In the Shadow of Lakecrest
Kate Moore had a rough, violent, and deprived childhood. Now, as an adult, she desperately wants to find a way out of her current situation as a mere governess. So, when she meets dashing, rich, Matthew Lemont, in 1928, she leaps at the chance to become a member of the famous Chicago Lemonts. She soon realizes that her hasty marriage, however, is not without issues and surprises. Her mother-in-law is domineering, controlling, and frightening. Her new husband is haunted by his past, and there are many family secrets buried deep in the house. Matthew’s twin sister is also a bit too close to her brother, which hints at debauchery and incest. Kate becomes intrigued, and soon obsessed by the Lemonts and their secrets, including the mysterious disappearance of Aunt Cecily many years ago. She begins to think that Matthew’s nightmares and troubles began the night his aunt disappeared. Digging deeper, though, draws her into more disturbing family secrets and lies.
This story is reminiscent of Du Maurier’s Rebecca. It even begins in a similar fashion with the heroine dreaming of the house, and then leading into a flashback narrative. Like Rebecca, Lakecrest is a spooky story with a gothic feel and deep, shadowy secrets that come trickling out of the floorboards. It takes a long time for Kate to gather courage to act on her beliefs and stand up for herself, which at times is a bit exasperating. It’s a bit shocking, though, when Kate finally takes action and acts like a “true” Lemont. This is very different from Blackwell’s other novels, but it’s an excellent mystery and gothic story well worth a read.