Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Blog Tour: The House by the Lake by Ella Carey

A few weeks ago I read my first Ella Carey book, and today, I bring you my review of the second book in the Paris Time Capsule series as part of the blog tour celebrating the book's rerelease through Bookouture.

Anna Young runs a successful cafe in San Francisco. Her life is busy enough. When she isn't working she is spending time with her beloved grandfather, Max. She certainly doesn't have time for a relationship, despite his insistence that she should try. Part of the reason why she isn't all that fussed about the idea of marriage is having observed her grandparents cold and distant relationship over the years.

Whilst Anna is close to Max, she knows very little of his life before he came to America. He has always been a closed book when it comes to that time. It is therefore very surprising when he reveals to Anna that he left something behind in his childhood home, and that he wants her to go back to Germany to fetch it.

Finding out that she is descended from an aristocratic German family is the first of many surprises in store for Anna when she returns to the family schloss. Not all the surprises are good though. The people in the small town near the schloss have no interest in talking to her at all once she mentions Max to the point of being resentful. As for the family estate, that is locked tight, and no one is saying who the current owner is.

Anna join forces with a lawyer named Wil to and gain access to the schloss and retrieve the item, all the while not knowing why it is so important to her grandfather right now. And she can't ask him because he has fallen ill back in San Francisco.

Like Anna, the reader finds out more about Max's life as a member of a well to do family in the mid-1930s. When he is on vacation at Lake Geneva Max meets a young French woman, Isabelle, and the couple fall in love. Isabelle is the granddaughter of a former courtesan. Back in Paris, Isabelle is frowned upon by the upper echelon of society, but this doesn't matter to Max. 

Whilst he leads a seemingly carefree existence, things are changing in Germany. The Nazi party has come to power and Max's family is pressuring him to join the party in order to protect the family's interests. How does he choose between his family's wishes and the woman he loves. And what would make him walk away from everything he knows to choose a new life in America.

I have read at least three books this year that are set in WWII Germany and telling the story of German characters. While we have had all sorts of other perspectives over the years, it hasn't been as common to read from the perspective of ordinary Germans. As much as I love reading about Paris and France, it was also nice to read about Germany. I found myself googling pictures of schlosses, which of course then leads to dreams of holidays taking in lots of German countryside. One day!

I mentioned in my review for Paris Time Capsule that the structure for that book was all set in the present but looking back to the past. This book has the more common structure of telling both stories alternating between the past and present. As Anna follows the clues to unveil her family's past, maybe she can also unlock a different future for herself. 

When I first started reading this, I did find myself wondering how it was going to link in with the first book in the series, but it all became clear pretty quickly, and in the end, I really enjoyed how this book filled in the gaps in the story from Paris Time Capsule. And now, I am reallly looking forward to reading the third book in the trilogy, From a Paris Balcony.

Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy of this book

Book Description:

The cobbled streets were dark as Isabelle hurried through the shadows, dodging in and out of doorways, constantly looking back. She worried the sound of her loudly thumping heart would give her away, as she peered around a corner. Suddenly, Isabelle was surrounded by Nazi soldiers, their black boots pounding on the pavement, barring her way…

1939, Berlin. Max Albrecht is the young and handsome heir to a beautiful house on a lake where he spent his happy childhood. As war approaches, his parents tell him he must join the Nazi party or the whole family will be killed. But when his beloved French fiancé Isabelle shows him the horrifying truth, Max faces an impossible choice: protect his family or save the girl he loves?

2010, San Francisco. Anna Young is content with her life, running a bustling deli and taking care of her adored grandfather Max, who raised her. Max has never spoken of his past until he hands over an old map, the plans to a grand house just north of Berlin. With a shaking finger, he points to it and says, “I left something behind under the floorboards. Please bring it home before I die.”

When Anna arrives at the crumbling manor in Germany, she discovers a hidden engagement ring in a velvet box. She is desperate to find the woman her grandfather hoped to marry, but the local villagers look away when she mentions Max’s name, and back in San Francisco he is now in hospital, too unwell to speak to her. What did Max do so many years ago? Is Anna ready for the terrible secret that her family’s past may hold?

From bestselling author Ella Carey comes an unforgettable novel, weaving together past and present. Gripping and heartbreaking, The House by the Lake uncovers the secrets and devastating choices that people were forced to make during history’s darkest time.

Author Bio:

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.

Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website.

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  1. I am sorry that I missed this on Netgalley. It sounds delightful.

    1. I have enjoyed both of the books I have read by this author

  2. I enjoyed this one too and am also looking forward to the next book.

    1. Just have to find time to read it right!

  3. This is a new series to me and a new author. It sounds great. I will have to look into it.



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