Book Review: The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

November 19, 2015 Book review 14 ★★★★½

Oh guys, The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas was a spine-chiller and a half! All the way though, I felt spooked and a dead giveaway was that the hairs of my arms were standing to attention.

Book Review: The Secret by the Lake by Louise DouglasThe Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas
Published by Black Swan on November 19th 2015
Genres: Ghost Story, Mystery
Pages: 416
Source: NetGalley

Amy's always felt like something’s been missing in her life, but as a nanny for the Laurent family - Julia, Alain, Viviane - she feels complete.
So Amy wouldn’t think of leaving them when a sudden tragedy forces them to move from France to the small lakeside cottage in the isolated Somerset village where Julia grew up.
But there’s something strange about the cottage by the lake. This is where Julia spent her childhood. But she used to have an older sister, Caroline, whom she rarely speaks about...
Who disappeared at just seventeen...
Who has a secret the whole village wants kept hidden for ever...
Louise Douglas's beautifully crafted and haunting page-turner will hold you in its grip.

ARC REVIEW Mystery Out of this world! Paranormal Well Written

First Line of The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas:

“It was a beautiful thing; a slender chain with a heart-shaped pendant – a ruby surrounded by diamonds set in a gold clasp in the shape of two hands, joined together.”

My Thoughts on The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas:

I immediately clicked with this book when I started reading it. I liked the main character and I loved the affinity she had with children. When she has to leave her dream job to take care of a grandmother who never lavished attention on her, she did it without complaint. I loved her attitude and felt that her harsh childhood is a huge part of why she has so much to give to others.


I also liked that her childhood wasn’t AWFUL, it just wasn’t ideal. She didn’t get outward displays of love or enough attention but she was loved. Her relatives just weren’t great at knowing how to show or voice that love. I liked that we saw some different shades of families and that how they were just trying to do the best that they could.


And when Amy’s former employers run into trouble and have to move from France to England, Amy is there for them too. They are now in dire financial straits and Julia is grieving the loss of her husband. Amy goes willing to their side and moves in to the VERY spooky, rundown cottage that they now live in.


The atmosphere was so eerie! Even when nothing was happening, I had the chills! The house felt sinister and I wouldn’t have stayed a single night under its gloomy room. The furniture was old-fashioned, the paintwork was dark and grubby and it sounded like it needed a good clean. That I could deal with. But when the unexplainable noises start, the dragging sounds on floors, the loud thumps. Yep, I’d have been gone!


When I started the book, I really liked it. But the more I got into it, the faster and faster I had to read. The pace really intensified as the story unravels and I read the whole thing with a 24 hour period as I had to see it though asap.


There is also a cute romance that is very much a sideline story as the main plot is the haunted house and trying to discover the secret of the lake. I did really enjoy the romance though; it adds hope and light to an otherwise dark and sad story. I wasn’t surprised at the direction the book took and I don’t feel it’s meant to be an unpredictable read. I could see where it was going but the journey of getting there was really entertaining.


Overall I loved it, the characters were well-developed and the setting was alternatively exciting/scary/sad. This was my first Louise Douglas book and I immediately went and added all her previous books to by to-read list.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars

Who should read The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas?


I’d recommend this to you if you like well-developed characters, small village settings and lots of spooky goings-ons! Fans of Touched by Joanne Briscoe or The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah should also enjoy this one.


Thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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14 Responses to “Book Review: The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas”

  1. dawn obrien

    brilliant review trish, this was on my wish list and I’m definitely getting it sooner rather than later after your recommendation!

    • trish

      It was SO creepy, I was jumping out of my skin! But the characters were definitely the best part, they felt very real and I loved the connections between them all.

    • trish

      I know all those things draw me in too! And this was really well executed, there was a nice mix of creepy setting, interesting characters and a story that you want to get to the bottom of.

    • trish

      I loved it Katherine! Like you said the elements all combined really well and I couldn’t stop reading this one. I devoured it over a 24 hour period!

    • trish

      I know! I am a bit jumpy when it comes to ghost stories though! I loved it, the story was one I wanted to get to the bottom of and all the characters were so interesting.

    • trish

      Yay, delighted to hear you’ll be reading this one Lexxie! I feel the same way whenever I plan to read a book, half the time I don’t even read the blurb as I just want to go in blind.

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