A person never forgets the landscape of their childhood.

My mum and I have read all of Kate Morton’s books, one of us racing through it then passing it on to the other and waiting eagerly for things to happen. We don’t read many of the same books these days, but a new Kate Morton is always cause for excitement for us both. We like the multiple timelines, the family intrigues, the tangled mysteries to figure out. I took The Distant Hours with me when I spent a summer in Italy as an au pair, and it was perfect for the long, dull afternoons on the beach – I also lent it to my friend who was there with me, and a friend I made on the beach, Yvonne, a tall Dutch woman of about 70 who the family I worked for deemed totally unsuitable company (she was fantastic). It took us a while to get round to buying this one, and then took mum a while to get round to starting it, then about six weeks to read it. Then I took it to Scotland and read it in four days.

The parallel stories in The Lake House are that of a family whose treasured little boy goes missing in the middle of a Midsummer party in 1933, and Sadie, a police officer who has had to take some leave, so goes to stay with her grandfather in Cornwall. As Sadie explores, she slowly uncovers the mystery of the little boy at Loanneth, and tries to solve it. It’s a twisting, turning story, the kind of mystery that is enjoyable to follow rather than too straightforward or too self-contragulatory in its cleverness.

This was the perfect book to accompany me through solo dinners and breakfasts, while curled up in the car by Loch Ness when I’d run out of steam, when awake ridiculously early on the train home. I finished it the afternoon I got back and mum was amazed, but it ran away with me. I couldn’t stop until I knew what happened. Elements of it were unsatisfying, but didn’t spoil it. Importantly, it reminded me that a big book need not take me weeks to get through, so I’m going to try to remember that when I make my choices for summer reading to bring home.

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