‘All she wanted was somewhere to belong….’
The Room by The Lake is the debut novel from Oxford born writer Emma Dibdin. It tells the story of one girl’s search for a place to call home, a place where she will feel the warmth & welcome of others. But sometimes you get a bit more than you bargained for!!
Released in August 2017 by Head of Zeus, it’s a book that has been on my TBR for far too long!!
Today I share my thoughts with you so please do read on…
When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she’d left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the unrelenting pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a strange city, she is desperately lonely.
Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. And he wants her to meet his family. They live off-grid in a lakeside commune where they practise regular exercise and group therapy. They’re not Jake’s real family – but isn’t family exactly what she’s running from?
This could be Caitlin’s fresh start. But as the days drift by, she starts to feel uneasy. Now that she’s no longer running, does she risk getting lost forever?
Caitlin has suffered a very traumatic childhood in London. Her mother had psychiatric issues which Caitlin was very much exposed to from a young age. Yet her love for her mother shines through when Caitlin refers back to those days.
After the death of her mother, Caitlin’s father turns to the bottle. Caitlin struggles to witness this decline in her father and after one too many broken promises, Caitlin packs her bags and leaves.
Arriving to New York for the first time lost and alone, Caitlin books into a hotel. With no one to make contact with, she roams the streets of New York, creating fictitious life stories with strangers. Starved for company, Caitlin decides to accept an invite to a party and it is as this point that Caitlin’s life changes forever.
Caitlin meets Jake.
‘Good looking in a completely American way, bronzed and blondish and broad’
Her attraction to Jake is immediate and over the the next few days she learns more about him. He is a soldier returned from serving in Afghanistan and is very obviously affected by this experience. Caitlin soon finds herself completely under his spell. When he suggests they drive to the country for a few days, away from the city, to meet his family, though a little reticent, Caitlin agrees.
She is blown away by the sheer scale and location of his family home and they spend a blissful first evening together.
But the following day things change….
The Room by The Lake takes a very sinister twist as Caitlin soon realises all is not as she expected. Jake’s family are made up of a group of individuals, all with very similar behavioral patterns, all living a rather simplistic, yet very structured life. Caitlin, although initially quite skeptical of the lifestyle, soon finds herself immersed in the daily exercises. She almost embraces the lifestyle to a certain extent
It would be very easy as a reader to be cynical at this point. Is it possible that someone could be so gullible? I asked it myself. Caitlin has unwittingly being introduced into a cult, and even though she recognises that their behaviour is quite strange, she is attracted by the community vibe of the house. Caitlin was looking for company, for a hug, for a welcome into a group, having been feeling so alone in recent times. Her own life with her Dad has been a constant source of disappointment and worry. These people accept her and encourage her to be true to herself. For Caitlin, she believes she is regaining power and strength.
The Room by The Lake builds the tension up slowly. Caitlin is taken along on the tide and seems to fall under the entrapment of the Cult as the days pass. What she thought was regaining control is actually quite the opposite.
There were parts of the book that I did find a little too far-fetched, with an ending I felt was too conveniently wrapped up but for most of the book I was completely caught up in Caitlin’s journey
The Room by The Lake is a dark book with a very ominous feel throughout. The characters are all very strange and quite frankly creepy. There is quite a foreboding vibe throughout as we are exposed to the extent of the deception and lies among the residents.
An eerie read, The Room by The Lake explores the idea of how a person’s need to belong and to be accepted can be completely abused for the greater cause of The Cult.
Purchase Link ~ The Room by The Lake
About the Author (Courtesy of Website)
“I’m a lifelong writer and pop culture nerd, and feel endlessly grateful to have a job that combines both. Since moving to New York from London two years ago, I’ve spent a lot of time brewing coffee, writing fiction, and covering the ever-broadening selection of Peak TV – all while fighting a one-woman war against the culinary tyranny of cilantro.
My first novel The Room By The Lake is out now in the UK.”
Twitter ~ @emmdib
Website ~ http://emmadibdin.pressfolios.com/
I read this a bit ago and had high hopes. The description and storyline caught me in about the first third and then somehow, as the characters got lost in the forest, the plot, too, got a little lost. I agree on the ending…..
I’ve had it awhile and had been looking forward to it!! Like you I really got into it and then was like…huh??? Fast read but I would have liked a bit more realism thrown in at times especially the end….
Sounds eerie, but yet still interesting! Great review!
Tx Holly. Yes it is an interesting look at the whole ‘cult’ community…