The Secrets of the Lake

Written by Liz Trenow
Review by K. M. Sandrick

In 2019, 84-year-old Molly Goddard is forced to turn her memories back to the time when she, her father, and brother Jimmy first arrived in the English village of Wormley and found Mere, its lake, seventy years earlier. Police have come to ask questions about what they recently found at Mere’s bottom. Could the bones belong to Jimmy, who was last seen in 1950? Could the patch of red cloth be a portion of the mac he once wore? Molly asks herself: can she bear it? The remembering? She must, she tells herself.

The Secrets of the Lake deftly switches from elderly Molly’s trepidation to teenage Molly’s encounters with the beauty and the ugliness of the world: the ups and down of her first crush, the sense of outrage and determination to thwart a powerful landowner’s deceit and manipulation, the joys and frustrations of watching out for a special needs younger brother, and the recognition of untoward and devastating consequences of her actions.

The story is unsettling as readers anticipate the thrust of the narrative. It is imaginative as it draws readers into a story within a story about the mythical monster of the lake. It is deeply moving as readers become acquainted with Jimmy’s new friend Eli and Molly and Jimmy’s WWI shell-shocked father. An emotional tour de force.