Recently I was unable to attend Harrogate due to further problems with my spine. I refunded my hotel room and spent the money on some signed first editions via Goldsboro books! 🙂
After all, these are the readers version of diamonds! lol
So here is one of the novels I bought and I was lucky enough to get #12 in printing!
The Room By The Lake by Emma Dibdin
When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.
Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.
It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever…
There is a wealth of novels available presently with a cult theme. I have read several of them and found each varies its narrative completely.
This one was quite unique itself!
The novel opens with a young British woman, Caitlin fleeing Oxford for New York. She arrives in the big apple and discovers despite meeting a few people and embellishing her own backstory her life is turning out to be just as lonely and isolated. With not much hope or money left, it is at this moment she meets Jake at a party. After knowing Jake only 5 days, he offers her the chance of escape to his parent’s lake house just 2 hrs drive away in the country. But is Jake’s offer what it seems………
When Caitlin arrives at the lake house, her breath is taken with its size and beauty. Jake’s parents are nowhere to be seen and with the arrival of a bunch of young people. we learn Jake’s family is not what he had described, at all! Jake is part of a healing group, everyone has a routine and their individual roles within the group. At first, Caitlin is mortified at Jake’s Lies but with then the charismatic leader Don manages to talk her round to give the group a trial.
The group is made up of a variety of characters, all having their own reasons for residing at the lake house. The group runs like a hippy commune, but you can leave/return at any time. There is a healthy lifestyle focus via exercise and a paleo diet. I could really see the appeal to a young woman in emotional pain. It is in the groups sessions Caitlin, now known as Kate begins to open up about her past and her mother’s struggles with mental health and eventual death and her father’s alcoholism.
The groups motto has huge appeal…..
“We are here for each other, and we are nothing without each other”
Kate begins to warm again to Jake and other members of the group. With leader Don taking a keen interest in her past. The routine of body/yard/soul/mind work takes hold and before Kate knows it she is a new confirmed member. The Friday and Saturday parties with the apfelwein cider and the vision quests, hold little control over the members of the group. So it is with no wonder she begins to feel this sense of a new home and new found love of life. Even worshipping Don as a father figure.
That is until the arguments start and a body is found hanging………..
A strong newly released, debut novel. One that could also appeal to the older YA genre. 4*