Sent to me by Head Of Zeus in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 01/07/17
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
Format: Hardback, 310pp
Genre: Psychological Drama/Thriller
Summed up in a word: Disconnected
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…
The Room By The Lake is a brilliant psychological drama with the focus heavily on the manipulations of the mind, body and soul. Caitlin has fled to New York City to escape her alcoholic father and the memories of the severity of her mother’s mental health decline. Caitlin is lost and adrift and she knows in her heart that she cannot return home. Then a spontaneous visit to a house party leads her to Jake. They have immediate chemistry and Caitlin can’t believe her luck. When Jake asks her to meet his parents at their family estate out in the country, Caitlin is ecstatic, maybe she doesn’t have to leave America after all.
Upon arrival Caitlin finds out immediately that all is not what it seems. There was no parents, but Jake does have a family living out the country. A community of individuals dedicated to rehabilitating themselves from the insanity of modern life. This group are off the grid, living on nature and harnessing the depths of the human mind. Caitlin wants out, angry and disappointed, but when they offer her the stability she has craved all of her life, it all begins to feel like home. When the tranquillity is shaken to the core by a death and the fog lifts, Caitlin realises she needs to escape.
I thought The Room By The Lake was a superb read. Emma Dibdin understands the complexities of mental health and uses it to manipulate both the plot and the reader. I appreciated the way that ED was conscientious of worn out plot designs and set out to side step the usual cliches that come with remote psychological thriller novels. Instead ED gave us a thoughtful but fundamentally dark story that focuses on the flaws of the human mind. I was amazed by the community that Caitlin attaches herself to, their paleo diet, mindfulness and healing. But as events begin to take a dark turn and the good nature of the group begins to curdle, this novel turns into something else entirely.
A well paced, natural plot filled with troubled characters that is continuously contorted by the psychological affects of sleep deprivation, hunger, social pressure and many other stressful effects. I highly recommend The Room By The Lake to all as it is a refreshing perspective in a sea of modern mind-bending thrillers.
About Emma Dibdin
I’m a lifelong writer and pop culture nerd, and feel endlessly grateful to have a job that combines both. Since moving to New York from London two years ago, I’ve spent a lot of time brewing coffee, writing fiction, and covering the ever-broadening selection of Peak TV – all while fighting a one-woman war against the culinary tyranny of cilantro.