If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Jane Riddell’s “Daughters of the Lake” is a welcome entry into the family drama genre of storytelling. It’s swept up in waves of emotion, tension, and passion – all of the standard requirements for this style of writing.
Madalena, the owner of a hotel that is turning 40, has made the decision to invite her four adult children over to Switzerland to help celebrate the milestone anniversary. As all of her children arrive, so does the heightened tension and relationship revelations. You cannot have adult children all in the same place without some sort of conflict, even if it so happens to be in a grandiose hotel such as Madalena’s is.
The author’s attention to detail was one of my favorite parts of the book. Her vivid descriptions of the rugged mountains surrounding the hotel are allegorical to her children’s behaviors – sharp and immense. The lakes that surround the hotel act as a symbol of regrowth and rebirth, something all of the major characters tend to experience at some level by the novel’s ending.
Riddell manages to throw enough curve balls at the reader to maintain a certain active attention to the books words. While the cast of characters can get a bit hard to keep track of, the development of Madalena and her children’s characters are solid and well-rounded. Keeping the melodrama at bay, Riddell has written a book that is both entertaining and effective, ripe for a film adaptation, or at least a good mini-series.