I’ve seen How a Woman Becomes a Lake by Marjorie Celona listed as a thriller in a few different places, and went into this book expecting a wild ride. However, what I read wasn’t what I was prepared for at all. Instead of a story full of twists and turns, I found a beautifully written mystery about how the lives of a handful of characters unfortunately crossed.
For me, How a Woman Becomes a Lake fits more into the literary fiction genre than thriller. I think readers who expect something similar to popular titles will be let down. However, if you’re in the mood for a slow-burn mystery that focus more on characters than plot, you’ll be in for a treat.
The story takes place in a small town on the west coast, and starts on New Year’s Day. Two young boys are out with their father when another local woman goes missing. The characters seem to have nothing in common, until a police report shows that the missing woman called the boys’ mother right before she was reported missing. Immediately, everyone denies a connection, but throughout the book we see all of the pieces slowly come together.
As I mentioned, it’s not a fast paced book. Instead, it dives into the character’s lives and shows us their triggers, as well as what motivates them. Not everyone is who they appear to be at surface level, and there is something sinister hiding among them. The families are anything but perfect, but they move along, pretending that everything will be fine.
The author does a wonderful job of showing that seemingly good characters shouldn’t always be trusted, and even those painted as a villain can have some hope left in them.
For me personally, this wasn’t the type of book that I typically love, but the writing style and overall atmosphere kept me hooked. The story was, simply put, beautifully told. It has a cold setting, perfect for reading on winter nights. Curling up on my couch with a blanket and candle really made the reading experience for me.
I’d recommend How a Woman Becomes a Lake to readers who like slow-burn thrillers, similar to Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder.
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, for sending me a digital copy of this book via NetGalley. How a Woman Becomes a Lake by Marjorie Celon is out now and can be purchased wherever books are sold.