Friday, August 25, 2017

Book Review: The Lake and the Lost Girl

What is up with mystery books always having 'Girl' in the title? First I thought it was 'Gone Girl' that started this trend. That book, which is very good, was also wildly successful. It makes sense that other mystery writers (or more likely their publishers) would want to capitalize on that success by subtly (not so subtly?) referencing 'Gone Girl.' But then I realized, 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' came before 'Gone Girl.' So maybe 'Gone Girl' was referencing 'the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.' Since those two novels, there have been a whole heap of other 'girl' mystery books: 'The Girl on the Train' by Paula Hawkins, 'The Girl in the Ice' by Robert Byrndza, 'The Girl in the Blue Coat' By Monica Hesse, and 'All the Missing Girls' by Megan Miranda, just to name a few! The book I recently read 'The Lake and the Lost Girl' by Jacquelyn Vincenta jumps right upon the girl-trend train with it's title. This one definitely felt like the publisher made the author name her book this. It just doesn't go with the feeling of the rest of the book.

This book takes place in two eras: in the thirties and in the nineties. In the thirties, a beautiful young poet named Mary Stone Walker goes missing. Some think she was murdered while others think she made a new life for herself somewhere else and went on to keep writing. The characters from the nineties story line are Lydia Carroll and her husband Frank Carroll. The couple are connected to the young poet because of one Franks obsession with the poet. Both Frank and Lydia are fans of Walker's work, but Frank takes it to a whole new level. Lydia becomes worried about her husbands obsession as it is turning him into a bitter man disconnected with reality. She feels her only salvation for her marriage is to truly discover what happened to Mary Stone Walker.

This book was a good read! I was definitely wondering what happened to the poet and on the edge of my seat to find out. One thing that was frustrating about this book was having to read about the awful husbands. Mary Stone Walkers husband is just awful and abusive. Lydia's husband is awful too. Men are allowed to get away with different levels of awfulness depending on the era that they live. Both men treat their wife's in reprehensible ways, but in very different manners because of the social norms. If Frank was born is the thirties he would have probably treated Lydia the same way that Walkers husband treated her. But Frank Carroll is abusive in a different manner, a more insidious manner.

The novel has fun twists and reveals and overall is a enjoyable book (despite the frustration of reading about such awful men). Any fan of the mystery genre will enjoy the layers of mystery in 'The Lake and the Lost Girl.'

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