Book Review: ‘Hotel On Shadow Lake’ Has An Interesting Premise But Ultimately Fails To Deliver

by | Mar 11, 2018 | Books, Featured | 0 comments

When Maya was a girl, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then her grandmother disappeared without a trace, leaving Maya with only questions to fill the void. Twenty-seven years later, her grandmother’s body is found in a place she had no connection to.

The story that author Daniela Tully presents is well-researched and given the timeline between pre-war Garmany and the present, has a very good insight into the politics at that time. The book’s heroine, Maya, has a complicated story and you have to hold on to the narrative or you are going to come undone. Maya’s grandmother disappears off the face of the planet, a woman well beloved by Maya. We find a letter being delivered to her in 1990 that had been posted forty-six years earlier. Then we are taken back to 1938 and become familiar with the rise of the German people and the onset of World War II.

Tully presented the German people and their journey into war exceptionally well. We then we move forward in time to 2017 and Maya is in her bookstore when her father calls her and tells her that her grandmother’s body has been found. Her body had been discovered after a landslide uncovered it in the United States near a hotel well known for its old-fashioned ambiance. It is a mystery to Maya how her grandmother was found so far away and the mystery deepens when she goes to speak with the owners of the hotel.

As a murder-mystery, it gets bogged down with the constant switching from the past to the present and I gradually became irritated with characters who really had nothing to add to the story. I know the odd red herring is necessary for a story such as this but at the end of the book, I had absolutely no empathy for any of the characters herein. Time jumping has to be well done or you lose your storyline and your audience. It was an intricate read but I found it tedious in places and it would not be a keeper for me.

Available now in bookstores

Ann McDonald