The Lake of Dead Languages is a fluffy, thriller that weaves the present and the past in a way that tells two stories simultaneously, but still manages to make the reader feel like it is one, comprehensive tale. The main character, Jane Hudson is a Latin teacher at a private school, Heart Lake School for Girls, who is struggling to deal with suicide of three of her friends, which happened while she was a student at the same school more than 20 years earlier. When the events that happened while she was a student begin repeating themselves, Jane cant help but get wrapped up in trying to solve the mystery that surrounds the past and the present. The book is about Jane trying to discover what really happened 20 years ago, as well as protect herself, her students, and her daughter from becoming victim to the same terrifying end as her childhood friends.
Carol Goodwin does a good job of switching between the two time periods, particularly when it involves Jane reflecting upon what she wrote in the diary she kept while a student at Heart Lake. The novel itself is well-written, so it is easy for the reader to stay engaged.
There are, however, two main problems with the novelthe length and the ending. The story begins to move slowly and become repetitive, and it is not difficult to determine that there is more going on at the school than just suicides, but it is not until page 356 that Goodwin actually reveals what the reader likely already knows. To make matters worse, the final 30 pages after the revelation focus on neatly tying the story up into a pretty package. The last chapter, in particular, feels forced, rushed, and out of place.
Overall, the book is an easy, enjoyable read, but not terribly suspenseful. If youre looking for something to entertain you, you could do worse, but at the same time, its not a novel that you need to rush out and get.
This is the first I've read by this author and I definitely enjoyed it. It is primarily a plot driven book but does intimately explore and expand the characters, even though I wouldn't say they show enough growth to give anything but a nod to character development. It had very interesting flashback perspectives to events of twenty years before. I became impatient toward the end when the main character kept overlooking increasingly obvious conclusions about the villain. The author switched occasionally between first and third person, sometimes effectively and sometimes awkwardly. All in all, a solid read in which I found myself quite immersed.
I enjoyed this book..However I felt the beginning of the book was slow and hard to get into for me. I felt like it was being drawn out with alot of filler to take up page space. Once the mysteries start coming to light and drawing together however the books seems to flow at a much better pace. I'd recommend this book to people who want something a little different than the average thriller. I will try other books by this author.
This book has been blurbed as being comparable to Donna Tartt's Secret History, and indeed, there are some distinct similarities. Both books enter the world of New England private schools, paticularly the world of classics students obsessed with their teachers. Both books involve students entranced by the rites of the ancients, and in both the students perform clandestine rites with tragic consequences. All of these similarities aside, the two books have different purposes. Goodman's novel follows Latin teacher Jane Hudson, a teacher and alumna of the Heart Lake school in upstate New York. Hudson had a horrible experience at Heart Lake, and when mementoes from her past start washing up in the lake, she has little idea who or what could be responsible. Deaths and accidents in and around the school make it clear that Jane is being pursued by a malevolent force, and she is in real danger. And that danger makes this a gripping book. The story sucked me in quickly and held me to the end. Though I had determined the responsible party and the twist at the end before Goodman revealed it, the book was still engaging, and I couldn't wait to get to the end. In this book Goodman has woven a complex narrative with multiple layers of characters and relationships. The story jumps back and forth between Jane's past and present, and culminates when the two parts of her life collide. Suspense builds quickly in this book. Full of suspense and psychological intruige, I couldn't put the book down. I'll certainly be reading other of Goodman's books soon.
At last! a Thriller that is not totally predictable and formula like. Gripping to the last page. I will say it is a little formulaic (is that a word?) in that it is an isolated girls school, cut off by winter weather. The heroine has gone back there to teach, after finding herself in circumstances that she must take any job. Still, one of the better reads.
This is a very engrossing story about a teacher at a private girls school and a tragedy from the past, anything more would be a spoiler but it reminded me very much of "The Secret History" by Donna Tartt!
This book is about a woman who returns to her girlhood alma mater as a teacher. Twenty years earlier, three students drowned, all reportedly from suicide. Now girls are beginning to die again as the mystery from the past begins to unravel. The book is very well written in a beautiful style. The story seemed to last a little too long but all in all, a good read.
i have to admit i bought & started this book a year before picking it up and forcing myself past the intro and into the story- which i was instantaneously hooked. im a new fan of mrs. goodmans and this is my favorite of her books.
i loved the book- from the desirable characters and intriguing lifestyles to the way the writing (after that slow beginning) hooks you. even more- the landscape, poetry- just the over all art in this book is simply mesmerizing. despite it's few downfalls- an almost too naive main character, the end lets you figure itself out when maybe it should have unfolded a bit more elegantly and as previously stated- a slow beginning. YET, all small prices for such an amazing tale. it's a story you've probably not heard, i suggest picking this book up and prepare to have your nose in a book for the next few days! :)
One of the best authors I've read in a long time. A woman moves back to teach at her former school, where the mystery of the death of three of the students still haunts everyone. Attempting to reconnect with her daughter, she must struggle to understand what happened in the past when girls start dying again in the present.
A terrible tragedy happens at the Heart Lake School for Girls. Now, twenty years later, one of the girls involved has returned as a teacher. With her return, her diary from when she was a student all those years ago goes missing and girls begin dying again.
I thought this book was fantastic!!! The author deftly moves back and forth between the present and the past. The plot twists just keep coming and the over-all mystery is well-concealed until the end. Terrific characters.
20 years ago, Jane Hudson fled the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. The week before her graduation, in that sheltered wonderland, three people died, all victims of suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden in the depths of Heart Lake for more than two decades. Now, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start whith her young daughter, Jane has returned to the school as a Latin teacher. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories. And young, troubled girls are beginning to die again as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface.
Wonderful book, set in a school for girls. After going through a divorce , a former student returns to teach latin. Her senior year, where her roomates each tried to kill themselves, is being reenacted. Gothic feel, emotional writing.
At first I was turned off by the darkness and the goddess-rite sort of stuff going on, but once I got into the characters it wasn't too bad. By the time I got halfway through, I didn't want to put it down! Enjoyable and was fun to figure out all the different plot twists. Not as difficult as a J. Picoult, but very engaging! First book I've read by this author and I plan to read more.
Wow, this was a super great read. The suspense started at the begining and kept right on going. The characters are well developed and you really become involved in their lives. Don't let the title fool you, this is a great read!
This book was very disappointing, it was so unreal. The "heroine" had to have been the clumsiest person ever as she was chronically falling and tripping over everything and she was always clueless! Very disappointing.
Interesting story,kept with me enough mentally to pull me back in when I had been away from it. The beleivability ebbs and flows and characters seem a bit too easy to disect however it is well researched and engaging so I will give it 4 stars.
A GOTHIC AND ELEGANT PAGE-TURNER. The Boston Globe
Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson fled the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. The week before her graduation, in that sheltered wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden in the depths of Heart Lake for more than two decades. Now Jane has returned to the school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories. And young, troubled girls are beginning to die againas piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface. . . .
Author Biography: Carol Goodmans work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, Literal Latté, The Midwest Quarterly, and Other Voices. After graduation from Vassar College, where she majored in Latin, she taught Latin for several years in Austin, Texas. She then received an M.F.A. in fiction from the New School University, studying under Rick Moody, Francine Prose, David Gates, Amy Hempel, and Peter Carey. Goodman currently teaches writing and works as a writer-in-residence for Teachers & Writers. She lives in Long Island.