Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal Fiction, Suspense
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After the end of her marriage, Kate Granger has retreated to her parents’ home on Lake Superior to pull herself together—only to discover the body of a murdered woman washed into the shallows. Tucked in the folds of the woman’s curiously vintage gown is an infant, as cold and at peace as its mother. No one can identify the woman. Except for Kate. She’s seen her before. In her dreams…
One hundred years ago, a love story ended in tragedy, its mysteries left unsolved. It’s time for the lake to give up its secrets. As each mystery unravels, it pulls Kate deeper into the eddy of a haunting folktale that has been handed down in whispers over generations. Now, it’s Kate’s turn to listen.
As the drowned woman reaches out from the grave, Kate reaches back. They must come together, if only in dreams, to right the sinister wrongs of the past.
I wanted to really love Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb. After all, the synopsis ticked all the right boxes for me because it was one part ghost story to two parts mystery and romance (kind of). But it sadly falls short of the mark.
Daughters of the Lake is told in two different centuries: the first is modern day, small town America where a woman has discovered her husband isn’t who she thought, and her life gets upended; in the second, we are taken back to early 20th century America in the small town of Great Bay, a time when men still worked as trappers, and going into the big city to trade was an ordeal.
The plot is interesting but it meanders a bit too much for my taste. I am a very succinct person admittedly, but I give a lot of grace to stories that try to immerse the reader. Daughters of the Lake falls a bit short of that mark by trying too hard, actually. I found some of the sub-plots unnecessary and irrelevant, such as the situation with Kevin. There is some foreshadowing by the author that is made to lead you to believe something sinister is coming, but it’s so obvious that the reader is being deliberately misled by the author. And Simon felt like such a filler character, too upbeat and flamboyant but obviously trying not to be.
I enjoyed finding out what happened to Addie, but I had it figured out at 60% when we were introduced to new characters and subplots. It is almost as if Webb tried too hard to make readers look in one direction, that we look right where she is trying to keep us from looking. The misdirection doesn’t work well here. I like feeling pleased when I have figured out the whodunit, but in this case, it was too easy for me!
All that said, Daughters of the Lake is descriptive and colorful. Webb takes us back to the early 20th century on a lakeshore town and invites us in to intriguing society. I felt that she could have spent more time on those pieces and less on filler, but we can’t have everything I guess.
I wanted to know more about the daughters of the lake, and the spirit of the lake, but that is very briefly explained in the beginning of the novel and only mentioned again once or twice. It seems that a lake spirit is too big a thing to be a secondary character in this novel.
Overall, I’m glad I read it. I won’t lie, the beautiful cover is what drew me in, so ‘gratz to the marketing team, and I liked the overall story arc, but I think there are better (and worse) ghost stories out there. I’ve said it before, but I’d rather hate a book than be ambivalent toward it.