Book Review: The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick

the women in the lake by nicola cornick book review


London, 1765

Lady Isabella Gerard, a respectable member of Georgian society, orders her maid to take her new golden gown and destroy it, its shimmering beauty tainted by the actions of her brutal husband the night before.

Three months later, Lord Gerard stands at the shoreline of the lake, looking down at a woman wearing the golden gown. As the body slowly rolls over to reveal her face, it’s clear this was not his intended victim…

250 Years Later…

When a gown she stole from a historic home as a child is mysteriously returned to Fenella Brightwell, it begins to possess her in exactly the same way that it did as a girl. Soon the fragile new life Fen has created for herself away from her abusive ex-husband is threatened at its foundations by the gown’s power over her until she can't tell what is real and what is imaginary.

As Fen uncovers more about the gown and Isabella’s story, she begins to see the parallels with her own life. When each piece of history is revealed, the gown—and its past—seems to possess her more and more, culminating in a dramatic revelation set to destroy her sanity.

  • Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

  • Published: 3/1/2019

  • Publisher: Graydon House

  • Pages: 320

  • Goodreads Rating: 3.64

the woman in the lake nicola cornick book review

Why I Chose This Book

What I found unique about this story is that it is centered around one dress. What is the mystery of this dress and how does it connect the two stories? I haven’t seen too many stories like this, so I definitely wanted to read and review this one.

First Initial Thoughts

There are two time periods in this book. I found it interesting that this book was set right as the American Revolution started against the colonies and the British. However, no war was actually mentioned but I am not sure how much England was affected at this time.

Isabella is a married woman in the elite society. She is married to a horrible man who abuses her. One day her husband gifts her this beautiful golden gown. After an event she wants to destroy it and sends her maid, Constance to destroy it. But some how it still survives. I really liked Constance her maid - she was there for Isabella when her husband was cruel. During this time - it was hush hush when it came to domestic violence. I found it quite sad.

Set in the modern time we meet Fenella. We first meet her when she is 14 and is on a trip to a historic home in London. When she was younger she had an impulse to steal- little things here and there. There she sees the golden gown. She steals the gown and leaves the home. When she comes home she stashes it away because of the odd feeling it gives her.

Then the story flashes ahead to 10 years later when she is in her mid twenties and divorced. She is a survivor of domestic violence. I loved how Nicola brought us attention to how Fenella acted in daily life. Afraid, lonely, suspicious, etc. This is very common for those that are victims of domestic violence. They often think that their ex partner is still out there to get them. And they also have a hard time trusting others again.


I love any story set in England. It’s one of my favorite settings for a book. And this book delivers. Nicola immerses you into both time periods so well and seamlessly goes back and forth in time. This book definitely had that eery feeling - and almost a feeling of confusion when either Isabella or Fenella was wearing the gown. Nicola definitely knows how to write a scene and make you feel like you are there right along with the characters.

Final Thoughts

The two woman in this story were so similar in their situation. Isabella and Fenella both had to deal with cruel husbands. However, we could see the differences as Fenella could get out of the marriage and Isabella had no choice. Isabella was stuck in the marriage and really only had Constance to lean on.

What really made this book was the characters. I absolutely adored Isabella. I liked Fenella but I felt more connected to Isabella. Nicola did such a great job in character development. As you all know good character development is on my top 5 must have in a book. I did find that the story was a little slow but if not for the characters I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

This book was quite chilling and suspenseful. I noticed there was a supernatural element throughout the book. Specifically the gown was the main supernatural piece. it wasn’t too much though (not like a horror movie) and found it interesting how the gown connected the two woman. Secretes, betrayal, murder, deceit, and such more were found within the pages of this book. I really enjoyed reading this story and reading how it developed over the pages.

The only question I have, is how did the gown survive all these 200+ years? Nicola made it seem like it was in pristine condition.

Would I Recommend?

Yes and no. There are supernatural elements to this story - so for those that don’t particularly like that may want to pass on this one.

About Nicola Cornick

Nicola Cornick

USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick has written over 40 historical romances and now writes Gothic time slip for HQ and Graydon House.

Nicola’s writing is inspired by her love of history and was fostered by a wonderful history teacher and by her grandmother, whose collection of historical romantic fiction fed Nicola’s addiction from an early age. She studied in London and Oxford and works as a guide and historian in a 17th century house as well as acting as a historical adviser for TV and radio. Publisher’s Weekly have described her as a rising star and her books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and for the Romance Writers of America RITA Awards.

Nicola lives near Oxford with her husband and dog. When she isn’t writing she enjoys long walks in the countryside, singing in a choir and volunteering as a puppy walker for Guide Dogs.

Connect with Nicola

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was sent a copy of this book to review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Eilinland by Bailey Davenport

eilinland through the wall book review bailey davenport


Four warriors of Southern Eilin receive a vision: a young girl locked in a cell. There is no question as to what this vision means. They must leave behind comfort and safety to depart on a dangerous journey to Northern Eilin – the toilsome region to the north of the wall dividing their world in half. As warriors of the south, it is their duty. But as they prepare for the journey the next morning, their plans are complicated by an unexpected addition to their team. 

