Daughters of the Lake

Image of Daughters of the Lake
Release Date: 
September 30, 2018
Lake Union Publishing
Reviewed by: 

“Daughters of the Lake provides an immersive reading experience to those who love ghostly mysteries, time travel, and lovely descriptions.”

In this atmospheric novel Wendy Webb weaves together past and present, the story’s web set into motion when soon-to-be-divorced Kate Granger returns to her parents’ home on Lake Superior for a retreat. The lake has provided her an emotional and spiritual shelter going back decades to her childhood.

On a walk she discovers something in the shallows: a woman’s body and the cold, peaceful corpse of an infant, both wrapped in the folds of what appears to be an 1800s-styled nightgown. Something about the bodies stops her—though found in the water, they do not show signs of decay.

The narrative returns to the lake again and again, entwining the past with the present, as Kate receives ghostly apparitions of people who in turn played a role in the tragic loss of mother and child. These unraveling threads give clues to the identity of the dead mother and child.

Through dreams Kate participates in the life of the dead woman, Addie Cassatt, and begins to question the events leading up to her possible murder and that of the child. Who was involved with Addie? Why would anyone heavily pregnant go into the lake? Where was her husband at the time? Who might want her dead? How did she die? Why do the bodies show no signs of decomposition, even though their clothes are a century out of fashion?

Not only do questions tease Kate, but also apparitions. After the body’s discovery, she takes a boat out on the lake and catches sight of something floating. She looks overboard to see “the dead woman’s face, floating within her own reflection. Their two faces were entwined—Kate’s eyes opened, the other woman’s eyes closed. Kate stared as the two faces became one.” 

The lake itself becomes a character in the novel along with myriad facets and shifts in weather presenting a ghostly force. Kate is compelled to examine the Cassatt family history, unraveling each clue until a stunning revelation bridges past and present, putting her in mortal danger.

The writing is lovely: descriptions of the lake draw the reader in; poetic renderings of the sand, waves, and sky make vivid backdrops for the effective drama. The lake scenes eventually blend together as Kate grows ever closer to finding out the truth of what she then concludes is murder.

The author provides a delicious twist at the end, giving the reader a not-just-yet sensation, so that the instant we think the mystery is solved, we find out no, there is more.

Daughters of the Lake provides an immersive reading experience to those who love ghostly mysteries, time travel, and lovely descriptions. If this is your first Wendy Webb book, you will discover she is an accomplished author worth following.