Upset me in any way and it will be brought up in every subsequent argument until the end of time itself.
I’m actually quite a nice person. I accept mistakes but I also accept my reaction to them.
Anger shows passion. Anger shows commitment.
I want to teach my children to stand up for themselves, have beliefs and the confidence to state them.
I want them to be angry and challenge injustice or unfairness. I won’t apologise for being unbending in expecting basic decency from people. I will be angry about the subjugation of women. I will be angry about racism and slavery. I will be angry about LGBTQI abuse.
Sorry seems like such a throwaway word these days, very rarely meant with any hint of regret. So I stay angry.
Anna’s grandfather Max is 94 and the discovery of a Parisian apartment frozen in time deeply affects him. He begs Anna to travel to his childhood home in Germany and retrieve an engagement ring hidden there seventy years earlier. Anna travels to Germany but finds the locals and new owner to be unhelpful. Can she find the ring and Max’s lost love?
The House by the Lake has a dual timeline of Anna in 2010 and Max in the 1930s. We first met Isabelle de Florian in Paris Time Capsule but now find out much more about her life and love. However, this would work just as well as a stand alone novel, and perhaps it would even work better as the first in the series as readers of the first book already know what happens to Isabelle so the impact is reduced.
The build up of the relationship between Isabelle and Max develops in contrast to the rise of Nazism and the political situation in Europe. The class and social struggles that Isabelle faces at first fade to insignificance compared to the prospect of war.
I liked the use of a relationship between a French woman and German man to show the troubles faced by both nationalities in the lead up to war. There is a feeling of hope at the end of the book which softens the heartache of earlier events.
Anna in the present day is tenacious in her search for her grandfather’s ring and his lost love. The descriptions of Germany and the house are vivid, and I felt drawn into the mystery even as it unfolds in the earlier timeline.
Overall, The House By The Lake was an enjoyable historical novel about love and loss.
The House by the Lake book description:
The cobbled streets were dark as Isabelle hurried through the shadows, dodging in and out of doorways, constantly looking back. She worried the sound of her loudly thumping heart would give her away, as she peered around a corner. Suddenly, Isabelle was surrounded by Nazi soldiers, their black boots pounding on the pavement, barring her way…
1939, Berlin. Max Albrecht is the young and handsome heir to a beautiful house on a lake where he spent his happy childhood. As war approaches, his parents tell him he must join the Nazi party or the whole family will be killed. But when his beloved French fiancé Isabelle shows him the horrifying truth, Max faces an impossible choice: protect his family or save the girl he loves?
2010, San Francisco. Anna Young is content with her life, running a bustling deli and taking care of her adored grandfather Max, who raised her. Max has never spoken of his past until he hands over an old map, the plans to a grand house just north of Berlin. With a shaking finger, he points to it and says, “I left something behind under the floorboards. Please bring it home before I die.”
When Anna arrives at the crumbling manor in Germany, she discovers a hidden engagement ring in a velvet box. She is desperate to find the woman her grandfather hoped to marry, but the local villagers look away when she mentions Max’s name, and back in San Francisco he is now in hospital, too unwell to speak to her. What did Max do so many years ago? Is Anna ready for the terrible secret that her family’s past may hold?
From bestselling author Ella Carey comes an unforgettable novel, weaving together past and present. Gripping and heartbreaking, The House by the Lake uncovers the secrets and devastating choices that people were forced to make during history’s darkest time.
Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.
Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website.
For today’s post I thought I would share some of the funny converstions I’ve had with my kids:
After watching the final 3 Star Wars films, Anya asks “Who’s Kylo Ren?” despite over 6 hours in his company, toys and dressing up clothes!
Zach has personal space issues. In that I am his personal space and he has the right to sit on me at all times and frequently wrggle irritatingly, leading to this phrase: “Get your foot out of my curry”
Discussing future career options with Matt, he said “I want to be a fireman when I grow up.” I replied that I would worry about him and he said “You’ll be dead by then.” Nice thought!
Matthew once told me “I’ll be as quiet as a potato” Well they certainly are quiet!
When Matthew was about 2 years old, he forgot the word brown and told me very loudly in public that I have grey hair. He was not popular!
Beth has an intense relationship with her seven year old son due to his anxiety. She has no partner, no friends and no family she can turn to for support. After a screaming tantrum in a supermarket, children’s services get involved and take Dylan away, placing him in foster care. Beth is determined to get him back home where he belongs. Ally fosters Dylan but her own family begins to fall apart. Can the two women become friends and support each other…?
When You Were MIne is such a heartbreakingly emotional book. I battle with myself about being too overprotective of my children yet don’t want to be so relaxed that I feel negligent. It is such a careful balance and Kate Hewitt has done an excellent job at presenting this dilemma.
Beth and Dylan are caught in a vicious circle and though it is dreadful to separate children from their parents, sometimes distance can bring about positive change.
Ally is a wonderful character. Proud of her teenagers, she imagines she has a perfect life and wants to give something back in the form of fostering. The events of the book show that opportunities and good parenting only go so far and an individual has the freedom to make their own choices in life that may not correspond to the dreams of their parents.
Beth and Ally are in contrast throughout the book and see each other as rivals, almost enemies. oth have Dylan’s best interests at heart but have been placed in opposition by the justice system. Each chapter alternates between the two women and this is a really clever way to make us care and empathise with them both equally.
“Dylan…” I croak, but my little boy doesn’t even look at me. “Dylan!” My voice is louder now, and my gaze stays locked with my son’s as the car pulls away from the curb and drives away, taking my very life with her.
Single mother Beth loves her seven-year-old son Dylan with all her heart. He’s her world. So when a terrible series of events lead Dylan to be taken into foster care, she is determined to do whatever she can to get him back.
Mother of two, Ally has always dreamed of fostering—it feels like her chance to give back when she has been so lucky in life. But when Dylan joins their family, Ally finds herself struggling to balance his needs with those of her own children and husband—something Beth can’t help but witness when she visits.
Beth wants nothing more than to find a way to bring her beloved child home. But when she also sees Dylan bonding with Ally, she has to ask herself – where is the right home for Dylan? She wants to believe it is with her… But does a mother always know what’s best for her child?
A beautiful, powerful and ultimately hopeful story of the heartbreaking power of a mother’s love, for fans of Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.
Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.