A stunning debut novel that examines the price of loyalty, the burden of regret, the meaning of salvation, and the sacrifices we make for those we love, told in the voices of two unforgettable women linked by a decades-old family mystery at a picturesque lake house.
In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family—her father commits suicide, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child.
Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine. For Justine, the lake house offers freedom and stability—a way to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the home she never had. But the long Minnesota winter is just beginning. The house is cold and dilapidated. The dark, silent lake is isolated and eerie. Her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more about the summer of 1935 than he’s telling.
Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives to steal her inheritance, and the man she left launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house haunted by the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.
What a great read! Told from alternating persons between the past and the present. Justine's great aunt Lucy died and left her the house by the lake along with a diary of some sorts. Although Lucy only met Justine once as a 9 year old girl she knew it would be her to uncover the truth about what happened to Justine's 6 year old sister Emily all those years ago. Emily went missing the day her family was supposed to leave their summer house by the lake. As a result of her disappearance, Emily's mother as well as her 2 sisters Lucy and Lilith wind up living the remainder of their lives at this lake house. You don't really understand why they chose to stay there all those years until the very end of the book. As I read through this book I had a mixture of emotions about several of the characters not really knowing exactly who was safe and who wasn't. In the end Lucy's secret is revealed and so is Emily's!