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Monday, November 9, 2015

Daughters of the Lake by Jane Riddell

Hi there!
Welcome back to another exciting week here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers, where you can always count on every "serving" to be bookishly satisfying.

Today, we're shining the spotlight on a Literary Fiction title that should definitely be on your radar.  It's not a new release but it IS a great read, in my own humble opinion, and the points with which I make that claim, I shall illuminate now.  Ready or not, here comes today's ebook of choice...

Jane Riddell

About the book...
Daughters of the Lake is a contemporary family drama located 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 lake, this is a story about love, betrayal and family conflicts.



Now, if you're like me, you approach works that are unknown to you in one of several ways:  through recommendations, cover and/or title appeal, and the synopsis.  In any case, there has to be something that attracts you. When I first received an inquiry from the author regarding a review of her work, this is the one of the two that spoke to me.  Something about the cover and the young woman gazing out at the building (that we now know is the family hotel) set against the mountains and lake shore.  It was enchanting.  The synopsis on the other hand, left me wanting.  It wasn't enough to really get a taste of what I was in store for but it also didn't dissuade me so I said, let's give it a go.  Boy oh boy am I EVER glad that I did!

This was a wonderful story about family, love, friendship, buried secrets, and just what we do to and for the ones we hold dear.  Initially when I began reading, I admit I was thinking that the cast of characters seemed to wide for my current know, sometimes you're looking for a no-fuss-no-muss type of read...but once I got into things, there was no turning back AND no forgetting anyone either.  Everyone had their role to play and became a memorable part of a literary family I felt grateful to now know.  It's very much a character driven story, so I'll introduce it a bit more through them if you don't mind.

First, we have Madalena.  She's the matriarch of the family, mother to four wonderful (okay, mostly wonderful) grown children and the one that keeps things running when the going gets tough.  She has grace and decorum, knows just how to let a conversation progress so as not to press too much but just enough.  If I had to pick a grandmother, it would be her...and that's knowing the secrets even she keeps.   Karl, the gentleman assisting her with the hotel conservatory (and then some...ahem), is another breath of fresh air.  Never too intimidating, nor demanding.  He lends his understanding to all the crazy that erupts and manages to be a rock of calm in the storm for the sweet soul he has his sights set on.  Now, let's get to the "kids"...

Four siblings, three sisters, one brother...all add up to an interesting gathering if ever there was.  First, we'll take Annie.  She's a peach, I tell you...a peach indeed!  Her lighthearted manner, the way she shares herself with her family (not her personal matters mind you), and how she manages the secrets shared with her as well as her own, it's beautiful really.  Of course, it's sad that she feels the need to keep it all to herself and the misconstrued meeting (which I still think there was more than business being implied there) adds another layer to her self-doubt, but inside she is steadfast and true.  Next up, Lawrence.  He's somewhat of an enigma until closer to book's end and honestly is pretty much the opposite to Annie's sweetness.  He's proud, independent, and only too happy to keep his distance in the family...all do to long stemming guilt and regret.  About what?  Oh no.  You're not finding out THAT easy.  NEXT!  

Let's see, we'll glimpse into Vivenne's character.  She's a concert pianist, world renowned, with adoring fans, and a beautiful husband by her side...sorta. I admit, I wasn't a big fan of hers.  Despite the talent and the supposed life, she had a lot of image issues and a constant need for validation.  She's worried these days not only about the distance she feels between her and Michael but also her health.  Question is, which is a more warranted worry?  Ah yes, which indeed....which brings us to Portia.  She's a barrister who can't separate work from home and has watched her family fall apart before her eyes.  Her husband has left her, her daughter (Lucy) is self destructing, and it all comes back to a secret that she swore to take to her grave...but as it seems they may crop up and say "I" much sooner than anticipated.  With all the secrets running around, it's a miracle they can call themselves family, and yet, when the going gets tough (we're talking fires, accidents, and close calls where souls are so close to being bared, you can almost touch them) and the cracks start to show, it's twice as remarkable to see how they pull together in the end.

Overall, it was a wonderful story with the right amounts of everything to keep it running as smooth as the hotel they call their own.  The background is stunning with views that would leave most breathless but the characters and their bonds are what kept me coming back for more.  A book I started with expectations for the story, that were surpassed and then some by book's end.  Recommended read for Literary and Women's Fiction fans alike; to me it has enough heart and family to fit nicely in both categories.


About the author....

Jane Riddell grew up in Glasgow but defected to Edinburgh in her thirties, after living in New Zealand. For years she worked for the NHS as a dietitian and health promoter. In 2006 she impulsively moved to France. During her three years there, writing changed from being a hobby to a passion. She is a keen blogger, including writing letters from a Russian cat. 

Personality wise, she describes herself as: enthusiastic, well-intentioned, hopelessly inadequate with technology, having a dysfunctional relationship with time. Her partner's description of her is a benign crocodile. Things Jane loves include: sash windows, perfume, chocolate, colour and wild weather. Travel is a passion, especially pet sitting in other countries. To date she has looked after: dogs, cats, stick insects, turtles and parrots.


Special thanks to author Jane Riddell for the ebook for review.  (THANKS!)  To discover more about this title, the author, or her body of works, be sure to click through the links provided above.  This title is available now in ebook and tree book formats, so be sure to seek out your copy today.  

Until next time...happy reading!


Tracy Terry said...

Betrayal, family conflicts, buried secrets - sounds good to me and yet I can't help but worry this might be like a lot of other books I've read.

Gina R said...

In some basic structure ways, it may be...but the connections, their histories, and personal challenges are definitely all their own. ^-^

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