The Secrets of the Lake by Liz Trenow

Thank you to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invitation to read and review for the blog tour. Thank you to Pan Books for a copy of the book to read and review. This is the first time I’ve read a novel by Liz Trenow and I will be adding her previous books to my shopping list.


In a quiet village, a terrible secret threatens to break the surface….

The war may be over, but for Molly life is still in turmoil. Following her mother’s death, her father uproots them from London for a new start in a quiet village in the Essex countryside. Soon after their arrival, Molly and her disabled brother Jimmy befriend Eli, a reclusive WW1 veteran who tends the graves in the village churchyard. He tells them of a local myth about a dragon that lives in the nearby lake. If it is disturbed, he says, evil things will happen in the village…

The young Molly dreams of becoming a journalist and finding a voice in the world, but most of the time she has to be 10-year-old Jimmy’s carer. When she falls under the spell of a local boy, the charismatic and rebellious Kit, rowing on the waters of the lake with him becomes Molly’s escape from her domestic duties. But there’s something Kit isn’t telling Molly…

Then church funds go missing and Molly’s father, the new village vicar, falls under suspicion, while Eli’s home – an old shepherd’s hut in the woods – comes under threat. When the summer heatwave breaks into a violent storm, Molly sneaks out the house to set things right but instead that night her brother vanishes, never to be seen again…

Now in her eighties and a successful children’s author, Molly finds the memory of that long hot summer stirred up again when she gets a visit from the police telling her that human remains have been found in a drained lake. Will Molly finally get an answer to the question that still haunts her decades on and discover the truth behind her brother’s disappearance?

My thoughts:

As regular readers of my blog know, I enjoy reading historical fiction novels. I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed this book, which is an excellent example of this genre.

Molly in 2019 is still haunted by the disappearance of her brother Jimmy in 1950. The novel moves backwards and forwards in time, after the police contact Molly about a possible link to the missing persons case.

Molly has lost her mother to illness, and her father is still dealing with the mental health issues caused during the War. Moving to Essex in 1949 was meant to give them a fresh start but sadly some of the locals are determined to make life difficult.

I loved reading about how Molly and Jimmy came to appreciate the changing seasons of the countryside, after growing up in London. Mrs Diamond sounded lovely – a housekeeper cum family friend. Liz Trenow created a village full of great characters and locations.

Molly was a character that I wanted to give a big hug to, both the young Molly and the older Molly, as both dealt with the loss of Jimmy. The story is heartbreaking in places, and a reminder that there are unkind and nasty people in the world, who will try to blame others for their own actions, whether by ignorance or deliberately.

This is an excellent historical fiction novel that I’m happy to recommend.

Author Bio:

LIZ TRENOW is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. The Secrets of the Lake is her eighth novel. The Forgotten Seamstress reached the top twenty in the New York Times best seller list and The Last Telegram was nominated for a national award. Her books are published all over the world and translated into many languages.

She lives in Essex with her artist husband, and they have two grown up daughters and three grandchildren. Find out more at, or join her on Twitter or Instagram @LizTrenow or Facebook at

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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