Published by Head of Zeus on August 10th 2017
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.
Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.
It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever...
The Room by the Lake is an engrossing fictional account of a young women adrift, finding home in the arms of strangers, and the consequences that ensue. The first novel by Emma Dibdin is stylish and well plotted and I found myself questioning whether what our main character Caitlin was experiencing was real, her unreliable memory, or a dream. This made for a very engaging read.
Enduring grief and disappointment, Caitlin makes a desperate escape to New York City from London. The story is mostly narrated from her inner dialogue. Lost and alone and in a very vulnerable state, she finds herself swept into a friendship/potential romance. Where she ends up is not at all in her plan, even with the few that she has. She’s in a daily mode of survival and the promise of a respite from this is all too tempting.
The story unfolds as she finds herself more and more captivated by the potential of this new life. Whether or not it’s temporary, no one knows. The facts are that she’s burdened with a family history of psychosis and addiction but at times she appears to be in deep denial. Her stay by the lake creates the perfect environment toward a path for healing. I’m not sure what it says about me that I found passages of Caitlins’ inner thoughts resonated with me. Her observations leaned toward an insightful quality that at times is amusing ( making up backstories for people she “watches”) and at times rather sobering:
“I remember hearing somewhere that as soon as one area of your life begins going well, another will inevitably fall to pieces, and so of course now I have control over my body, I have lost all grip on my mind. My thoughts have become treacherous , double agents whose loyalties remain a permanent mystery, and though I’m sleeping better my dreams feel invaded. “
As Caitlins’ time in New York morphs from a place she escaped to to a place she needs to escape from, she finds herself challenged to want to return home. Reality hits and things get real real quickly. If you like a smart and thought provoking mystery, this is the read for you. 4.5 Stars and recommendation in the mystery genre.
~Review by Cyndi