The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

The Lake of Dead Languages

In the evocative tradition of Donna Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History, comes this accomplished debut of youthful innocence drowned by dark sins. Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. Now she has returned to the placid, isolated shores of the lakeside school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous m...

Details The Lake of Dead Languages

TitleThe Lake of Dead Languages
Release DateDec 27th, 2005
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Suspense

Reviews The Lake of Dead Languages

  • Kate
    Hmm. One of those books you want to be done with but have to finish to see how it ends. Kind of a thriller, kind of a mystery. The narrator is a former student of all-girls' school Heart Lake who comes back to teach Latin as an adult. In her time there as a student, both of her roommates committed suicide, and now someone seems to be recreating this past aggressively and accusatorily (I may have made this word up; if not, I spelled it wrong). Thi...
  • Madeline
    A modern Gothic mystery - reminds me of The Secret History.(well, technically, I read this one first, so I should say The Secret History reminded me of this book. But same difference.) Bottom line: both are incredibly creepy and really good reads.UPDATE, TEN (holy shit) YEARS LATER AFTER I RE-READ THIS ON A WHIM:(Wow, it's amazing to go back to Teenage Madeline's reviews and see how short and boring they all are.)As my original review states, I r...
  • Amy
    Oh, wow...where to begin. There were elements of this book that I wanted to give 5 stars. The story, the plot, the intertwining of characters and their histories. A nice reveal at the end (although it was very predictable). The problem was the pacing. I felt like I was reading the book f...o...r...e...v...e...r. At one point I actually stared at the page number, 287, and could not believe there were STILL 100 more pages to go. Too much detail and...
  • Sheila
    4 stars--I really liked it.I adore this book for its setting (a girls' boarding school), its plot (full of gothic twists and turns), and its Classical and literary allusions (the deer imagery, the poetry scraps, etc.). All the Goodman books I've read have had school settings (reflecting her own experiences, I think), and they're always authentic and full of interest.
  • Blair
    A '9 out of 10' book - it won't be added to my list of ultimate favourites, but it was the best thing I've read for a long time. I love stories of this ilk, and The Lake of Dead Languages has everything; flashbacks to the narrator's intriguing past, buried (or rather drowned) secrets refusing to stay that way, a boarding school housed in an old mansion, parallels with classical mythology, pagan rites and ice storms. I found Jane likeable from the...
  • Amy
    This is the first book I have read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. This book, overall, is well written with a descriptive, atmospheric prose and a touch of gothic undertones to make it just dark enough for me to love. Composed of secrets, lies, suicide, murder and revenge; Goodman brilliantly weaves layers into the plot that kept me engaged until the end. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
  • Barbara
    I don’t know why I picked up this book, but it must have been based on a bookseller’s recommendations. I had no idea what to expect, but the book quickly drew me in. The protagonist, Jane Hudson, has taken refuge from her failed marriage by returning to her former boarding school in upstate New York. Pieces of the journal she kept during her senior year start appearing, reminding her of the tragedies 20 years ago – her roommate’s suicide,...
  • Dardenitaaa
    An all girls’ school. A Latin Class. A troubled magistra with a shady alumna past. Students writing Latin phrases on their arms and razor-slicing their wrists open. Stolen Diaries. Secret Pregnancies. Taboo Love. Suicide on ice, water and dorm rooms. Academic Pressures. Friendships gone wrong. Ghost lakes and tragic folklore. History Repeating itself.Relax, I’m not spoiling the entire book yet. If you’re a fan of mysteries with gothic touch...
  • Oroboros72
    This is the first Carol Goodman book that I read, and despite myself I read two of her others even after being so irritated with this one. And I felt the exact same way about all of them. They all have great symbolism, exciting twists, interesting layers of metaphor and intertwined stories. And they are all utterly ruined by Goodman not giving her reader any credit whatsoever. When you almost have that satisfied 'Ah, I have figured something out'...
  • Chloe (thelastcolour)
    “Spirit of the Lake, we come here in the spirit of friendship. We don’t ask for special protection”...”All we ask is that whatever happens to one of us, let happen to all of us.” Many times, whilst reading this book, I had to place ‘The Lake of Dead Languages’ down in front of me and just stare into the distance. It was eerie and gritty and raw and the characters felt so vivid and real. This book was set at an all girls boarding s...
  • Renee
    I really enjoyed Goodman's writing, but I had to remove stars because I figured out all of the plot twists before they happened, which made for a bit of an anticlimactic ending. I spent the second half of the book wanting to shake Jane and say "REALLY?! This is painfully obvious!!!" I really can't say if this predictability is due to Goodman's inadequacies or my teenage tendency to read V.C. Andrews books. Things that Goodman seems to consider sh...
  • Shorty
    This is a very good novel, and I enjoyed it a lot. It kept me interested until the end. The ‘action’ scene at the ending was a little overdone, but I guess it was plausible.... I’m not sure. I just kept thinking someone else could have helped the main character out just a bit more, then.Vivienne Benesch is the narrator, and she was great with the different voices of the characters, and the pronunciation of Latin and French.3.75 stars, and r...
  • Darren L.
    I'm only about 20% into this novel, but I'm already impressed by the seemingly effortless but genuinely elegant prose. This lady can write. Several of the characters (in both the past and in the present) reach their hands up from the page and become spooky real. I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't fall apart as I go farther.***Okay, finished it. Interestingly enough, there were so many people who compared this to The Secret History that I rea...
  • Blake