They struggle to stay on track as their attention is split between the mission and the difficulties within their group. Trust is tested and allegiances questioned as they get closer to unraveling the mystery of the captive girl. It will take all of their strength and focus to overcome the powers they fight against and make it home alive.

  • Genre: Christian Fantasy

  • Publisher: Self Published

  • Published: 11/2018

  • Pages: 263

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.67 Stars

Eilinland bailey davenport book review
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel
— Proverbs 27:9

Why I Chose This Book

Bailey reached out to me to review her debut book. I found the synopses really interesting because she created a world completely different than ours. And I am always up for a new Fantasy book!

First Initial Thoughts

What I first noticed is that it read very much like a young adult book. Therefore, this book would be great for any age group over age 12.

Rheen is a young girl that recently traveled to Eilin and one day gets caught by the officers for stealing some bread. She then gets caught up with a group of warriors - Bierno, Jekka, Gillio, and Derick. The group of warriors were on their way to the north to help rescue a girl when they decide to bring on Rheen along with them. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of Rheen. As the story continues you get a sense that she is running from something.

I really liked the group of warriors. They were friendly to Rheen when they didn’t have to be. They accepted her as one of their own and took care of her. I thought them to be very genuine and friends I would definitely like to have. Each of them had their own struggles and I liked that Bailey emphasized that part. It made me feel more connected to the characters.


Bailey created a whole new world in this book. It definitely had a Medieval feel but with dragons and various different creatures. I noticed that there was no magic which is a common theme in most Christian fantasy. I found it easy to understand the world and visualize the world of Eilinland.

God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.
— 1 Peter 5:7

Final Thoughts

What I loved about this story was the emphasis of friendship and how important it is. In most books I think that love and family are the main focus but I what I loved about this book is that it was mostly about friendship. And that friends can be family too. Family doesn’t have to be those by blood.

This book also had a strong emphasis on forgiveness, especially on ourself and our past sins. While this world had no religion (or at least it wasn’t mentioned) there were common themes of God’s forgiveness and redemption when it comes to sin.

The only gripe that I had with this book was that sometimes I found there was too much description. For example, what a particular character was doing or thinking. I think if that wasn’t included the story would have went along a little faster.

Overall, I thought that this book read very easily and read at a good pace. I really enjoyed reading about the land of Eilinland and all it’s different creatures. I also found it interesting that each character resembled certain characters or beings in Christianity (or at least I thought they did). For example, the Sniw’s I think are suppose to be demons, and the warriors are suppose to be angels. Angels fighting demons kind of thing… But that is at least how I perceived it.

Would I Recommend?

Yes! Most definitely. I think this book would be great for any age group and those that love fantasy will throughly enjoy this book.

You can purchase the book —-> HERE

I hope you all enjoyed the review - and are recovering from the Facebook/Instagram blackout yesterday!

the caffeinated bibliophile

Book Review: Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

between two shores jocelyn green book review


The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel's life convince her he's in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She's risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

  • Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

  • Published: 02/05/2019

  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

  • Pages: 400

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.61

between two shores jocelyn green book review
We’re two people trying to bring order from chaos, yet held steadfast by a God who loved us before we loved Him.
— Catherine

Why I Chose This Book

I was sent this book from the publisher to review. This was one of my highly anticipated reads of the year because the synopsis sounded so unique from other historical fiction novels that I have read. When I read that it took place in Canada it got me intrigued right away. Also, any book that has Native American history in it, is a automatic go for me.

First Initial Thoughts

This story goes back and forth in time, with Catherine being the main protagonist. Catherine, is a 25 year old woman who is just merely trying to survive during the seven years war. Everything changes when her Ex-Fiance Samuel comes back into the picture. The story goes back and forth in time retelling her experiences as a child, falling in love with Samuel, and then loosing him when he goes off to war. Catherine’s mother was a member of the Mohawk and her father is a Frenchman. Growing up she experiences extreme racism, a father who is quite drunk all the time; and shame by the Mohawk tribe for choosing her father over them when her mother died. Through all this she still holds it together and is a confident and loyal person. Someone we all could look up to for sure!

Samuel is a young man I would say - torn between duty and love. He loves his country and wants to win the war against the British. However, when he comes back after 5 years, he must face his demons and also try to win back Catherine. I liked Samuel from the start. He was a loyal and protective friend to Catherine. A friendship that turned to love later on in their life. As stated previously I think he was torn between his country and love. I admire him for going off to protect his country but I think he could have handled it better.


Jocelyn did her research. You can really tell she did her research by the events, people, and culture mentioned in this book. I really liked that this was set in Quebec, Canada because I haven’t really read too many historical novels set in Canada. Also, I didn’t really know too much about the seven years war in Canada which took before the American Revolution. I also love that she stayed true to the history, culture, and life of the Mohawk.

