Book Review: The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur

imagePages: 320 pages

Published: August 4, 2015

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Genre: Fiction & Literature, Women’s Fiction


Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend’s drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother’s love and doesn’t understand why Jo keeps running away.

Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her–but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community’s tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family. The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur is a riveting novel that is impossible to put down and hard to forget.”

The truth will set you free.

That famous sentence is the running theme in this emotional debut novel. Discoveries and revelations stir the pot in this small lakeside community that makes this novel so captivating and riveting until the very last page.

You really shouldn’t think of this as a mystery novel. There is a mystery that you’ll itching to figure out. However if you are like me, you’ll most likely figure out half way through the book. But you should really read this novel for the relationships, especially the mother-daughter relationship. It was fascinating to read Caroline trying to earn a closer relationship with her mother but also try to understand her better. You can really feel Caroline’s frustration and her pain over her strain relationship with her mother.

Speaking of Caroline, even at twelve years old, she was the only grown-up out of all the characters. Some of her actions may have been impulsive but done for selfless reasons. Her mother, Jo, on the other hand could use some “growing-up” at the beginning of the novel but towards the end the revelations cause her to realize some things within herself, to take a second look at her life. So actually, this book was a coming-of-age novel for both Caroline and Jo.

Overall, if you are looking for a book looking to into deep interpersonal relationships with a dash of mystery mixed in, this should definitely be tour next read.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Note: I received this ARC copy from NetGalley for an honest review.

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