About the Book
After two young women’s deep bond is torn apart, what will it take to bring them together again? In The Ladies of the Lake, the beloved author of Saving Amelie and Night Bird Calling returns with a transformative new historical novel about the wonder and complexities of friendship, love, and belonging.
When she is forced to leave her beloved Prince Edward Island to attend Lakeside Ladies Academy after the death of her parents, the last thing Adelaide Rose MacNeill expects to find is three kindred spirits. The Ladies of the Lake, as the four girls call themselves, quickly bond like sisters, vowing that wherever life takes them, they will always be there for each other. But that is before: Before love and jealousy come between Adelaide and Dorothy, the closest of the friends. Before the dawn of World War I upends their world and casts baseless suspicion onto the German American man they both love. Before a terrible explosion in Halifax Harbor rips the sisterhood irrevocably apart.
Seventeen years later, Rosaline Murray receives an unsuspecting telephone call from Dorothy, now headmistress of Lakeside, inviting her to attend the graduation of a new generation of girls, including Rosaline’s beloved daughter. With that call, Rosaline is drawn into a past she’d determined to put behind her. To memories of a man she once loved . . . of a sisterhood she abandoned . . . and of the day she stopped being Adelaide MacNeill.
In My Opinion
In Ladies of the Lake, Cathy Gohlke gives readers a story of friendships—from formation through fractures to restitution and reconnection—and loss and love.
I felt for Addie when she was a girl coming to Lakeside Academy and even more so when I learned of the next tragedy she endures. Yet, she finds meaning in her life—even though that life is a lonely one.
Dot, on the other hand, I had a hard time liking. At first, when she’s standing up for her friend, she is fine but as jealousy takes root and she becomes bitter toward Addie, I started to disapprove of her—and that lasted through the second half of this story. She became more of a mean girl than a lifelong friend.
That said, all is brought out into the light at the end of the book. And even though I had completely figured out what I think was supposed to be a twist to the reader very early on, Gohlke does an amazing job of drawing parallels to Anne of Green Gables and giving readers some history on the Halifax explosion (which, I have not read about before).
While Gohlke’s previous books have been set during World War II, this dual timeline story is as well told and detailed as her previous stories.