Ladies of the Lake [Book Review] #HistoricalFiction #NetGalley @TyndaleHouse #TyndaleHousePublishing #BookTwitter

Ladies of the Lake is a poignant and engaging historical fiction story of lifelong friendships.

Ladies of the Lake by Cathy Gohlke

Ladies of the Lake by Cathy Gohlke (cover) Image: four young women walk arm in arm across a grassy field with a lake visible behind them

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction (1910s and 1930s), Lifelong Friendship, Mother/Daughter, Prince Edward Island and Connecticut

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My Summary of Ladies of the Lake

Thanks #NetGalley @TyndaleHouse #TyndaleHousePublishing for a complimentary e ARC of #LadiesOfTheLake upon my request. All opinions are my own.

When eleven-year-old Adelaide’s parents die, her older brother (and now guardian) sends her to Lakeside Ladies Academy in Connecticut. Even though she’s lonely and distraught, she makes friends with three girls and they refer to themselves as “ladies of the lake.” One tragedy (an actual historical event), one boy, and one war later, Adelaide is now Rosaline, a popular author. Her daughter is about to graduate from Lakeside Ladies Academy and Rosaline is invited to attend. But is Rosaline ready to return to the place of so many memories, face her past, and reconnect with the friends she has abandoned?

My Thoughts:


At the heart of this story is a lifelong friendship/bond between four girls who meet at boarding school where they endured loneliness, confronted bullies, and competed for a boy. What started out as a pact to reunite every two years after graduation fell by the wayside as Adelaide/Rosaline returned to Prince Edward Island after a tragic event (Halifax explosion of 1917), hid behind her pen name, and avoided all contact with the boarding school and her friends. Can these women salvage their friendship? Will forgiveness, understanding, grace, compassion, and reconciliation win?


Thoughtful themes include secrets, misunderstandings, bullying, enduring friendship, second chances, mother/daughter relationship, loyalty, forgiveness, reconciliation, grace, secrets, jealousy and competition, prejudice, women supporting women, and telling the truth.

The Writing

The first book I read by Cathy Gohlke was The Medallian. I soon followed that up with A Hundred Crickets Singing, and I knew then that I would read her next release and that she would be on my authors-to-follow list. I am not disappointed!

In Ladies of the Lake, I appreciate Gohlke’s well-drawn and complicated characters, an intriguing premise, a multi-layered plot, and vividly described settings. She’s quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me! How many auto-buy authors are too many? Asking for a friend.

Plot Twists


In general, I must admit that I’m not too fond of extreme plot twists at a story’s end. For me, there’s a fine line between an authentic jaw-dropping plot twist (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine) and one that makes me feel like I’ve been punked or deliberately misled (Everything, Everything). The plot twist in Ladies of the Lake left me with ambivalent feelings. I’m thrilled that the plot twist allowed a HEA ending, but I also felt that I should have been a smarter reader. This is simply a personal preference and did not affect my star rating or overall enjoyment of the story. But it’s significant enough to my reading experience to mention.

Recommending Ladies of the Lake

I enthusiastically recommend Ladies of the Lake for fans of engaging historical women’s fiction, for readers who have a connection with the setting, and for those who appreciate fiction with strong themes of friendship and women supporting women. Book clubs will find many discussion possibilities.

Related: Also by Cathy Golhke: The Medallion, A Hundred Crickets Singing

My Rating:  5  Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Meet the Author of Ladies of the Lake, Cathy Gohlke

Author of  The Medallian, A Hundred Crickets Singing, and Ladies of the Lake, Cathy Gohlke

Bestselling, Christy Hall of Fame, and Carol and INSPY Award-winning author, Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Her critically acclaimed novels include A Hundred Crickets Singing, Night Bird Calling, The Medallion (winner of the 2020 Christy Award), Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Christy, Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008 and winner of the 2008 Christy and American Christian Fiction Writers Award) and William Henry is a Fine Name (winner of the 2007 Christy Award).

When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at, and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks; on Bookbub (@ CathyGohlke); and on YouTube, where you can subscribe to Book Gems with Cathy Gohlke for short videos of book recommendations.


Have you read this new release or another story by Cathy Golhke?

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  1. I have read three of Catherine Gohlke’s books and enjoyed them all. I love the themes you has in her stories. I have been to Halifax, the site of the explosion as well as the museum that shares the story, I have also read The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism by John U. Bacon and am intrigued by that historical event. I know that is not the main story in this book, but it gives me some connection to it. I just found the audiobook at the library, so will probably do a read/listen with this one. Great review, Carol.

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