Today is my turn on the blog tour for The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin published by Head of Zeus.
When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.
Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.
It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever…
Before we get to the review, look at that cover! I was sucked in by it and if that wasn’t enough what about the statement ‘All she wanted was somewhere to belong’, how many of us feel that way? I know I have.
Ok, review time!! I think this should be enough to say what I thought about this book – I was sent a copy for the blog tour and read it, then while perusing NetGalley I saw a book called The Room by the Lake and thought to myself ‘Hmm I have heard of this book it is meant to be good!’ naturally, I requested it. When I was approved and started to read I was thinking how familiar it was, eyed up my hardbacks and, low and behold, there it was…. I continued reading the version sent from NetGalley!
So we now know I am brainless when it comes to the names of books that I read but we also know that it was so good I read it twice.
This book actually hit home with me, big time. Here we have Caitlin whose mother was schizophrenic and she is deathly afraid that she will go the same way. She has left England behind her as her father is an alcoholic and her mother has died and is trying to find herself in America. She meets Jake and he whisks her away to a lakeside cottage and there she finds a new family.
I really loved the idea of this way of life, it really intrigued me. I guess that is how these cults work though, they make you think that everything is perfect but then your mind makes you think you are ill, at least that is how this one went!
We need routine and time to express ourselves, something Caitlin didn’t seem to have at home, and this place offered it. Exercise, clean diet, working together as a group, time with a former councillor and homebrew – what more could one want?! YEAH…. RIGHTO…move along chaps, that is on the surface!
As time progresses, a year or so we are told, poor Caitlin’s mind starts to fracture and she realises that this life is not what she needs. She tries to get away only to be brought back and finds out stuff about herself that she was in no way aware of.
This is a brilliantly written book. It shows how the human psyche can react to situations and deals beautifully with the subject of mental health along with reprogramming that takes place in these cults (I will point out that it is not just cults that this happens in but also within personal relationships and familial relationships).
*This is a must read however you can see from my review that it is regarding forms of mental abuse and mental health so if this is a trigger for you then tread lightly.*
Thank you so much to Head of Zeus for my copy (and NetGalley for my oopsy moment!)