by Karen Katchur
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books
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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 GudenkaufWhat I loved most about this book was it reminded me of one of my favorite movies A Walk on The Moon (Diane Lane). The whole atmosphere of living in cabin by the lake and the summertime laziness is very well portrayed in this story. The story is told from multiple perspectives, mostly from 12 year old Caroline. A story I would only recommend to older teens and adults. It covers a lot of serious issues and is definitely not a light summer read. (Although I couldn't stop turning pages!)
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.
It begins with the drowning of a young girl that closes the beach for several days for recovery. With the atmosphere set for the story of loss that reminds the whole area of other drownings in the past. And when bones are found while searching for Sara, secrets, lies and an old case of drowning re-opens in the hearts of the community. Caroline's family is the focus of the story and the behavior of those living in the cabin for the summer gets her searching deeper into the the last drowning, 26 year old Billy Hawkes.
Caroline has to do a lot of growing up over this summer. With the main source of entertainment (the lake) being closed off, the kids must find other ways to keep busy. This seclusion also has Caroline realizing how different she is than her friend Megan and she beings spending more time alone or with the boys.
Jo, Caroline's mother has had strained relationships with all of her family members. She is constantly on the run from her past and present, easily scared off. This summer causes her to re-analyze and re-build her relationships, especially when they are all directly confronted with the past.
I loved this story, the prose and atmosphere of the setting was very well done and had me longing for more. At it's heart it is a story of family and growing apart from each other. It covers a lot of adult topics, as well as a coming of age story. A lot of mystery, secrets, heart break and healing. It was a really touching read.