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Book Review: This Halloween thriller has Lake Superior as a powerful character

Oct 29, 2018 10:25AM ● By Editor

By Mary Ann Grossman of the  Pioneer Press - October 28, 2018

“Daughters of the Lake” by Wendy Webb (Lake Union Publishing, $24.95). 

Lake Superior is a powerful character in Minnesota Book Award-winner Wendy Webb’s fifth novel, a supernatural Gothic thriller and family tale that moves from the present to 100 years in the past, where a love story ended in tragedy.

Kate Granger has returned to her parents’ home in Great Bay on the shores of the big lake to pull herself together after her marriage ends. When Kate’s father discovers the body of a woman, washed up on the shore, Kate somehow knows to look in the folds of the vintage garment she’s wearing to reveal a baby in the woman’s arms. Nearly hysterical, Kate collapses because she knows this woman — she’s been seeing her in her dreams/nightmares.

The woman is Addie Cassatt, gone missing from the town in 1889. Her story about waiting years for her lover, Jess, to return after college and marry her, is told in alternate chapters with Kate’s investigation of what happened to Addie. Sometimes, Kate seems to become Addie. Because her situation is so bizarre, Kate tells only her kind cousin, Simon, who has turned the family home into a B&B, and Nick, a local police officer.

As in Webb’s previous books, there are ghosts, hints of a haunted house, and old legends about the spirit of the lake, which Webb treats as a living thing. Minnesotans might be less surprised at the fate of women in this book because we know that Superior is a fickle force of nature.

Excerpt from Daughters of the Lake

“If he had only noticed the ancient pictographs that decorated the caves dotting the shoreline just beyond his boyhood home, Jess would have found a drawing of the very creature he had seen that day. Others had seen it, long ago. That might have led Jess to further exploration of the legends and lore of the region in which he lived. He would have found a story about an ancient, magical creature that exists in these waters, a fearsome spirit that was well known to the ancient peoples there. It was said that this creature was the embodiment of the lake itself, rendering its waters capable of saving or taking the lives of those who ventured on and around it — at its own whim. Legend had it that this creature could take human form at will.”

About the Author:  Wendy Webb


Wendy got her first writing job with City Pages, an arts and entertainment weekly in Minneapolis. She has been a journalist ever since, writing for national and local magazines and newspapers. Currently, she is editor-in-chief of Duluth Superior Magazine, a lifestyle monthly based in Duluth, Minnesota.  Wendy divides her time between homes in Duluth and Minneapolis, and a cabin on the Gunflint Trail, which is on the border of Minnesota and Canada. She lives with her spouse, editorial photographer Steve Burmeister, and their Alaskan Malamute, Molly. Her son Ben is in college, where he is undoubtedly the most handsome and charming boy on campus.

To read reviews of other Halloween thrillers from regional authors, follow this link to the Pioneer Press website.

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