‘Two women stand in the shallows, a man dead at their feet, while around them buildings burn.’
This dual timeline story centres around Casey and her granddaughter May. When May inherits her grandmother’s house in Nebraska, she leaves Australia to sell the house which has sat vacant since 1958. The house is part of an estate set up by the Love family who envisaged a resort on the banks of a lake. May, escaping a controlling and violent husband and a remote teenage son, wonders when she arrives whether her grandmother has given her the opportunity to escape.
The run-down house fronts a stagnant poisoned lake and as May works to put the house on the market, she learns why her grandmother abandoned it for a life with her small daughter in Australia and discovers how their lives interconnect.
This is a beautifully written book and my first by Australian author, Robert Lukins. He does a superb job drawing out the characters as well as the sinister relationships they deal with. The treatment of abuse by controlling men was sensitively as well as brilliantly portrayed.
I enjoyed the description of the town, the people and the lake. Underneath the welcoming and friendly veneer lies economic and environmental issues which create a running tension pushing us to urge May to stay strong. A trip to the countryside provides a tour guide to the state which although interesting seemed a little out of place.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable read full of tension and great pace. Highly recommend this one.