Flatlay photograph showing the regular hardcover edition of Lakesedge on top of a Storiarts tea towel.

Lakesedge: An Atmospheric Gothic Romance

*I received a free finished copy (regular edition) of this book from the publisher. These are my personal, honest opinions. Thank you.*

4/5 Stars

Author: Lyndall Clipstone

Publisher/Imprint: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Edition: Hardcover, 376 Pages

Publication Date: September 28, 2021

A Spine that Shines? Pretty Well!


Book Synopsis

A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

Book Review

‘You’ve heard enough about Lakesedge to know I can’t promise you safety.’

-Lyndall Clipstone, Lakesedge

Initial Thoughts

Hello, Everyone! I hope your Wednesday is going well. Have you been reading lots of spooky reads this month? Or anything else good? I’m excited to share my thoughts about Lakesedge with you! Overall, I quite enjoyed this book.

Here are some of my initial thoughts:

  • This book was a little bit Phantom of the Opera meets Beauty and the Beast, and I really loved these aspects of the story. But this story was still very much its own.
  • I really loved the gothic fantasy atmosphere and the lake/foreboding estate setting!
  • The writing pairs nicely with the atmosphere as well. (Although some phrases used did became a tad repetitive.)
  • This book is definitely for you if you like gothic romance where the love interest is a cursed “monster” (young man) desperate to break his curse!
  • In this book, you’ll also find kisses in moonlit orchards!
  • The main character’s brother Arien has dark shadows that come out of his hands!
  • There is also a mysterious Lord Under of the underworld who is somehow connected to Leta and likes to make bargains.

I’ll not cower here, small and afraid. I am light and heat and fire.

-Lyndall Clipstone, Lakesedge

Characters & Romance

Flatlay showing the special signed OwlCrate edition of Lakesedge next to a mug and coasters.
Flatlay showing the special signed OwlCrate edition of Lakesedge next to a mug and coasters.

Here is a brief overview of the main characters:

  • Violeta (Leta) is our main girl. She will do anything to protect her little brother Arien – even if it means going with him when the “Monster of Lakesedge” wants to take Arien to his foreboding estate by the lake. She learns something surprising about herself as well while they are at Lakesedge.
  • Unfortunately, I did not fully connect with Leta. As much as I admired her determination to protect her loved ones, it got a tad tiresome hearing her go on and on about making sacrifices and bargains so that she can save everybody by herself – and then everyone arguing repeatedly with her about it.
  • Arien is Leta’s younger brother. He is in danger because shadows start coming out of his hands, and he can’t control them. Rowan claims he can help Arien learn to control his abilities.
  • Rowan is the supposed “monster.” But I wish Rowan would have acted “beastly” for a while longer before warming up to Leta. Throughout most of the book, he actually seems like a pretty nice guy. Rowan is desperate to end his painful curse. He and Leta have pretty good chemistry, and their relationship is what I’d call a “sweet” romance.
  • The Lord Under is of course the mysterious lord of the underworld. He once saved Leta in the past – which makes for a very interesting dynamic between them. I wish we had gotten more about the Lord Under because I think I wanted a more human villain than the “corruption” alone. I mean, the Lord Under is a sinister character, but I didn’t quite feel an immediate threat from him all the time. I hope that makes sense haha. But I’m pretty sure that the Lord Under will get more page time in the sequel.

I walked into the shadows. I came into the dark. I chose this, and I am not afraid.

-Lyndall Clipstone, Lakesedge

Final Thoughts

Flatlay showing the regular edition of Lakesedge on top of a lacy scarf.

Even though I enjoyed this book a lot, it did take me a while to finish it (about a month). This was partly due to busy life, but also partly due to some spots in the middle chunk of the story that were a tad slow and became a little repetitive. (See, for example, Leta’s sacrificial mindset.)

At times, I was slightly confused what was going on with the magic spells/rituals and the “mending,” but by the end I think I had a better grasp on it.

But the ending also leaves me very intrigued to see what happens in the sequel, and I especially want to learn more about the world “Below” and the Lord Under. Overall, this was an enjoyable debut! I look forward to reading the next installment! Happy reading, everyone 🙂

*Content Warnings: Fantasy violence; self-harm (lots of cutting); past suicide attempt mentioned briefly; one consensual sex scene; physical child abuse involving blood (made me wince).*

Copyright © 2021 by Spines that Shine (Caitlin Shaffer)

A Note on Storiarts Literary Products

I purchased the tea towel in my first photo above from Storiarts. In case you didn’t know, I’m currently a rep for Storiarts. They make beautiful classic literary products such as scarves, gloves, tote bags, bookmarks, tea towels, and more! If you’re interested, you can receive a 10% discount on most of their items by shopping through my affiliate link. (I also earn a small commission if you shop through my link.)

Up Next on My TBR: Year of the Reaper or Gilded

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