gardens

Book Review: The Lake House by Kate Morton

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After reading a few Kate Morton novels last year, I found myself enamored with her storytelling and character creation abilities. I added all of her books to my TBR and included The Lake House on my monthly Book Bucket List on my blog, where followers vote to select one read per month for me — this won as my June novel and I finished it over 6 days last week. With a new puppy in the house, reading and book reviewing time is not as easy as usual but I’m determined to meet my June TBR goals. While I absolutely adored this book, there were a few times I felt disconnected and disappointed, or that the coincidences were a little too much, but not for too long or in any way to truly bother me.
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The story focuses on several characters in England mostly during the 1910s to the 1930s, and then current time which is set in the 2000s. In the 1920s, the Edevane family is recuperating from World War 1 where while no one died, the savagery of war has had its toll on relationships. Alice is the focus, the middle sister who never quite fit in the family and became a mystery writer. When her younger brother disappears, and her two other sisters begin to act oddly, something seems off. Throw in a battleaxe for a grandmother, a fun but peculiar uncle-type, and some very attentive or non-attentive nannies, there’s got to be something bad that happened to the little boy… but was he kidnapped, killed, or is someone making things up about his childhood? When Alice’s book covers some of those true-life situations, people wonder what happened years ago… in modern times, Sadie has been put on leave after she made a mistake during an investigation, so the cop visits her grandfather and gets caught up in the old Edevane case while taking some rest. This is a story about missing children, lost children, and kidnapped children… there are a few cases going on, but they are not connected in any way other than as situations to help readers reflect on the character’s emotions and lives.

What I love about Morton’s writing is the imagery and depth you see, hear, and experience. Everything feels like it’s unfolding right before your eyes on a stage. Among the always present gardens, large estates, dysfunctional families, and interconnected historic and modern times, you’re carried away into a dreamlike state where you can happily immerse yourself in beauty and lyrical action. Morton also excels at weaving together multiple stories that have both small and large connections you begin to assemble along the path. At times, it’s a bit too connected or coincidental, but truthfully, isn’t that part of why we read books? We want to experience something new and different, a shock or a twist… if it was all simple and straightforward, there wouldn’t be a lot of drama to dig into. So while it can be a bit overdone or over-the-top (even in my own writing, I would agree it happens), it also is what truly makes the book spectacular in other ways. It’s a story with a start and a finish, so it’s going to have very specific reasons for things happening. In this one, it all felt natural as it could have happened just pushed together too closely in a few occasions.

I also struggled a bit in the early pages as there were a few too many characters to keep track of, and with so many women across 4 generations, it was often a confusing in the beginning of a chapter to know which one we were talking about. It was done purposefully to add intrigue and suspense, which I understand, but sometimes it was a little too much. Other than those concerns, I was very happy with the story. It isn’t my favorite Morton, but I find myself still thinking about it days later… Morton captures the young heroine trying to solve the past like no other author I know. She can also brilliantly build the amazing balance in an octogenarian who is torn, but also a bit of a curmudgeon about the past. You feel the indeterminable strength in the woman who can’t let go but is desperate for a closure that seems destined to cause more pain.

I am thrilled with this book, especially with the last 25% and how it all came together. Stunning poetry at times. I can’t wait to read her latest book, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, which I just got approved for on NetGalley.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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365 Challenge: Day 193 – Touring

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Touring: wandering around checking out all the important stuff

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Today started off with a quick drive through Chapel Hill and then we took off for Duke University in Durham. We wandered the campus and saw a bunch of beautiful old buildings and chapels. It was over 90 degrees in the sun, so I kept looking for shady areas. I also felt guilty because students were in classes and I got to spend the morning touring. After, we went to the gardens and had a golf cart drive us around for part of the way before we walked the rest on our own. So many great trees and flowers. Best part of the day!

We had lunch in the downtown area and shopped in old village stores. We later drove to Raleigh and checked out neighborhoods. A few cool ones and a few run down ones. Toured the state capitol building which was awesome. I think Charlotte is still the nicest of all the cities, but we have more to see tonight in Cary and downtown Raleigh. Off to meet a friend’s sister for dinner. A home cooked meal! No touring tonight but back at it tomorrow with Greensboro and Winston Salem. See ya soon. Enjoy the pics.

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New hotel room in Chapel Hill at the Siena

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Final picture at Chapel Hill as we toured around

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Walkway into Duke Gardens

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Entrance Fountain at Duke

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One of the sitting areas in the garden

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Pond at Duke

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Stone Gardens Built into the Walls

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Asian Gardens at Duke

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Ducks at Duke

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Another Duke Walkway

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Waterfall

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Tree Path

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Pathway while walking

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Part of Duke Chapel

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More of Duke Chapel

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BrightLeaf Square in Durham

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North Carolina State Capitol Building

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State Capitol Statues

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More statues

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Final set of statues

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 190 – Delayed

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Delayed: when your trip doesn’t start off as planned, some might be upset the flight takes off later than expected — not me, I just drink wine at nine in the morning

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It’s the first day of the trip to North Carolina. We arrived at the airport at 7 AM for our morning flight and were even asked to board the plane early in the hopes we could take off sooner than planned. It was a different kind of boarding experience than normal for a few reasons: (1) They had us form into lines to get to lines to get on the bus, (2) We boarded a bus that took us to another part of the airport, and (3) The pilot said we’d be delayed due to a ‘missing message’ on one of his systems. I just knew it was going to be a fun travel day! We sat on the plane for about 90 minutes when they had us de-board, sit on the bus for ten minutes and re-board another plane just a few feet away. What a fun experience!

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We finally took off, landing in Charlotte, North Carolina about 2 hours later than planned. Oh, well… it happens. We are staying at the Duke Mansion, an unbelievably gorgeous old mansion full of gardens and pathways to wander all about the grounds. Above is a shot of the sitting area in our bedroom.

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Above is a shot of the fountain in front of the mansion that welcomes you when you pull up to the front entrance.

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A small piece of the garden in the backyards. I took about 50 pictures for future posts. At least 15 different sitting areas with landscaped paths, benches and beautiful flowers.

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Me sitting on the screened-in veranda / porch attached to our hotel room. A swing hanging from the rafters. A bunch of comfy chairs and a ceiling fan. No delay in hopping on that one!

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And then there was the need for something to drink. Our lovely concierge mentioned there were no bottles for sale at the hotel (only glasses). She suggested a store called Harris Teeter, about a 5-minute walk from the hotel. We embarked on our little trip… and 20-minutes later, we found it. It was a grocery store that also sold wine. Quite a delay for a much-needed beverage to relax. Inside the grocery store was a wine bar. We almost sat down to have a glass, especially to avoid the 20-minute walk in the heat back to the hotel. I forgot to take a picture, sorry!

Took a brief siesta and then went to a great taco dinner. Back at the hotel now, writing tomorrow’s post which you will read in the morning. I’ll try to take better photos along the way. Hope you had a good weekend! No more delays – it’s bedtime. Sleepy! Zzzz…

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.