    This was the first of this author's that I had read- and I loved it. It had all the elements of what makes a good eerie mystery novel- for women. I can't really see myself recommending this to a man. That's not being sexist but it's easy to explain. Lead female character flees with 4 year old child to former boarding school set in brooding frozen upper New York isolated country to teach LATIN (of all things) in hot house atmosphere of teenage gir...
  • J.B. Trepagnier
    I picked this up on a whim at I think either target or a bookstore right before a movie I was seeing. The blurb grabbed me way more than the cover did. This book blends coming of age with mystery and suspense with romance languages and boarding school as a background. I didn't see the ending coming at all and I normally have some inkling in most books.While this was my first Carol Goodman book, it wasn't the last. I pick them up when I see a new ...
  • Suzanna Tempesta
    A book that starts off really good, and ends up...just bad. Voice and OverallI really liked the hook of the Latin classes, and I thought the beginning was good also. But after the introduction of all the characters, there was a big, and I mean big, downturn in the quality of the book.At some point I felt like I was reading a chick-flick; with all that nonsense about hiding her diary and being worried about what Myra Todd (I think that's what her ...
  • Eileen
    This is one of those books I wanted to be done with, but I also wanted to find out the truth behind the events. It's an eerie and cold mystery novel that deals with memories, death, loss and guilt. Not a book I would have chosen for myself to read, but I always like a challenge.I want to thank my Goodreads friend Jen for trying to broaden my horizons by giving me this book and sharing a book with me that she obviously enjoyed reading. During our ...
  • DeAnna Knippling
    A Latin teacher tries to keep her students sane at an all-women's high school, while sorting out her own past. Very gothic.I loved this and read it almost in one sitting. It's *very* similar to Donna Tartt's The Secret History, but then so are a lot of other books set at some sort of school-away-from-home in which one discovers that not all of the interesting people that one meets are actually nice people. Both are very trope-y books, and I quite...
  • ZOEY
    Good to know that the time I spent waiting for this book wasn't in vain .A good mix of creepy and crazy thrown into the mystery/thriller genreDefinitely recommended.Will be reading Arcadia Falls soon and hope it's as good (or better)
  • nicky
    a decent read i wish would have inspired more enthusiasm in me. the story itself was rather interesting but not too excitingly executed. it felt as though it wished to convey TSH vibes (view spoiler)[(incest, classics etc.) (hide spoiler)] but something was lacking. i was hoping for more elusiveness, more obsession, more REASON for obsession mainly, as I did not find Lucy half as enticing as everyone else made her out to be. same with Domina Hele...
  • Caitlin
    Interesting premise, but the plot twists were obvious and the writing became repetitive. I felt this could have benefitted from some good editing. Disappointed it didn’t live up to my expectations.
  • Amy
    So many twists and turns. I did figure out who was causing the problems, but it was well into the last section of the book when it clicked. I like that it wasn't too obvious, it kept me interested.
  • Lauren
    The book starts out with our narrator Jane. Portions of the book are present day and told in first person and the rest in diary form. The journal portions read exactly like the present day. She is always the outsider looking in. The school is so cut off from the world that only vague references in society attitudes toward sexuality denote the years. That and when Jane researches her school alumni.Jane doesn't write the usual boring entries about ...
  • Taylor
    4.5/5 stars. Goodman's gothic tale of murder and sex is highly predictable, well written, totally captivating, smart, well researched, and gripping. Jane Hudson returns to her old boarding school as a Latin teacher. Having done so, however, has triggered a series of murders/deaths that are strangely reminiscent to the deaths experienced during Hudson's stay at Heart Lake, twenty years before. Goodman replays the event's of Hudson's senior year in...
  • Debra
    This is my 2nd book by this author, and I'm very impressed. Her prose is beautiful. This particular book had slow-building suspense. I had the mystery figured out before it was revealed, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. Will read more books by this author. Highly recommended.
  • Ellen
    This is a suspense book, and as such I feel incapable of getting into the things I feel about it without spoilers. I'll briefly discuss the rating first and then shout in the spoiler tags. So!Three stars, because I finished the book, despite shouting "I hate this why are you like this" several times near the end. There were genuinely compelling bits of writing, and I wanted to see a resolution badly enough that I stuck it out. The audiobook reade...
  • Lucy Barnhouse
    I stayed up till 1:30 in the morning finishing this. It is sensationalist in a... foreseeable sort of way, but perhaps it's more foreseeable if one's been reading Euripides for half a lifetime. And I don't object to foreseeing a lot of twists and turns! What I valued the most about this book was the way that it cares about diverse women choosing to pursue the life of the mind, for a variety of reasons. The prose is elegantly crafted, and the evoc...
  • Annie
    Again read this for a uni paper I'm honestly so busy I didn't even have time to rate this until just now even though I finished this last week. Would not recommend reading this in one sitting it took me two even though I needed to get it done in one it was kind of slow to get into though quite interesting I suppose again was looking at this so closely and not from an entertainment pov. HUGE TRIGGER WARNING for depression/s*icide basically mention...
  • Athena
    Well Albie a son of a bitch. Ugh, I knew it the whole time. Albie! This story was very predictable for me. I knew Lucy and Matt were lovers, and I knew, once I realized that Dr. Lockhart was never mentioned by her first name, that she was Albie! But that's beside the point. I gave this book three stars, but I have read and agreed with other readers' two star reviews. There is way too much going on in this story. It's very far-fetched. The narrato...
  • Tricia Lawrence
    I liked this novel overall but found it overly complex and confusing with characters from today and twenty years ago, intertwined with students with English and Latin names from both periods. Throw in secret adoptions, suicides (or murders?) and it’s a relief to finish the book! And if you manage to tie up all the loose threads, my hat off to you. Still, perfect read over the Christmas holidays!