Book Club – ‘The Lake of Dead Languages’ – Carol Goodman

So Amber over at Books of Amber and I decided to start a book club with work. We pick a book and meet up over coffee every so often to discuss it.

We read The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman earlier this year. I have to admit when it was first suggested I wasn’t very enthusiastic. I didn’t think it would be a book that I would enjoy but I gave it a go.

In the evocative tradition of Donna Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History, comes this accomplished debut of youthful innocence drowned by dark sins. Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. Now she has returned to the placid, isolated shores of the lakeside school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories that will become a living nightmare.

Since freshman year, Jane and her two roommates, Lucy Toller and Deirdre Hall, were inseparable–studying the classics, performing school girl rituals on the lake, and sneaking out after curfew to meet Lucy’s charismatic brother Matt. However, the last winter before graduation, everything changed. For in that sheltered, ice-encrusted wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of senseless suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden for more than two decades in the dark depths of Heart Lake.

Now pages from Jane’s missing journal, written during that tragic time, have reappeared, revealing shocking, long-buried secrets. And suddenly, young, troubled girls are beginning to die again . . . as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface.

I actually really enjoyed this. I found it took me a while to really get into the story but then I couldn’t put it down. There are lots of surprises, secrets and twists. It definitely kept me guessing.

I didn’t really like Jane. I found her naïve and frustrating at times. Why she would go back to the place that caused so much sadness and trauma in her youth, I really don’t understand. I also didn’t really understand the need for the character of her daughter, but that’s just me. I didn’t like Lucy either but I don’t think you are meant to. She is manipulative and spiteful, but an interesting character nevertheless.

The plot twists kept it interesting, I did guess a few but everything was well thought through and there were clues throughout. The flipping between past and present was interesting although sometimes distracting.

Overall I’m glad I gave this book a chance, it was a nice change from what I usually read and a really good book to discuss with friends.


Amber’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed this one a lot more than I thought I would. I was the only loser in the book club who didn’t see the twist coming, which might indicate that I wasn’t as invested as the others (… that’s totally it). I wouldn’t read it again but it was a good book to discuss!


See Amber’s review here



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