Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: Hotel on Shadow Lake

Hotel on Shadow Lake
Daniela Tully
Published April 10, 2018
When Maya was a girl in Germany, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then, shortly after Maya’s sixteenth birthday, 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 Montgomery Resort in upstate New York. How did she get there? Why had she come? Desperate for answers, Maya leaves her life in Germany behind and travels to America, where she is drawn to the powerful family that owns the hotel and seemingly the rest of the town.

Soon Maya is unraveling secrets that go back decades, from 1910s New York to 1930s Germany and beyond. But when she begins to find herself spinning her own lies in order to uncover the circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s death, she must decide whether her life and a chance at true love are worth risking for the truth. - from Goodreads
Maya's grandmother Martha disappears from Germany soon after Maya leaves for a trip to the United States.  Twenty-seven years later, out of the blue, Martha's body is found in upstate New York, near the Montgomery Resort.  Maya travels to the hotel to find out what happened to her grandmother and why she was found in this place.

Based on stories from the author's grandmother's life, Hotel on Shadow Lake is part mystery, part love story, and part family drama.  The story is told from the third-person POV of three main characters, and each had a slightly different feel.  When we first meet Martha, it is in late 1930s Germany, as the Nazi party is coming to power.  Martha is appalled by what is already happening in Germany, but her brother Wolfgang is an ardent supporter.  Then, the story switches to Maya's POV; while the writing in Martha's section felt sparse and almost utilitarian, Maya's section has a bit more heart and emotion.  There is a third main character, but I don't want to give too much of the story away (although I did figure out the twist pretty early on)!

When Maya goes to the Montgomery Resort to find out what ties her grandmother had to the hotel and the family that ran it, we find out that her grandmother was murdered, many years ago.  At times the story felt a bit over-dramatic, like the author was trying for a creepy feel, but it didn't really work.  Maya didn't always come across as the most competent character, either.

Weaved throughout the story are also a fairy tale that Martha told Maya as a child, some letters, and a gossipy history of the Montgomery family.  These elements helped add depth to the story, although sometimes it was a bit confusing trying to keep all the various generations of Montgomerys straight.  The dialogue at times felt stilted, but the descriptions of upstate New York and the hotel were beautiful and made me want to visit.  I liked the way the dual timelines came together, as well.  Overall, I enjoyed the story, but it didn't make a huge impression on me.

3.5 stars

28 comments:

  1. The book sounded like it had all the elements to be great, but I guess it got lost in the execution. Though, 3.5 is not a bad read, and it's good that your enjoyed it.

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    1. Yes, it didn't all work, but I definitely enjoyed it.

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  2. Too bad it didn't make more of an impression on you. But even so I think it's a pretty decent read? I'm definitely interested in it. Yet another book for my wishlist!

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    1. Yes, it was good! I hope you enjoy it!

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  3. The synopsis sounded awesome! From you review this definitely seems like one that would be a miss for me. Awesome review!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Erica! Isn't it a shame when the book doesn't totally live up to the synopsis?

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  4. Darn, I was hoping for so much more from this book since the synopsis sounded so good. Sounds like maybe the book was a little too ambitious. I may still give it a try at some point but I don't think it will be a priority. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I think all the ideas were there, it could have used more editing on the tone.

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  5. The synopsis sounds so good! Too bad the book didn’t live up to its potential.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. What happened to her grandma?! I kinda want to know now. lol I'm sorry it didn't quite work out for you though.

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  7. Bummer that this one didn't quite live up to expectations. I'm still intrigued the plot and setting, but bad dialogue is pretty hard to get past sometimes.

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    1. Yeah, bad dialogue is one of my pet peeves!

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  8. I like the sound of the themes and broad story. I'll keep it in mind, but maybe not rush to get to it. I would like to know about the murdered woman and that part of the story. Ha!

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    1. Haha, I know! You love the mysteries. I hope you enjoy it if you do read it!

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  9. Glad this one was okay, even if it not super memorable. It does sound like she captured the atmosphere/ setting really well.

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    1. The setting was good, the atmosphere was a little more muddled, unfortunately.

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  10. I don't think this one would be a good fit for me, but I do enjoy books with different timelines! Especially books that alternate between Before and After each chapter. It's interesting to see how the two will intersect. I love the anticipation!

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. Exactly, me too! You wonder how it's all going to fit together!

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  11. oh man thats a bit of a shame, it sounds like it has a bit going for it but maybe over done

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    1. Yes, I think it could have used more editing. It was actually a pretty short book, but it felt all over the place.

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  12. Apparently this book has it's flaws, still the summary is drawing me towards it. I may give it a try. Nice review, Angela!

    Ronnie @ Paraide Found

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  13. Sorry this one wasn't stellar. I do know how that goes. It really does sound like a good read tho. Have a great week Angela!

    Mary

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  14. This book does sound like it would be absolutely amazing. I am sorry that the writing wasn't what you had hoped for. The concept is really incredible, though. I hope that your next read is more enjoyable. :)

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  15. The blurb made an impression on me, I admit. I'm sorry the book didn't quite live up to the promise.

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!