Anna is content with her well-ordered life in San Francisco. But her world is turned upside down when her beloved grandfather, Max, reveals a startling secret: Anna is part of an aristocratic family who lost everything during World War II. What’s more, Max was forced to leave behind a precious item over seventy years ago in their estate in old Prussia. It’s now his ardent wish that Anna retrieve it. Anna burns with questions as she heads for Germany: What memento could be so important to her grandfather? And why did he keep their history hidden? As she searches for answers, she finds herself drawn to Wil, a man who may hold the key to unlock the mystery. Together they discover that her family’s secrets are linked with an abandoned apartment in Paris, and these secrets go deeper than she ever imagined. Alternating between 1930s Europe and the present, The House by the Lake illuminates the destiny of a family caught in the tumult of history.
Sissy: Back in June of 2015 we reviewed (HERE) and were wildly enthusiastic about a book called Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey. We were understandably thrilled when we received a copy of Carey’s new book, The House by the Lake, which is a story that parallels the one in Paris Time Capsule, but tells a different side of the story. Guess what? We were so NOT disappointed! Starting with the beautiful cover and ending with twists and revelations galore, The House by the Lake is fantastic!
Bubby: Why do you always get to start talking first? It’s not fair! Wait. Never mind. If you start then that means that I get the last word. Forget I said anything. Back to the book. When I started The House by the Lake, I googled “schloss in Prussia” to see if I could get a visual idea of what a German schloss (meaning palace or manor house) looked like. I found Kleines Schloss, a house on a lake just outside of Berlin that’s been converted to a restaurant. I’d live there!
Sissy: I cannot ever recall a time when you didn’t manage to get in the last word, Bubby, but even so, I would go stay in your schloss with you! The House by the Lake is the story of Isabelle and Max in the 1930’s and the story of Anna, (Max’s granddaughter) and Wil in the present day. Max has kept so many secrets and only at a very old age is he willing to finally tie up loose ends and put the past to rest. The resulting story is so intricately woven with mystery, intrigue, and revelations that it is an absolute page turner. There is a fair bit of sometimes heartbreaking romance as well.
Bubby: I loved the book so much. It has left both Sissy and I with a desire to learn more about these beautiful houses that were abandoned or seized during WWII. I didn’t realize before how divided the people of Germany were about Nazism. We think that we have such clear vision looking at it now but at the time I can see how it looked really good, especially at the beginning. And then it was too late. Either you followed the Nazi party and protected your family and in Max’s case, the whole community around the Schloss, or people died. There just weren’t any good choices to be made. Even now, weeks after I’ve finished the book, I can still feel the anguish I felt as certain events happened in the story. I ached for Max and Isabelle and what they had to go through. I might have cried just a little bit here and there because I was so entwined in the fate of these characters. Ella Carey is truly a master of her craft.
Sissy: With Isabelle being French and Max a German, things become rather complex for them by the late 1930’s. It is up to Wil and Anna decades later to untangle the whole story and try to exorcise the ghosts of long ago. The House by the Lake is truly a terrifically written and wholly satisfying tale. As a bonus, author Ella Carey has sent us a copy of the book to give away to one of our fantastic readers. We’ll even give you the hand-addressed mailer straight from Australia if you like! Tell them what they need to do to get it, Bubby.
Bubby: Man, you’re a bossy woman. Good thing you’re my favorite sister! To win this wonderful book that we guarantee you will love, just leave us a comment here on the blog (Facebook comments don’t count!) telling us why The House By The Lake sounds interesting to you. We’ll pick one winner at random. The contest is open until midnight on Sunday, April 17th. I’m kinda hoping no one enters so I can keep the copy for myself…because it’s that good!
Click HERE to buy The House By The Lake by Ella Carey