Love beats at the heart of Lakesedge, but as our heroine fights for survival — hers, her brother’s, and that of the monstrous boy who has drawn her into his secretive life — she discovers that to end a curse, love will demand sacrifice. With notes of Labyrinth and The Secret Garden, Lyndall Clipstone combines the best elements of gothic romance and horror into a debut novel that pulls readers under and doesn’t let them up for air until the very last page.
I was eager to read Lakesedge as soon as I first heard about it, and I was very fortunate to be one of a few early bookseller reviewers. I’m pleased to report that it lived up to all of my expectations! This dreamy tale has it all: murder, tragedy, a crumbling ruin, and (of course) a monster in the lake.
With quiet heroism, the main character, Leta, leads readers through a world that is dark but full of hope. The manor where the supposedly murderous Rowan Sylvanan lives is much more of a home than it first appears, and it was genuinely heartwarming to watch Leta and her brother slowly make a place for themselves among the colorful characters who live there. The cozy aspects of the book work well to give readers a break from the parts that are firmly in the gothic horror genre, including a terrifying character who we will (hopefully!) see a lot more of in the sequel. Let’s just say the Labyrinth comparison isn’t just about aesthetics.
The thing that delighted me the most about Lakesedge is how much I know I would have loved it as a teenager. In high school, I gobbled up early YA books like Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty and Clare B. Dunkle’s The Hollow Kingdom along with novels for adults like The Thirteenth Tale or The Historian. Now, gothic fantasy is enjoying a renaissance on the YA shelves, and a new generation of introverted, black-clad kids gets to enjoy the dramatic highs and lows of the genre once again.
I, for one, am very pleased that I can hand them Lakesedge.
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