Lead Review (The Lodge)

  • Book: The Lodge
  • Location:
  • Author: Sue Watson

Review Author: tripfiction





Why do it, Fiona? Why agree to join your ex mother-in-law, Angela, for her upcoming 75th birthday, in a rented lodge, in a remote bay in Cornwall? Joining them will be Scott, Fiona’s ex-husband, his mistress-now-wife Danni and their toddler Olivia; plus Fiona’s two teenage children from her marriage to Scott. It also soon becomes apparent that the hired chef comes with history and is known to various members of the assembled family. Angela just happened to find her at her local café and invited her along to cook for them.

Angela is playing the ‘this might be my last birthday when we can all be together‘ card and all the players succumb and drive down, with the weather closing in, the snow starting to bucket down – it is after all December. Angela herself appears to be distracted, a little vague, which causes concern in the gathering.

Fiona has been trying to move on in her life. Hovering in the shadows is Nick, someone Fiona met on-line and he has seemingly turned into a stalker, sending innumerable texts until she finally blocks him.

Out on the wild roads it appears that there has been hit-and-run accident and the police arrive at the door, as the indicators suggest that the car drove to this particular lodge, although Fiona is adamant she nearly got run off the road by some youths in a fast car. And then one of the group goes missing……

The author has clearly had fun assembling this varied cast of characters, bound by family connections, set in this locked-lodge in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of paranoid and passive aggressive interplays – both Fiona and Danni have arrived with a specially prepared birthday cake for Angela, because each knows that Angela really appreciates the individual gesture – this, of course, creates a perfect scenario for a spectacular fall-out. These are people without boundaries, plenty of secrets and hidden backstories, and ultimately I so wanted Fiona to find her assertive backbone and stop her hypothesising and posing her rhetorical questions. The binding thread for several members is the school at which Fiona’s husband is head teacher, and if things aren’t murky enough, there are postings on the school Facebook page that allude to all kinds of nefarious couplings and secrets…..

I did feel there was a bit of a hole in the plot, in that the police would SURELY, as a very first step, have examined the cars at the lodge to ascertain who – if anyone at the premises – had knocked someone down and then reversed over them. Instead the police fiddle around (given the weather conditions) making phonecalls, discussing, interrogating, building the pathos, and getting properly involved once again when one of the core party disappears.

The story is told from different points of view and moves along at a good pace, with a few good twists at the end which I didn’t see coming. The author excels at rendering the innate claustrophobia of the setting and pitching the different personalities against each other.

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