Happy hump day! I’m really happy to review Lake Child today before packing for Capital Crime, as this psychological thriller is a lovely companion for chilling reads lovers!
Title: Lake Child
Author: Isabel Ashdown
Date of publication: 19 September 2019
Format: uncorrected proof
You trust your family. They love you. Don’t they?
When 17-year-old Eva Olsen awakes after a horrific accident that has left her bedbound, her parents are right by her side. Devoted, they watch over her night and day in the attic room of their family home in the forests of Norway.
But the accident has left Eva without her most recent memories, and not everything is as it seems. As secrets from the night of the accident begin to surface, Eva realises – she has to escape her parents’ house and discover the truth. But what if someone doesn’t want her to find it?
An edge-of-your-seat, atmospheric psychological thriller for fans of Lucy Clarke and Erin Kelly.
Lake Child was a cover love choice. The beautiful colours struck me and I couldn’t take the title off my mind. I knew the book would be atmospheric and complex.
How can I put words in the experience that is Lake Child? Mainly set in Norway, in the middle of nowhere, with a young Eva struggling in the aftermath of an accident and being cared of by her parents, the novel sets the tone straight away. Eva is locked in her house’s attic, scars covering her body while her mind feels like cotton candy. She has no recollection of the events that led her there. This is one of the things I am scared of. Not remembering. This scenario has been used before, but rarely had it been so powerful.
Reading Lake Child felt like standing in the middle of a forest when snow is falling. The crisp sound of the fresh white coat under my feet made me feel both safe and afraid. The sound is familiar, but it doesn’t feel right. Just like Eva and her parents. Why is she in the attic? Why won’t they tell her what happened? The short and vivid chapters accentuated the undercurrent of secrecy. Isabel Ashdown has a knack for creating a suffocating and intense atmosphere. In this forest, I was left on my own device with Eva. I lifted my face to the sky and let the snowflakes land on my skin. Some burnt, like the discoveries of lies. Others comforted me, in the shape of a mother’s love, or a father’s warm hug. A few snowflakes tickled. Where were Eva’s friends? Some snowflakes tasted bitter. Where was her memory?
The more I read, the more anxious I became. I couldn’t comprehend Eva’s parents. I couldn’t figure out what would justify locking your own daughter up in your house like a Disney princess. Eva’s friends’ silence was baffling. Nothing made sense, and yet… Yet I could feel that there was a picture underneath all that snow. A complex picture which would make sense of this accident, its consequences, and the burning secrets surrounding Eva.
Eva’s choice to go look for the hidden truth is bold, and I admired her for the length she goes to in order to shake answers from those around her. I wanted to slap everyone until they finally gave up and came clean. I would have been less patient than Eva! I would make a terrible book character!!
Halfway through Eva’s story, other characters appear out of nowhere, adding layers to what is already a heavy crust of mystery. Why? How? With no apparent connection to Eva, those chapters caught me off guard. The race began to speed up and suddenly, my wariness extended to all characters. It was about Eva and myself against the world. I really wanted her to get to the bottom of things, no matter what. I am in awe of how the author managed to give all characters multiple sides, creating rainbows of grey, black, and white.
With a spending writing bound to draw the reader in, Isabel Ashdown delivers a taut and unnerving psychological thriller. The slow pace perfectly complements the setting and allows the reader to understand the power of families…
Get your copy! Amazon
I would like to thank Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and to the publisher for my copy of the novel.
For the past two years she has hosted the creative writing workshop in the Orion Incident Room of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, always a full-house event!
“Tender and subtle … Ashdown tiptoes carefully through explosive family secrets” – Observer Best Books of the Year
Isabel is represented by Kate Shaw of the Viney Shaw Literary Agency, London.