If I’ve learned anything from you, it’s that life is about far more than equal exchange.
— Catherine

Final Thoughts

What I loved most about this book is that Jocelyn really stayed true to the Mohawk culture, life, and history of their tribe. My emphasis in my Archaeology degree was Native American studies, so I can be a stickler for accuracy. And I also think any race should be accurately represented in any novel.

One thing that should be mentioned is that this book reads slow. It takes a while for the story to take off, and even then Jocelyn takes her time in writing the story. Therefore, I could see this not being a huge hit for some who like a more fast paced book. I do think this was intentional however, as we needed that for the character development and storyline.

Speaking of character development, Jocelyn should receive a A+ in this category. She really has a talent in capturing the raw emotion and development that Catherine, Samuel and others went through in this novel.

This book also emphasizes what people of mixed race (specifically half Native American, half english, french, etc.) experienced by people in that day and age. It also reminds us how to forgive. Forgive others for the choices they have made, whether or not they are good. What I found interesting as well is that God or Christianity wasn’t mentioned too much in this book. I think that what happens in the book is an underlining message for God’s forgiveness and love for us. No matter what we have done.

There are two particular scenes that I think that really sums up this book well but I won’t spoil anything. ;) I will just say if you have a sister, you will love this part and totally relate!

Would I Recommend?

Yes. However, be aware that it does reads slow. So if you like fast paced books, I would pass on this one.

You can purchase the book —> HERE

Have you been to Quebec, Canada? If so, what did you think of the area?

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was sent a copy of this book to review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard

never let go elizabeth goddard book review


As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth.

Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow's tender heart at risk.

In this fast-paced and emotional page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps the stakes high, the romantic tension sparking, and the outcome uncertain until the very end.

  • Genre: Christian Suspense

  • Publisher: Revell

  • Published: 02/05/2019

  • Pages: 368

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.38

Never Let Go  Elizabeth Goddard Book Review
A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots.
— Unknown

Why I Chose This Book

The first two words that caught my eye was, Forensic Genealogist. Is that even a real job? And what do they exactly do? So that attracted me right away. Plus half of the book is set in my home state!

First Initial Thoughts

Willow is a Forensic Genealogist. What she does specifically is help clients find out about their relatives from the past; what they did, who they were, and how they died or if they are still alive. I found it quite interesting. The book starts with her grandfather, JT dead from an accident. She is trying to pick up the pieces when one night she is at home when someone sets her house on fire. She looses everything. Is it intentional and is someone out to kill her? Is it related to the case that he was trying to solve?

Willow finds out that JT was working on a case with Katelyn Mason who’s baby was abducted from the hospital 21 years ago. She desperately wanted to find her daughter because she was dying. I liked Willow. Despite all that happened she was persistent in continuing the search and determined to help. She was able to put aside her trauma and continue working.

Austin McKade is a ex-FBI agent and use to have a relationship with Willow. Now he is a private investigator. Before JT died Austin was hired to help him find the missing child. When he finds out Willow almost died in a Fire he comes to her and offers to help. She agrees and they soon have to figure out how to work together after all that happened before.


I grew up in Wyoming so I have been to the Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole a dozen of times. I miss the beautiful scenery and snow capped mountains! The author did come up with fake county names for the city of Jackson Hole- I chuckled when I read the names she came up with. Hoback is a real place. Locals refer it to as Hoback Junction because people have to pass it before entering Jackson Hole and the Tetons - and often in the winter it can be closed down.

Memories, good and bad, can be used to help us heal if we don’t let ourselves be mired down in them.
— Sarah Jo Smith

Final Thoughts

What I liked about this story is that the actual mystery seemed plausible. Sometimes I don’t like suspense books because the actual mystery just seems too out there. The mystery itself kept me guessing till the very end. However, there were clues sprinkled throughout the book and it was obvious once I knew who done it.

Elizabeth did a good job in portraying how remote Wyoming is. Jackson Hole is a fun town but once you’re out of the area it’s basically wide open spaces - miles away from other towns. I liked that she stayed true to the portrayal of this area despite the fake names she created for certain places.

I liked Willow and Austin working together. They worked well together and I loved reading their romance blossom again over the pages. I think Willow helped Austin learn to forgive himself for his past mistakes and Austin helped Willow move on from what happened and was there for her when she needed someone.

Overall I really enjoyed this romantic suspense story. It was faced paced, unique, and different from other suspense books that I have read.

Would I Recommend?

Yes. I definitely think anyone would enjoy this fun and fast paced suspense.

You can purchase the book —-> HERE

Why did I choose Blackberry flavor for the drinks? if you go to any tourist shop in Jackson Hole you will find Blackberry flavored anything. Blackberries grow wild in Wyoming and are often picked there. You will also find a lot of Huckleberry themed gifts and food.

Have you been to Jackson Hole, Wyoming? If so, what were your thoughts?

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was sent a copy of this book to review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.