I received this eBook from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.
A haunting story about the destructive power of secrets, this accomplished and gripping suspenseful women’s fiction debut is perfect for fans of Lisa Scottoline and Heather Gudenkauf
Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend’s drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother’s love and doesn’t understand why Jo keeps running away.
Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her—but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community’s tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family. The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur is a riveting novel that is impossible to put down and hard to forget.
I really enjoyed this book! The story intrigues you from the start and has you reading chapter after chapter to find out what happens next. The story is told mostly through the eyes of 12 year old Caroline but you also get insight from her mother Jo and her father Kevin.
Caroline and her brother are dropped off every summer with their grandmother and their mother can’t get away from the small lake community surrounded by the Poconos Mountains quick enough. This always hurts Caroline’s feelings because she thinks her mother is running away and it has something to do with the small town. If only she really knew!
Shortly after arriving the town experiences a tragedy when a young girl goes missing near the lake. Caroline feels responsible because she was with the little girl before it happen but it also brings back memories for her mother. These events keep her mother in town for the summer and also bring her dad to town. It reminds them both of a drowning from their youth that involves their son but both are fighting to keep that secret buried. The parents to me seems to have this marriage that was built on the events from the past and have allowed these events to affect not only their marriage but also their relationships with both kids.
I enjoyed the feeling I had of walking around this town through Caroline’s eyes and seeing everything she did with the emotional maturity of a 12 year old. We can all remember and relate to those feelings of wanting to still be a kid but knowing that it’s all changing. Wanting to know more about the “adult” things happening but feeling like an outsiders because you’re still seen as a child.
The book covers the search for the missing girl over about a 7-10 day span. You watch stories unravel and see how the past still affects some of the people living in this small town now. Each chapter feels like a part of a TV series that you’re binging on Netflix because you get to find out what happens next immediately! You meet the business owners that are angry the search for the little girl is getting in the way of profits for the summer. You meet the townies that live in this community all year around that are stuck or as they author says they have the lake water in their blood. There were times I wanted to punch the owner of the pavilion who thinks he owns the town. I really wanted to see him get his because of his arrogant, cocky attitude. I developed feelings for the townies and wanted to see the pain some endured because of the past healed.
I think this is a great book to read if you’re looking for something quick but thought provoking. I read it in about 3 days. 3.5 Stars for sure! I would have liked the book a little longer but that’s just a personal preference because I devour them so quickly.
Learn more about the author at www.KarenKatchur.com