Guest reviewer Julie-Ann McStravick reviews Daughters of the Lake by Jane Riddell.
Daughters of the Lake is a contemporary family drama set in Switzerland. Madalena invites her four adult children to celebrate her hotel’s fortieth anniversary, unaware of their tensions and secrets. As the day of the celebration approaches, confused emotions take hold, and the occasion goes badly wrong. Set against a backdrop of mountains and lakes, this is a story of love, betrayal and family conflict.
I am usually one for books of this nature and upon reading this summary I was greatly intrigued by it. From the outset of the book I was thrust into a story of intrigue and excitement, I was greatly intrigued by the plot and what was to come. However as the book went on this changed bit by bit as I found certain issues with the continuity of the book. The issues of continuity for me seemed to stem from the ever changing character perspectives without the use of a natural breaking points or formatting styles, I believe that if these were used it would help greatly towards the flow of the book.
I believe the strongest aspect of the book was the characters; no matter the situation you could tell the author took a great deal of care when it came to discussing a characters feelings. It was clear that the author had an emotional tie to the characters and I especially loved this about the book, I possibly go as far to say that I also believe the author has personal ties to the story of this book. There was however an occasional time when this hindered the characterisation as not only did certain characters overreact to situations but sometimes you were never fully made aware as to why they felt that way.
Unfortunately no matter how much I enjoyed the characterisation of the book I feel the story is where it lacked the most as I feel the story didn’t seem believable and this is what I have come to expect of novels in the genre. The story itself also had some issues with perspective as sometimes a place was mentioned and it wasn’t always obvious as to whether the author was discussing a town, restaurant or club etc. I also feel that the ending of the book was premature and somewhat led you to believe there was/will be a sequel.
With all of the above in mind I feel this book isn’t enjoyable as a whole which is unfortunate as I feel the synopsis and the 1st chapter of the book gives you such a strong feel for what could be a great book and it is let down by what follows. I think the author has a definite prose for characterisation and I believe as she goes along her books can only improve.
- Chergui’s Child
- Bakhtin Chronicles
- Erin Cara
- Water’s Edge