September 2019’s Page Turner

Page Turners

Page Turners

by Val Tobin

Agents and editors will often decide whether a book is for them by reading the first page of a manuscript. Many readers also decide to buy a book based on that critical first-page sample. Each month I post the first page of a book and you can vote on whether or not you’d read the book based on the sample.

After you vote, I’ll let you know the title of the book, my reaction to the sample, and why I’d keep reading or why I’d put it down. The goal is to have fun while we explore the beginnings of a variety of books and what compels readers to keep reading.

While I won’t divulge the title or author until you’ve read the piece, I will include the genre and any preliminary items (for example, quotes) you’d see when opening the book on your own.

Today’s Excerpt

Genre: Mystery


Cornwall, August 1933

The rain was heavy now and the hem of her dress was splattered with mud. She’d have to hide it afterwards; no one could know that she’d been out.

Clouds covered the moon, a stroke of luck she didn’t deserve, and she made her way through the thick, black night as quickly as she could. She’d come earlier to dig the hole, but only now under veil of darkness, would she finish the job. Rain stippled the surface of the trout stream, drummed relentlessly on the earth beside it. Something bolted through the bracken nearby, but she didn’t flinch, didn’t stop. She’d been in and out of the woods all her life and knew the way by heart.

Back when it first happened, she’d considered confessing, and perhaps, in the beginning, she might have. She’d missed her chance, though, and now it was too late. Too much had happened: the search parties, the policemen, the articles in the newspapers pleading for information. There was no one she could tell, no way to fix it, no way they would ever forgive her. The only thing left was to bury the evidence.

She reached the place she’d chosen. The bag, with its box inside, was surprisingly heavy and it was a relief to put it down. On hands and knees, she pulled away the camouflage of ferns and branches. The …

Would you turn the page? Vote now.

September 2019: Would you turn the page?

Today’s Book Revealed

Today’s book is The Lake House by Kate Morton.

Blurb from Amazon

The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake House by Kate Morton

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Keeper comes a “moody, suspenseful page-turner” (People, Best Book Pick) filled with mystery and spellbinding secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories.

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a novelist. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old Edevane estate—now crumbling and covered with vines. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies from a masterful storyteller, The Lake House is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

Would I Turn the Page?

Yes. The writing style drew me into the story and I forgot I was reading—always a good sign. The hook was excellent.

The story starts us off in 1933 and something terrible has happened because an unidentified female is burying something she refers to as “evidence.” She also talks about confessing, which implies doing something illegal or unethical.

The sense that she’s done something criminal is then reinforced when she says it’s too late to confess because the police were already called. We deduce from all this she’s discussing a disappearance, but we don’t know how it relates to the mysterious female other than that she admits to having played a role in it.

The story turned out to be an entertaining read. I enjoyed living with the characters and puzzling out how it might end. Had someone kidnapped Theo or was that his body the young woman buried? The obvious conclusion isn’t always the correct one when it comes to a mystery story, especially one that’s well constructed, as this one was.

I’d happily read more from Kate Morton and have no problem publicly recommending this one.

What do you think?

Does this passage from The Lake House intrigue you? Does it make you want to turn the page and continue reading? Will you run out now and buy the book? Borrow it?

Val Tobin writes speculative fiction and searches the world over for the perfect butter tart. Her home is in Newmarket, Ontario, where she enjoys writing, reading, and talking about writing and reading.

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Karen Taylor
Karen Taylor
4 years ago

The tone and action intertwined beautifully. I found it exciting and the right place to start the story. I’d turn the page for sure.

Nanci Pattenden
Nanci Pattenden
4 years ago

Intriguing and well written. I’d turn the page for sure.