Published by Thomas Dunne Books ISBN 9781250126962
Hardcover, $26.99, 245 pages
Daniela Tully's debut novel, Hotel on Shadow Lake, takes place in more than a few timelines. It begins with in 1990 with an older German woman, Martha Weisberg, receiving a letter from the postman- a letter from 1944. Now that the wall has come down in Berlin, many people have letters delivered to them that just disappeared after the war, and Martha is one of them. (Tully's family actually received one of these letters, the inspiration for her novel.)
The letter is from her twin brother Wolfgang, who died at the end of the war. Martha doesn't want to open the letter, afraid of what may be inside it.
We then turn to 1938 Germany, where Martha lives with her mother and brother, having lost a sister and her father. Wolfgang is becoming more involved in the Nazi party, something that Martha knows her father would be saddened by if he were still alive.
Wolfgang has become friends with Siegfried, another man who believes deeply in the Nazi party and Hitler's rise. They go to the many Nazi rallies and are swept up in the horrible acts that are the beginnings of the atrocities that the Nazis inflict on anyone not throught to be of pure Aryan blood.
In 2017, Martha's granddaughter Maya receives word from her father that the remains of her missing grandmother Martha have been found- in the United States, about an hour away from where Maya studied abroad in 1990.
Martha disappeared in 1990, and no one knew that she had even gone to the United States. Her remains were found in a landslide near a popular resort in the Catskill Mountains in New York State. The Montgomery Preserve Resort has been owned by the Montgomery family for generations, and it has been visited by presidents and wealthy people for many years.
Maya goes to New York and begins snooping around to find out what brought her grandmother to this place, and she gets caught up in secret history of the Montgomery family. She is determined to discover what exactly happened to her grandmother- was it an accident or was she murdered?
One of the reasons I really enjoyed Hotel on Shadow Lake is that the Montgomery Resort is physically closely based on Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskills, a place that my husband worked at when he was in college. The author has vividly recreated the place for the setting of her story, and if you have ever been there, you will recognize it immediately. It is an important character in the story.
There is a lot going on in the story, with multiple timelines and characters, and Tully skillfully weaves them together to create an enthralling story, one that kept me turning the pages. Many times a book will be either character-driven or plot-driven, but Tully has managed to combine the two in writing a story that will keep you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend Hotel on Shadow Lake.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Daniela Tully's tour. The rest of her stops are here: