cover image The Woman in the Lake

The Woman in the Lake

Nicola Cornick. Graydon, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-525-82355-8

Cornick (The Phantom Tree) ably interweaves genres, eras, and narratives in this romantic suspense novel with paranormal elements. In 1763, Lady Isabella and Lord Eustace Gerard are locked in a vicious marriage. She takes lovers to help her tolerate his brutality as he grows entangled with a violent smuggling ring operating near their estate in Wiltshire. When Gerard gives Isabella an opulent gold silk gown, the dress seems to speed their trajectory toward disaster. In 2004, 13-year-old Fenella Brightwell is driven by sudden compulsion to steal the gown during a school visit to the estate. Disturbed by the turbulent emotions and images it engenders, she hides it away in the house she shares with her grandmother, Sarah. Fourteen years later, Sarah dies and the gown is returned to Fenella, who’s now trying to rebuild her life after divorcing her abusive husband. Assailed by alarming visions, she teams with her best friend’s brother, art expert Hamish Ross, to learn more about the gown’s dark past. The tentative romance between Fenella and Hamish effectively balances the sinister mood of the 18th-century story. Romance fans will be most satisfied. (Feb.)