kate Morton does it again -- another 600 page book that you read in 2 days. Just when I thought Kate Morton couldn't do any better than The Secret Keeper, she shows me that she is still the master of creating suspenseful, secretive stories that keep you hanging until the last page. I only found one small flaw in the story (even when it was first mentioned I pondered that it seemed a bit contrived), but it did nothing to affect the outcome. The Lake House revolves around two generations of one family that have owned and inhabited a lake house for many, many years. There are secrets held by everyone and for different reasons. Some secrets are the truth while others are later found to be what some "assumed" to be the truth. Grandmother, mother, father, daughters all house their guilt, shame and burdens in shadows and in silence. The mystery of a baby boy who disappeared from his crib in 1933 is at the center of the story. Seventy years after his disappearance the cold case is revisted by a detective who has been "asked to take a leave of absence" because of a case she was working in which they feel she stepped over the line. Intrigue, intuition and pure instinct are rooted in the detective's motive for trying to solve the case. Little did she realize the pandora's box she was about to open. While reading this story I cast blame on basically every character in the story (some characters more than once) and still did not see the ending coming. Entwined in the story is the thread that binds all families together, the genetic DNA parallel between kin that conjures a spiritual devotion, attachment and compassion no matter the geographic distance or circumstances that may separate them. Some people seek forgiveness for secrets kept. Some people take secrets to the grave. And some just need to visit The Lake House and see what real secrets are made of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I waited months for a new kate morton book to come out. I read all her other english books and loved them. The lake house was so disapointing I finally gave up and didn' t even finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan from Kate Morton's first book and I really feel this was her best. Hope there will be another one soon, but, can't imagine it being better than this one.
msdarann More than 1 year ago
As always, Kate has come through with a fantastic book! I think is her best workto date. Thank you Kate for another extremely well written boom, I could not put it down and was bummed out that I finished it.
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
The Lake House highlights Kate Morton’s usual style, at the intersection between historical fiction and mystery, in all its greatness. The words make you want to linger on each and the plot makes you turn the pages. Kate Morton is one of my favorite contemporary female writers. Her latest novel, The Lake House, has all the elements of Morton’s novels, smartly arranged together. As I have written here somewhere before, Morton manages to keep the same ingredients from one book to the next, without giving you the feeling of déjà vu. Not everyone has that skill!! So as in other books by this author, you have several time periods and places, with back and forth movements and intersection in the narration: Cornwall 1932-1933: The Edevane family Cornwall 2003: Sadie London 200: the author Alice and her assistant Flashbacks to the 1910s and the 1930s, focusing on the past history of the main characters, on how they met, and highlighting the effects of war on the soldiers and their families There are also several stories and groups of characters involved, and they connect: The Edevane mystery The Bailey mystery Sadie’s own life Sadie, a young detective, is having a hard time in her family and in her profession: in the last case she worked on, Sadie suspected foul play and contacted the medias about it, as the police thought there was really nothing serious going on. To avoid being suspended from her work, she is asked to go away from London for a while, the time things cool down. She decides to spend some time in a remote area in Cornwall, at her grand-father’s who raised her actually. As she goes out for a walk, she stumbles upon an old abandoned house. Curious, she gets help from a local librarian and discovers something terrible happened there decades earlier: during a Midsummer Eve’s party, Theo, the baby boy of the family, disappeared. He has never been found, and the police never found out what happened to him. So Sadie tries to reopen the case and figure it out. This is as much a historical novel (all the passages on the war) as a mystery, with two cases to solve, and many family secrets. The Edevane mystery offers numerous leads (you first think you got it, and then new leads keep multiplying – how does Kate Morton do it?!) and red-herrings, though I have to say I did see the end coming, probably from being quite familiar with the author’s style, so chapter 33 was not a surprise to me. The book does open like a thriller: by night, in the rain, a young woman is secretly digging a hole in the forest. She is burying the evidence of something she has done… Descriptions in Morton’s book are always so wonderful, both bucolic and spooky, for instance as she describes the Edevane property and the woods. She can be funny too, and quite specific, for instance in the presentation of characters (I have grand-mother Constance especially in mind.) It was also neat to see the essential place in the plot given to journals, letters, old maps, and even a mystery series written by a key character. The reader will be rewarded by a happy ending, but at the price of a lot of drama and a torturous suspense at times.
