Review: “In the Shadow of Lakecrest” by Elizabeth Blackwell

31340914.jpg“In the Shadow of Lakecrest” by Elizabeth Blackwell

282 pages, Lake Union Publishing

Published Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 1503941841

Looking to escape from a life of poverty and hardship, Kate Moore hastily marries wealthy medical company heir Matthew Lemont on the threshold of the Great Depression. When he brings her home to meet his ice queen mother and oddly jealous sister Marjorie, Kate has already gotten a glimpse of the demons Matthew is fighting. But she has no idea just how much darkness looms around every corner of the Lemonts’ decrepit estate or how many skeletons the family has in its closet.

“In the Shadow of Lakecrest” basically reads like a cheap knock-off of a Daphne du Maurier novel. I can’t get enough of Gothic thrillers, but there was something about this book that felt a bit forced and trite, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It was just bizarre enough to keep me interested, though.

I was fascinated by the deeper element of terror Kate feels when she becomes pregnant. She knows the child she and Matthew are going to bring into the world runs the risk of being a pretty screwed-up individual given the Lemonts’ track record. Plus, Kate’s mother isn’t exactly the “feed ’em sugar and send ’em home” kind of grandma. She’s terrifying and possibly a murderer.

Like I said, this family has some pretty dark secrets, and I don’t want to give them all away. I will go a step further, though, and talk about Aunt Cecily’s Labyrinth and Temple. She was the “fun” aunt (every family has one of those, right?), but she mysteriously vanished years ago. She was, let’s just say, a downright worldly dame known for her obsession with mythology and strange moonlit hijinks involving a stone structure built on the Lemont property. The nightmares Matthew brought home from his service during World War I are mixed with visions of his beloved aunt that make him think he might have harmed her.

I guess when I say this book is a “cheap knock-off” of du Maurier’s work, that’s not all bad. Parts of it were kind of slow but I absolutely couldn’t help finishing it, because I had to know what was going to happen to this train wreck of a family. From what little I’ve heard of “Flowers in the Attic,” the story certainly falls within that realm. So prepared to be somewhat weirded out.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

3-5-star-rating-hi
3.5 stars

 

About the author

As the daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service officer, Elizabeth Blackwell grew up in 7190339.jpgWashington, D.C., interspersed with stints in Africa, the Middle East and Europe–pretty much always with a book in hand. She majored in history at Northwestern University (hooray! more reading!) and received her master’s in journalism from Columbia University, which led to a career as an editor and writer for a number of publications that have since gone out of business (surely just a coincidence?). She now writes fiction from her home office in the Chicago suburbs, in between wrangling her three children and fighting for a parking spot at the local Target.

Bio and photo courtesy of author’s Goodreads profile

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