Book Reviews

You’re Safe Here: #TheHouseontheLake by Nuala Ellwood @NualaWrites @VikingBooksUK #BlogTour

Happy new week!

the house on the lake

Title: The House on the Lake
Author: Nuala Ellwood
Publisher: Penguin
Date of publication: eBook 24 January 2020 / paperback 20 February 2020
Format: Advance copy
Number of pages: 307

No matter how far you run . . .
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?


Gothic and dark, The House on the Lake is a fascinating novel on many levels.

2018. Lisa is running away from her husband Mark. She and her three-year-old son Joe arrive at night to the house that is supposed to be her safe place.

2003. A girl and her father live in the house on the lake. He is a soldier and intends to raise his daughter as such, for the world is full of danger.

Two timelines bound by a very special character – Rowan Isle House. I took as much pleasure discovering the protagonists of this book as I did the setting. Rundown and isolated, Rowan Isle House steals the show. The author’s descriptive writing made me shiver. Like a presence watching the events unfolding, the building has its own life and holds deadly secrets.

Back to the flesh and bones… Although years apart, both narratives explore the demons of abuse and control. Lisa and the young girl are living very different lives, but their pain is equally strong and can be felt through the pages. The hope, the despair, the memories, and the guilt. They get it all.

Lisa is desperate to stay hidden and protect herself and her son, but reaching the house, she realises it will take even more strength that she imagined. A dilapidated house is no home for a child, and the isolation is as much a relief as it is a threat.
The girl has always known the house, she knows it and, even though it is quite lacking in commodities, it holds her whole life. Until her horizon becomes broader, and the house turns claustrophobic, setting in motion a series of events that might set her free…

I couldn’t help but worry about this young girl, who has only ever known one place, and lived with one person, her father. It is clear early on that her upbringing is far from ideal and her father suffers from PTSD, leaving her to deal with his episodes. Her chapter were short and scary, keeping me dreading for the worst.

Lisa on the other hand, ran in circle, stuck after years of being told she was useless. When those words are repeated enough, they become part of your thinking process. How do you escape your own thoughts? How do you learn to stand up again?

How are those characters connected? Can Rowan Isle House keep them safe from harm? As the chapters flew by, I was getting anxious to get all the answers, a feeling that was enhanced by the slow pace, which seemed to mock me!!! But the ending was a strong reward, realist and grey, and held its promises.

The House on the Lake is a story of survival, beautifully raw in its urge to remind us that women must fight back to regain power and control.

You can get a copy of the novel here (99p at the moment!!)

I would like to thank Penguin for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. This review is my unbiased opinion.



Check out her previous novel, The Day of the Accident! I loved it!

about the author.png


Nuala Ellwood is the daughter of an award-winning journalist. She was inspired by his experiences and those of foreign correspondents such as Marie Colvin and Martha Gellhorn to secure Arts Council funding for her research into PTSD for her debut psychological thriller MY SISTER’S BONES.


20 thoughts on “You’re Safe Here: #TheHouseontheLake by Nuala Ellwood @NualaWrites @VikingBooksUK #BlogTour”

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