4theloveofdolls More than 1 year ago
Very well written. Characters are well developed. Just when you think you have it figured out there is a new twist. Will recommend
Jules-OneBookShy More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It kept me up all night just so I wouldn't have to put it down. Ms. Morton is a master at keeping the reader guessing from beginning to end. She draws you into the lives of the characters and makes you feel as you are right there in the midst of it all. She takes us on quite a journey as we start on our adventure with Sadie, a detective who is basically on an unwanted/unplanned leave from her job in London. Her natural curiosity is thrown into overdrive when she accidentally finds The Lake House and all of its mysterious clues just waiting to be discovered, by her. As the story progresses, we meet Alice who has written a lifetime's worth of mysteries and we find out she has also lived her life hiding in/from one. We also get to see events unfolding through the eyes of Alice's mother, Eleanor and her perspective. The weaving of different time periods, different perspectives and three different women is seamless. One of the true constants in this story is the house Loeanneth. It is the setting for the main events in the majority of the book. I enjoyed the ending of the book as it tied up several threads and answered quite a few of the questions I came up with as the story progressed. It was a very satisfying conclusion for me. Now I just think they need to make a movie of it! I received a copy from the publisher for an honest, unbiased review. Originally posted at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed every page
wendywhiner More than 1 year ago
Kate Morgan does not disappoint Probably her best book yet and the others were all excellant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was so engrossing. The sense of place drew you in. My only gripe being the need to make the resolution so pat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great story by Kate Morton. Couldn't put it down. Fabulous job Kate!
Anonymous 3 days ago
Another wonderful book that transports you to another time and place
Anonymous 17 days ago
KATE Morton does it again, she draws you into the book and you don't want to let go. The ending is always different from what you think it should be. Great read and wonderful author, I off to read another of hers.
Two2dogs 3 months ago
I did enjoy this book, kept me interested to the end! Good story!
BookReferees 3 months ago
The story begins in 1933 with 16-year-old lovestruck, aspiring mystery writer Alice Edevane whose life is about to be turned upside down. On the night of the Midsummer Eve party, not only is her life forever changed when an incident occurs, but the event also leaves the family in turmoil so much that, after that night they leave the lake house and move to London never returning, ever. Fast forward to 2003 where we meet Detective Sade Sparrow of the London Police Department who is forced to take a leave due to her handling of a case involving a young girl abandoned by her mother and the grandmother who is concerned. While on leave, Sadie goes to Cornwall also the location of the lake house, to visit her grandfather Bertie. While there and running her dogs she stumbles on the estate where the lake house is located and the start of another mystery for her begins. I love how Ms. Morton connects these two events to create an excellent mystery that had me turning the pages to see what, who, and why. I do have to say here that for me the book was bogged down some with unnecessary details, but it didn't take away from the story. I liked the seamless way she flips back and forth in time using the different characters point of view to tell the story. This book also appealed to me because I enjoy historical mysteries. The Lake House by Kate Morton is an excellent book with secrets, lies, love and more that I enjoyed and highly recommend. Buy this book!
Anonymous 4 months ago
GratefulGrandma 7 months ago
I loved this book. It was so many things wrapped up in one. A little historical fiction, some crime and detective work as well as some romance that lends itself to chick lit. This book has two different story lines 70 years apart. A young boy, Theo Edevane, goes missing at a midsummer party. No body if found, not ransom note is ever sent. In 2003, a policewoman, Sadie Sparrow, is at odds with her superiors due to a leak to the media and she stumbles upon the uninhabited Lake House. A third character, is Alice Edevane, a female author, who just happens to be the sister of the missing child. When Sadie finds out about the mystery surrounding the house, her police instincts kick in and she starts to investigate. Trying to get in contact with Alice is not as easy as she had hoped. Alice does not want to reopen old wounds. The back story is told from the perspectives of Alice and her mother Constance. We learn about Alice's love of writing, her mother's romance with Anthony Edevane and his time in WWI. Sadie's story develops as well, her past with her parents and grandparents as well as the case that caused her forced vacation in Cornwall. As with all Morton novels, this story was very descriptive and atmospheric. I almost felt like I was there. There was a little suspense, a family tragedy, secrets and at last, closure. As for the end, I did not suspect until just before it was revealed. Many did not like the ending, but I thought it tied everything together and ended on a happy note. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.