Black Lake, Hardback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


For generations, the Campbells have lived happily at Dulough, an idyllic, rambling estate on the windswept coast of Ireland.

But upkeep has drained the family coffers. Faced with the heartbreaking possibility of having to sell, John Campbell makes a very difficult decision; to keep Dulough he will turn the estate into a tourist attraction.

He and his wife, daughter and son will move from the luxury of the big house to a small, damp caretaker's cottage.

The upheaval strains the already tenuous threads that bind the family, and when a tragic accident befalls them, long-simmering resentments and unanswered yearnings are forced to the surface.

As each character is given a turn to speak, their voices tell a complex and fascinating story about what happens when the upstairs becomes the downstairs, and the legacy that remains when family secrets are revealed.


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An ancestral mansion lived in by many generations of the same family, some secrets, a dysfunctional family. Black Lake is a contemporary take on the classic Irish Big House novel. At the beginning of the novel, a girl’s mother takes her to occupy the ballroom in their former home, Dulough.Black Lake begins with the aftermath of a tragedy. The rest of the story is told from several narrative points of view, that of the girl, Kate, her brother Philip, her father and mother. I really liked being able to read about events from each character’s perspective.Johanna Lane skilfully evokes the atmosphere of the place and the stories of the family, creating a powerful and moving debut novel.

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