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Black Lakeby Johanna Lane
Synopses & Reviews
"A lush, beguiling beauty, like the Ireland of its setting"* about a family losing grip of its legacy: a castle estate on the cliffs of Donegal.
*Elisa Albert, author of The Book of Dahlia
The Campbells have lived happily at Dulough, an idyllic, rambling estate on the Irish coast, for generations. But upkeep has drained the family coffers. Faced with the heartbreaking possibility of having to sell, John Campbell makes a difficult decision; to keep Dulough he will turn the estate into a tourist attraction.
He and his wife, daughter and son move from the luxury of the big house to a caretaker's cottage. The upheaval strains the already tenuous threads that bind the family, and when a tragic accident befalls them, long-simmering resentments and unanswered yearnings are forced to the surface.
As each character is given a turn to speak, their voices tell a complex and fascinating story about what happens when the upstairs becomes the downstairs, and the legacy that remains when family secrets are revealed.
"Dulough, an imposing castle, stands by the sea in the far northern reaches of Ireland, where it has been inhabited by the Campbells since its completion in 1857. Lane's haunting debut novel is a character study of the mansion and the last generation of Campbells to call it home. Dulough is isolated even from the nearby town of Donegal, yet the estate, with its steep cliffs and howling winds, has a magnetic pull, changing the lives of everyone who lives there. Upkeep on the castle is expensive, and without new money coming in, John Campbell must turn it over to be run as a museum. He, his wife Marianne, and their children move into a cottage on the grounds and watch as old furniture is removed from the main building and tourists view the family's former rooms from behind velvet ropes. Finding themselves unmoored, the family questions the meaning of home and who they are without Dulough. When tragedy strikes, the family is forced to redefine themselves yet again. New fears and old doubts are catalogued as each character delves into the move from the castle to the cottage. Dulough's mysterious history is woven into the narrative, with lush descriptions of its interiors and persona. The characters, unfortunately, only hint at complexity, but perhaps that is the point: the protagonist of this book is Dulough itself, and John and his family are just one generation to pass through. Despite its uneven flow, Lane's story glows with quiet grief. This is a solid debut novel about what happens when a family whose identity is deeply rooted in their home is forced to move." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A debut novel about a family losing grip of its legacy: a majestic house on the cliffs of Ireland.
The Campbells have lived happily at Dulough--an idyllic, rambling estate isolated on the Irish seaside--for generations. But upkeep has drained the family coffers, and so John Campbell must be bold: to keep Dulough, he will open its doors to the public as a museum. He and his wife, daughter, and son will move from the luxury of the big house to a dank, small caretaker's cottage. The upheaval strains the already tenuous threads that bind the family and, when a tragic accident befalls them, long-simmering resentments and unanswered yearnings surface.
As each character is given a turn to speak, their voices tell a complicated, fascinating story about what happens when the upstairs becomes the downstairs, and what legacy is left when family secrets are revealed.
About the Author
Johanna Lane was born in Ireland, studied English Literature in Scotland, and earned her MFA at Columbia University. She teaches composition and creative writing in New York City.
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