I hadn’t read anything by Laura Lippman in decades (literally), so I was happy to receive a review copy of Lady in the Lake.
First, the good stuff! I loved the well-drawn 1960s Baltimore setting, with very different attitudes towards women working, mixed-race relationships, divorce, etc. Although I was only a child then, Lippman’s writing echoes what I remember hearing many adults (including some of my own relatives) say at the time. The plot was engaging and there is a major twist that comes in an unexpected way, and at an unexpected time, that really adds to the story. And I felt that the protagonist, Maddie, developed depth throughout the book.
With all that said, I had two issues that diminished my enjoyment of the book ever so slightly. First, I found the multiple points of view to be a smidge jarring. This is, I think, perhaps a bit of a personal idiosyncrasy – I tend in general not to like multiple points of view. And it probably won’t bother many other people, but if you’re like me, you’re now forewarned!
(The second issue involves a very minor spoiler for a very early part of the book, so skip the next paragraph if you wish…)
My second issue was that I simply had a lot of trouble imagining that Maddie would leave her marriage in quite such an unplanned way. I could imagine that she would not accurately predict or prepare for how things would work out early on, and thus she would be surprised. But I had trouble imagining that she would really not have almost any plans at all. Perhaps this was meant to be indicative of how truly sheltered she had been, but it just caused a hiccup for me. After a few more chapters, this didn’t really matter anymore, so I just sort of put it aside. But while I was reading about it, it annoyed me.
In the end, however, both my issues are minor, and I’m giving Lady in the Lake a four-star review, which for me is a very solid “read this book” recommendation. And I’ll be looking for other Lippmann titles in the future. Finally, I would like to thank NetGalley and Faber & Faber for the review copy.