Release Date: 2nd January 2002
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Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. Now she has returned to the placid, isolated shores of the lakeside school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories that will become a living nightmare.
Since freshman year, Jane and her two roommates, Lucy Toller and Deirdre Hall, were inseparable–studying the classics, performing school girl rituals on the lake, and sneaking out after curfew to meet Lucy’s charismatic brother Matt. However, the last winter before graduation, everything changed. For in that sheltered, ice-encrusted wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of senseless suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden for more than two decades in the dark depths of Heart Lake.
Now pages from Jane’s missing journal, written during that tragic time, have reappeared, revealing shocking, long-buried secrets. And suddenly, young, troubled girls are beginning to die again . . . as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface.
Some friends and I have started a monthly book club, and while discussing things with them, I came up with the brilliant idea of incorporating the book club into my blog. One of my friends, Gemma, is also a blogger, so we’ll be doing a joint post each month in which we share our separate thoughts on the book and talk about how the book went down with the book club as a whole.
This month we discussed The Lake of Dead Languages, which is a “quiet” mystery about a woman who works at her old high school. Stuff went down when she was a student there, and people died, and it was all very mysterious. We all liked the way everything played out, and the use of flashbacks was really well done. We disagreed a little bit on how well the main character, Jane, was written, and whether or not she was supposed to be likeable. I personally didn’t see the twists coming, although my book club friends did.
I thought it was an unexpectedly good read. This one was one of my picks, that I found in a charity shop for 20p, and I went into it knowing absolutely nothing about it. Like I said above, I didn’t see any of the twists coming, which is good because I do sometimes find mysteries and thrillers to be quite predictable. Whether that was due to occasional lack of interest, though, I’m not sure.
I think Jane was an interesting character to discuss at a book club. She wasn’t very engaging, and was a total pushover, but I thought that was due to the events that happened in her past, and also her relationship with her mother. She had very little character growth until later on in the novel.
The Latin names for various characters was confusing, because the author would switch back and forth, and I’m rubbish at remembering the names of side characters anyway so I was really quite overwhelmed.
The finale was really good. I was totally engrossed at the very end, despite not loving the book to start with and kind of drifting off a little in the middle. I’m glad I picked this one!
I wasn’t eager to read this one when it was suggested. It isn’t something I’d usually pick up. So I was surprised when I actually really enjoyed it. It took a while to get into but the action soon picks up and there are a few twists (some I definitely saw coming). I wasn’t a huge fan of Jane. Some of her choices annoyed me and I felt she was naive and deluded. I also hated the character of Lucy, but I’m sure you’re meant to. It’s well written and full of suspense, I’m glad I read it. Plenty to talk about with a book club!
Read Gemma’s full review here!