Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Review: Daughters of the Lake by Jane Riddell

Daughters of the Lake, by Jane Riddell
2014, 269p, Contemporary Fiction
My Rating=3.5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the author for an honest review

Daughters of the Lake is a contemporary family drama set in Switzerland. Madalena invites her four adult children to celebrate her hotel's fortieth anniversary, unaware of their tensions and secrets. As the day of the celebration approaches, confused emotions take hold, and the occasion goes badly wrong. Set against a backdrop of mountains and lakes, this is a story of love, betrayal and family conflict.

If you enjoy family drama, this is the book for you! This is a family with secrets and some of them are big ones! 

The book is set in Switzerland and is the story of Madalena and her four children: Lawrence, 41, Portia, 40, Vienne, 37, and Annie, 35. We don't learn much about Lawrence (hence, the name of the book) but enough to know that he's not close to the rest of them. Portia and Annie are tight and Vienne is left out and it doesn't take long to realize the reason for that. 

It took me a while to get into this book because I was uncomfortable with the situations going on and didn't find any of the characters very likable. Portia is divorced with one child, 13-year-old Lucy, and is an attorney. She is also hiding the largest secret and avoids certain family members because of it. Vienne is a concert pianist who has trust issues with her husband and has some health concerns. Annie runs a cafe and was in a relationship with a woman who was pregnant and recently left Annie for a man. Lawrence won't even stay in the same hotel with the family due to his guilty secret. Even the mother, Madalena, had a secret she was keeping from her children. 

Their stories slowly unfold throughout the course of the book so it takes a while to piece everything together. Towards the end, something happens that could have been explosive. It wasn't but wound up answering some questions and was a game changer for some of the characters. I did find the ending satisfying and hopeful. These are characters I can't say that I loved but I did find them interesting. This is a book that did keep my attention, even during the rough patches, and I think it's well written, so again, it's worth reading if you enjoy family drama and secrets!

As far as content goes, there is reference to an affair and a few swear words, including one "f" word.  

Jane Riddell grew up in Glasgow, Scotland but defected to Edinburgh in her thirties, after living in New Zealand and Australia. For many years she worked for the NHS as a dietitian and health promoter. In 2006 she took a career break to move with her family to Grenoble, France, for three years. During this time she wrote more seriously, so seriously that when she returned to Edinburgh she decided to make writing her 'job'.

Jane writes contemporary fiction, and is a keen blogger, including penning letters from a Russian cat. She is always on the lookout for interesting authors to interview for her Papillon blog. If you fit this category, email her on:

Jane holds a Masters in Creative Writing. In 2011 she started a small editing business, Choice Words Editing. She is currently rewriting her second novel, Chergui's Child, a long work in progress....

Her debut novel, Water's Edge, is published by ThornBerry Publishing and is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.

Her editing guide, Words'Worth - a fiction writer's guide to serious editing, is published by ThornBerry Publishing and is available in paperback from Amazon.

Jane is enthusiastic, addicted to chocolate and has a dysfunctional relationship with time.


sherry fundin said...

The blurb is interesting and your review shows me this is worth the read. Thanks for sharing a new book to me. I do like that cover!
sherry @ fundinmental

Melanie said...

I don't always mention covers, but yes, I like this one, too! I'm glad it interests you and look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

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