Eleanor's Magic Doorway

I spent most of New Year's Day ensconced on the couch, reading The Lake House by Kate Morton (Atria, 2015). Sometimes a member of the family joined me, most often the dog. It was a lovely way to start my reading year.

Now for the book: The Lake House is internationally-bestselling Australian author Kate Morton's most recent novel (it was published in the US in October; there was a long hold list). If you've read any of Morton's other books, The Lake House might feel familiar to you (in a good way): there are missing children, abandoned houses with lush, overgrown gardens; family secrets. The story is usually told in chapters that alternate past and present, gradually intertwining them. Children's books (invented ones) are often connected in some way to the events of the narrative. In The Lake House, the children's book is Eleanor's Magic Doorway.

Sadie Sparrow, the Detective Constable investigating the 70-year-old cold case of the real Eleanor's missing child, is not impressed--"From what she could gather, these kids' books were all alike" (113). Probably because she didn't read Eleanor's Magic Doorway as a child, although it had been a gift from her grandparents (a cautionary tale for those of us who like to give today's children fondly remembered books from our own childhoods). The book does merit a chapter in someone's doctoral dissertation, titled "Fictional Escap(e)ades: Mothers, Monsters and Metaphysics in Children's Fictions," which makes me wonder what the dissertation on Children's Books in the Novels of Kate Morton is going to be called.

If The Lake House sounds appealing, do seek out Morton's other books as well! The Forgotten Garden is my favorite.