#ReadingChallenge, Book Review, Reading Challenge

The House on the Lake

by Nuala Ellwood

I don’t read many books in the mystery & thriller genre, and I’m glad to say that I was given the opportunity to read and review this book. I enjoyed this book, so much so I know that I could read it again. I don’t say that very often about the books I read so this tells you how much I enjoyed reading this book. The book is full of mystery with many thrills along the way.

This book has two different timelines one in 2018 and the other in 2003.

In December 2018, Lisa runs away from her husband Mark taking their 3 year old son Joe with her. Her husband is a control freak when it comes to Lisa. He treats her like a child that can’t do anything without being given instructions. He criticises her on everything and anything. Making Lisa think and feel as though she is incapable of doing anything, and he is even worse when it comes to looking after their son Joe.

The day she decides to run from her husband Mark. All Lisa has are a few things she hastily packed and a crumpled piece of paper with an address with a couple of instructions, that a good friend had given her. Telling her that she could stay there anytime free of charge. The place is called “Rowan Isle House” and it is situated in rural Yorkshire.

When Lisa arrives at the house the daylight has just faded, so she can’t make out much of the house. While her son Joe is still sleeping in the back she grabs her torch and heads to the front door. On the piece of paper it said that she didn’t need a key to get into the house. All she needs to do is put her weight against the door and it will eventually open.

Once she has gained access to the house she shines her torch around the foyer looking for a light switch. Unable to find one she slowly moves further in to the house and starts to look around as much as she can. While she’s looking around it’s starting to dawn on her that the house has no electricity, running water or heating. The house is quite dilapidated, but what can she do? She only has a small amount of money that would run out in a few days if they went to a hotel.

With no other options available to her she, decides to go back to the car, drive back to the village and get a few supplies. On getting back to the car her son Joe is screaming down the place, as he has woken up alone and constantly asking for his daddy. Lisa does what she can to appease him all the time thinking what sort of mother would put her child though all of this. Except she knows that is Marks voice she keeps hearing in her mind not her own.

They finally settle down as best they can in the cold and damp living room, where Lisa managed to light some candles and try and make out to Joe that they are camping inside. She doesn’t think she will sleep, but at some point she must have. On waking the next day she sees exactly what state the house is in and she feels nothing but despair. When there is a knock at the front door.

It turns out that it’s a woman from the village. She came because she thought that her friend had come back home, as she’s not seen her for years. Not after a tragedy happened at the house which she will not elaborate on. She befriends Lisa and keeps turning up with excuses to help her. Lisa has odd feelings about her and about this house, she feels that something very bad happened here but she can’t seem to find out what.

Jump back to 2003 when Grace an eleven year old girl and her father who she calls Sarge not dad live at Rowan Isle house. Sarge is an ex-soldier and he is bring Grace up to be self sufficient, as well as teaching her how to survive in the wilderness and how to protect herself against the enemy and to be his number one soldier. As the enemy are everywhere.

Due to this Grace’s life is very basic, there are no home comforts and she doesn’t have any friends. Sarge doesn’t like the people in the village he insists they are dangerous. Except one day when Grace is out at the front of the house near the road selling their eggs and produce that they grow in the garden, a girl from the village turns up to make a purchase.

The girl keeps turning up and eventually over time she and Grace become friends. All of this happens without Sarges knowledge. If Sarge were to find out Grace would be punished.

At times Sarge’s behaviour is off, he becomes very distant towards Grace and he also becomes more demanding. She also finds him arguing with himself and it’s usually when he has been reading a certain book. She once came across the book and when Sarge found her with it she was punished badly.

There are a couple of times when Grace is punished badly by Sarge, especially when he finds out about her friendship with the girl from the village. He locks her up in a room with no windows only giving her a small amount of food and water and then questioning her, as though she is a traitor. On an other occasion he almost drowns her in the lake. With him doing these things to Grace her feeling towards him are changing, but how will she get out of this life?

Both Grace and Lisa find that they have been betrayed by the same person. Grace’s betrayal being over a decade before Lisa’s, but why? What is their betrayer trying to cover up? If I tell you anymore it will spoil the story. All I can say is that there are lots of twists and turns and the secrets that have been hidden for a long time are finally uncovered.

Pages: 320, Publication Date: 20 February 2020, My Rating:

1 thought on “The House on the Lake”

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