A pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully, published by Legend Press on 1st February. I was so intrigued by this book with its comparisons with The Shadow of the Wind – one of my all-time favourites – and its origins in the author’s family history, letters to her grandmother finally delivered after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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. Desperate for answers, Maya begins to unravel 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 what happened, she must decide whether her life, and a chance at love, are worth risking for the truth.
‘It’s a story of love, tragedy and intrigue that vividly illustrates the unyielding grip that the past holds in shaping the future…and the enduring power of love.’ Lee Goldberg, NYT Bestseller & TV Producer
This is no way to start a review – particularly as part of a blog tour – but I will admit that, although relatively short in length, there were elements of this book that I did find challenging. However, the introduction, with the arrival of the much delayed letter from Martha’s dead twin brother, provided a very intriguing start and immediately hooked me in – and the story of her girlhood against the backdrop of the rise of Nazi Germany, her love for forbidden books, the atmosphere of danger and violence, all enthralled me, an engrossing story beautifully told.
I became a tad less engaged when the story switched to her grand-daughter Maya – in the US, investigating her grandmother’s disappearance and unexplained death twenty-seven years earlier. The fairy story – central to the plot, tying various threads together – lost me a little and was maybe a little over-long. The complications of the Montgomery family history took some concentration too, although I was very glad I stuck with it – the story then picks up pace again with a shift of timeframe and viewpoint, a return to Nazi Germany, with edge-of-the-seat drama, an unexpected love affair and again an engrossing story of love and hidden secrets. The story’s conclusion too is just perfect – tying up the threads, with a tremendous emotional impact.
Although I didn’t find the reading entirely easy, I do think that was partly my fault – I read the book in short bursts, and this is a cleverly constructed book that would have really benefitted from reading in a more focused way. Would I recommend it? Yes, I most definitely would – although not entirely the book for me, others would love the central mystery and investigation, and the writing and story telling is just excellent, a powerful story of enduring love. And many of the scenes from Martha’s girlhood and the book’s concluding scenes will stay with me for some time to come.
About the author
Daniela Tully has been working in the field of storytelling for decades, mainly in film and television. She has been involved in projects such as the critically-acclaimed Fair Game, box-office hits Contagion and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as the Oscar-winning The Help. She currently lives in Dubai.