Literary Friday: The Lake House

Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  So sorry that this post is so late, but this flu has totally knocked me on my butt!  I also want to apologize to last week's participants.  I promise I will visit your blogs and read your posts from last week later today.

This week I read The Lake House by Kate Morton.  She is one of my very favorite writers, and I can't wait to discuss this book next week at Our Book Club meeting!  :)

from Goodreads:

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

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. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. 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 estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. 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, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

I received this book for Christmas, and it is definitely a keeper along with Morton's other books. What I love most about the book is the setting: the Loeanneth Estate in Cornwall.  Loeanneth means "lake house" in Cornish, and I can't think of a more lovely setting than a lake house close to the sea in sunny Cornwall.  The house itself becomes a character in the saga of the Edevane family: neglected, abandoned, but never forgotten.  The atmosphere of Loeanneth is magical: One wouldn't be surprised to find Cornish pixies and other fairies in the gardens surrounding the lake.

Point of view is so important to the story that the reader gains insight that the other characters never know.  These characters are all hiding secrets, and in order to unravel the tangled plot, head-hopping is a necessity.  Alice's point of view as a teenager is annoying as she is self-absorbed to the point that she's wearing blinders to everyone else's narrative.  I much preferred Alice's point of view as an octagenarian; her character becomes much more likable as the story progresses.  Eleanor is perhaps the most intriguing character in the entire book.  Please pay close attention to her narrative. Although flawed, she also suffers the most loss.  Sadie's story is a little confusing.  It took me a while to catch on to what is going on in her life.  Her story arc is fascinating: She is smart, and she is confident in her instincts as well as her investigative abilities.  Had it not been for her inimitable determination, two closed cases would have gone unsolved.  

Morton is the master at family saga/dramas.  Her stories always delve deep into family histories and secrets, and the settings are usually glorious English country estates.  All of her characters are complex, and they are relatable even when their narratives are flawed.  The Lake House is not my favorite of Morton's books, but I did love it.  My only criticism is the ending: Everything falls into place a wee bit too easily for me.  I started losing my suspension of disbelief.

You may read my reviews of Morton's other books by clicking on the links:  The Distant Hours and The Secret Keeper.  I thought I'd reviewed The Forgotten Garden on my blog, but apparently not.  I'll try to write a review of it soon because it's my favorite of all her books.

What have you been reading lately?  This is a link party!

Art @ Home

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Literary Friday: The Rosemary Spell

Friday, February 5, 2016

Happy Literary Friday!  So sorry for posting this late, but I'm slow moving this morning.  This week I read The Rosemary Spell by Virginia Zimmerman.  It's this quarter's book club selection for Page à Vu.  Click on the button below and visit the blog!

Page à Vu

According to Goodreads:

Best friends Rosie and Adam find an old book with blank pages that fill with handwriting before their eyes. Something about this magical book has the power to make people vanish, even from memory. The power lies in a poem—a spell. When Adam's older sister, Shelby, disappears, they struggle to retain their memories of her as they race against time to bring her back from the void, risking their own lives in the process.

I really enjoyed this little book.  It's characterized as a middle grades book probably because the main characters are in middle school, but I think YA readers will enjoy it, too, given the supernatural qualities of the magical book.  Thought to be a Shakespeare false codex, the mysterious book contains a list of flowers and herbs found in Shakespeare's writings.  The rosemary spell is from Ophelia's mad speech:  "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray [you], love, remember." This book would enhance the reading of Hamlet and/or Macbeth.

The codex itself is found in Rosie's room which at one time belonged to a famous poet, Constance Brook.  Rosie and Adam are partners working on a classroom poetry project and decide to choose Constance as their topic.  They believe she's their only hope in saving Shelby from the void, but when they visit her at the nursing home it's clear that Alzheimer's has taken its toll on her once sharp and creative brain.  Constance does have a few lucid moments, and with her hints and their research, Rosie and Adam think they know how to rescue Shelby, but they are pushed for time because the spell becomes permanent at the start of the new moon.

The timing could not have been better for my reading this book because we are reading Hamlet now in school, and next week we'll read a few sonnets before moving on to Macbeth.  I've already decided to assign The Rosemary Spell as independent reading next week.  

Thanks to Beth, Angie, and Kenzie for a great choice for this quarter!

This book also contributes to my Gothic Book Challenge hosted by Diana @ Book of Secrets.

What have you been reading this week?  This is a link party!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

I *heart* You!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Happy Wednesday, My Lovelies!
 I hope your day is better than mine.  The cold I had last week decided to morph into Influenza-A Monday.  (I know that's medically impossible, but the point is I'm sure the cold and then going to two horse shows over the weekend didn't help.)

The good news is that Tamiflu is a miracle drug.  I'm so much better after only two doses.

I already had these photos of hearts around our home in my camera, so I thought I'd share.  

My latest Valentine's Day decor bought this year at Pier1
I like the ribbon because it reminds me of MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check!

Mr. Art @ Home bought me these MacKenzie-Childs bowls for Christmas.
I think they look great with my older placemats.

These photos are from the dining room.  If the heart placemats seem familiar, it's because they can be buttoned together to form a table runner.

I know I post this heart all the time, but I love it.  I bought it when we'd only been married a year or so.  There is a hanging charm for each month, and of course February's is a heart.

I did read a book this week, so there will be a Literary Friday post tomorrow.  It just might not be my best post, and it will probably be brief.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill
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