The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood | Blog Tour Review | UK Paperback #Giveaway #TheHouseOnTheLake

Publisher: Penguin Books
Available in ebook (24 January 2020) | Paperback (20 February 2020)
320 pages
Source: Copy received for review from publisher


No matter how far you run . . .
He’s never far behind.

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secrets have Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

My thanks to Ellie of Viking Books for the invitation to take part in the tour and for providing a proof copy for review. My thoughts on the book are below however because my review had to be delayed for my blog turn, Penguin kindly allowed me to give away a paperback copy (publishing on 20 February) (open to UK only). Entry details are below.

And – if you’re an ebook reader, the book is currently available to download from Amazon UK for just 99p


Set over two timelines of 2002 and 2018 and with alternating perspectives from Lisa and “Soldier”, The House by the Lake is a dark and menacing thriller, where the suspense builds gradually.

Lisa has left her husband, and taking her young son Joe, has fled to ‘Rowan Isle House’, owned by a friend.  She has no idea that it is actually a dilapidated old building, not really fit for human habitation.  Long discarded possessions show that someone hasn’t been there for many years.  She must be desperate to consider living in such a place, especially with a young child. 

Going back to the earlier timeline, a young girl lives in the house with her father, known as ‘Sarge’.  A veteran of the Gulf War, and clearly suffering from PTSD, he is training her to hunt and survive off the land, or actually more to the point, controlling her.  Her identity is initially only known to us as ‘Soldier’ and his training methods are actually quite brutal. He has a distrust of the locals and both of them live an isolated life. 

I was wondering how and when the two stories would connect – reading on from the chilling prologue, this is initially a slow burner of a story, setting the scene and getting to know the characters but don’t be fooled, there are many secrets here and not everyone and everything is as it seems.  Rowan Isle House is a character on its own – if those walls could tell a story it wouldn’t be a happy one.

The remote setting of the Yorkshire Dales makes for an atmospheric read and adds to the sense of isolation.  The House by the Lake is a suspenseful story with its background of control and manipulation. Having read the author’s debut My Sister’s Bones, she seems to excel in creating damaged characters; even if they come across as unlikeable, it adds to the authenticity.

Exploring some dark themes, and at times a saddening and uncomfortable read, The House by the Lake is an intriguing and well plotted thriller with a conclusion that I wasn’t expecting. Recommended.


Please read before entering the giveaway

I’m delighted to offer a paperback copy of The House on the Lake to one winner. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to entrants aged 18 or over in the UK. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties with the exception of the winner’s details. This will passed to the publisher for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data I hold. My Reading Corner is not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Nuala Ellwood is the author of two bestselling novels: My Sister’s Bones for which she was selected as one of the Observer’s ‘New Faces of Fiction 2017’ and Day of the Accident. Nuala teaches Creative Writing at York St John University, and lives in the city with her young son.

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