The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin @HoZ_Books


Author : Emma Dibdin
Title : The Room by the Lake
Pages : 368
Publisher : Head of Zeus
Publication date : August 10, 2017


When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.

Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.

It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever.


There will probably never be a time when cults stop being utterly fascinating. How do they work? What drives people to join them? How are they manipulated into staying? What happens if they decide they’d like to leave? These are all questions that make an excellent premise for a thriller.

Caitlin is lost. She’s left her homeland, England, without a clear plan and has ended up in New York. She is lonely, has no job, no goals and barely any money. Then she meets Jake and there’s an instant attraction so when he says he’d like to introduce her to his family, Caitlin agrees. But Jake’s family isn’t your typical set-up and before she realises it, Caitlin finds herself in a truly dangerous situation.

Caitlin’s mother was a schizophrenic and Caitlin constantly worries she may suffer the same fate. Practically stranded in this big and busy city with nobody to turn to, she seems to make the perfect “victim” for cult members to zero in on. Caitlin seems quite vulnerable and maybe slightly naive at times, but she’s actually a lot stronger than she realises. The story truly shows how easily someone can be “broken” when you deprive them of the bare necessities like decent food and sleep. How things that at one point sound rather innocent, can suddenly come across as incredibly threatening. In that respect, this tale is quite scary and thought-provoking.

I found this book to be quite slow for the most part until the final chapters, where the pace picked up considerably. I think I would have preferred something a tad more thrilling and gripping. I needed some more tension to truly keep me hooked. But the author does succeed in adding a threatening vibe throughout and even managed to make me wonder if Caitlin was a reliable narrator or not. Overall, I enjoyed this one and it’s a great debut by Emma Dibdin, whose writing was almost as mesmerising as the cult members themselves.

Many thanks to Head of Zeus for my copy, which I received via Netgalley and chose to review honestly!

The Room by the Lake is available now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

  13 comments for “The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin @HoZ_Books

  1. August 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Great review! Books about cults are so fascinating aren’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. August 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Just finished this one, not what I was expecting at all, but loved her writing and the atmosphere!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 19, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      I agree about the atmosphere and the writing. I think I just expected something more scary, maybe. More of a thriller thriller 😄.


  3. August 19, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    I can’t say if I like the cover or not xD I love wondering if the narrator is reliable or nor, but the slow pace might get on my nerves! Still, the book sounds interesting! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. August 19, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Ooh I’m really intrigued by cults so going to have to check this one out! Great review lovely xxx


  5. Yvo
    August 19, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Great review! A shame about the slow pace, but the story itself sounds fascinating. 🙂


  6. Vicki_cosybooks
    August 19, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    You’re right – cults are really fascinating. Great review x


  7. August 20, 2017 at 1:09 am

    There really is something fascinating about cults, isn’t there? And cruel, the way they deliberately target people who are already vulnerable in some way. Sounds as if the author has done a good job with this one, even if it is a bit slow in places.


  8. August 20, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Cults are fascinating. Every time I see a documentary or a book about them, I want to read it. Excellent review my friend!! 🤗🌸🤗


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