Gothic revival: In the Shadow of Lakecrest

Last night I dreamed Lakecrest was on fire. Elizabeth Blackwell’s In the Shadow of Lakecrest begins with this bit of homage to Daphne du Maurier and Rebecca, but Blackwell puts her own spin on the Gothic novel, and quite a ride it is.

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in-the-shadow-of-lakecrestKate Moore, Blackwell’s narrator, is a bit of a gold digger. She has survived a rough childhood with one ambition: find a wealthy man, marry him, and escape the past. Her past is indeed full of secrets, right down to her true name.

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When she meets Matthew Lemont on an Atlantic crossing in the summer of 1928, she is traveling as a governess, only allowed in the first class areas of the ship in the company of her temporary charges. A flirtation follows, and suddenly Kate is catching a ride to Chicago in Matthew’s family train car.

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Kate is an honest gold digger. She doesn’t love Matthew—in fact she has a few misgivings about him from the very beginning—but she likes him well enough, and when he asks her to marry him she accepts his proposal with every intention of holding up her end of the bargain.

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That seems easy enough living in his apartment in Chicago, but his family’s bizarre, decaying mansion on the shore of Lake Michigan—comprised of more architectural styles than Kate can count, and guarded by gargoyles—and his controlling mother are enough to make her wonder if she can abide by her decision.

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Lakecrest is full of family secrets, and Kate has no idea who she can trust. But then Kate has secrets of her own to protect.

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I have a confession to make here. Although back in the day I gobbled up the Gothic tales of Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt, the had-I-but-known mysteries of Mary Roberts Rinehart, and the suspense stories of Phyllis A. Whitney, I have never read Rebecca. I’ve never even seen the movie. All I know is that famous first line, Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. So on the way to the grocery store, I stopped at Half Price Books and picked up a copy to add to my vast waiting collection of Books To be Read.

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If you enjoy Gothic novels, old or new, pick up In the Shadow of Lakecrest.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Feb 24, 2017 @ 11:51:45

    Sounds intriguing. I used to gobble up gothics. Some of those author names you threw out really, really date us. I wonder how many people nowadays ever heard of Mary Roberts Rinehart, my mother’s favorite mystery writer (along with John Dixon Carr, who a lot of people today have never heard of).

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    • Kay Hudson
      Feb 24, 2017 @ 16:00:28

      John Dickson Carr was the master of the Locked Room mystery. Some of the oldies have been popping up on ebook sales, which might spark some interest. Right now I’m reading a Mr. & Mrs. North mystery published in 1941. I still enjoy the old ones from time to time. So many books, so little time to read them!

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      • Cheryl Bolen
        Feb 24, 2017 @ 16:51:47

        The mysteries I enjoy most are those from the early to mid-1900s! I just sold some Mr. and Mrs. North books in my shop in Galveston! (I could have given you a hardback of Rebecca. I’ve always got them in my shop.) Don’t think I’ve sold a John Dixon Carr there in years, though I have a few (I only carry hardbacks) on my shelves gathering dust. You gotta know who he is (or was).

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  2. Cheryl Bolen
    Feb 24, 2017 @ 11:55:06

    I forgot to chastise your for not having read Rebecca. It’s du Maurier’s classic. The movie changed the ending. It’s an unforgettably unique book. You never know the narrator’s name.

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    • Kay Hudson
      Feb 24, 2017 @ 15:58:11

      Half Price Books had several copies of the mass market edition, which I would have needed a magnifying glass to read. Fortunately they also had several legible trade paper copies, which is what I bought. I did know that about the narrator–one of those books that everyone has heard about, even if they haven’t read it.

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