Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Book review of The House by the Lake by Ella Carey

French Village Diaries book review The House by the Lake Ella Carey
The House by the Lake by Ella Carey

The House by the Lake by Ella Carey


The cobbled streets were dark as Isabelle hurried through the shadows, dodging in and out of doorways, constantly looking back. She worried the sound of her loudly thumping heart would give her away, as she peered around a corner. Suddenly, Isabelle was surrounded by Nazi soldiers, their black boots pounding on the pavement, barring her way…

1939, Berlin. Max Albrecht is the young and handsome heir to a beautiful house on a lake where he spent his happy childhood. As war approaches, his parents tell him he must join the Nazi party or the whole family will be killed. But when his beloved French fiancé Isabelle shows him the horrifying truth, Max faces an impossible choice: protect his family or save the girl he loves?

2010, San Francisco. Anna Young is content with her life, running a bustling deli and taking care of her adored grandfather Max, who raised her. Max has never spoken of his past until he hands over an old map, the plans to a grand house just north of Berlin. With a shaking finger, he points to it and says, “I left something behind under the floorboards. Please bring it home before I die.”

When Anna arrives at the crumbling manor in Germany, she discovers a hidden engagement ring in a velvet box. She is desperate to find the woman her grandfather hoped to marry, but the local villagers look away when she mentions Max’s name, and back in San Francisco he is now in hospital, too unwell to speak to her. What did Max do so many years ago? Is Anna ready for the terrible secret that her family’s past may hold?

From bestselling author Ella Carey comes an unforgettable novel, weaving together past and present. Gripping and heartbreaking, The House by the Lake uncovers the secrets and devastating choices that people were forced to make during history’s darkest time.  


French Village Diaries book review The House by the Lake Ella Carey
The House by the Lake by Ella Carey blog tour

My review

This book can be read as a standalone, however as it fills in some of the missing pieces from The Paris Time Capsule, notably Isabelle’s life in Paris in the years leading up to the war, I would recommend reading that first (see my review here).


Anna is very close to her grandfather Max, but his reluctance to talk about his past has always been something she has never understood. Without any prior warning, Max suddenly asks Anna to travel to Berlin to retrieve something he left in his family house decades ago. Here Anna discovers a grand schloss, locked up and unloved, in a village where life seems to have come to a halt. No one there is prepared to talk to her about her family, or help her on her quest for Max. 


Anna is a strong and independent woman, and her determination and desire not to let her grandfather down, lead her to the only keyholder, who reluctantly agrees to let her visit. This unexpected journey, to a country she had no idea she had ties with, raises more questions than answers for Anna, and there are very few people left to explain to her what went on.


From present day San Francisco and Berlin, to Paris, Germany and Lake Geneva in the years leading up to the Second World War, this book tells a heart-breaking love story and family drama, revealing secrets that haven’t been spoken about in decades.


With Max’s struggles as Nazism takes hold in Germany, this book has that something a bit different from other books I’ve read set at a similar time, and I found myself immersed in Anna’s story, willing her to succeed in unravelling the past and moving forward with a new chapter in her life. If you enjoy reading historical fiction set during the Second World War, I am sure you will love this one. 

French Village Diaries book review The House by the Lake Ella Carey
Author Ella Carey


Author Bio


Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets. 


Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website. 





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