Title: Enchantment Lake
Author: Margi Preus
Release Date: March 15, 2015
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
A disturbing call from her great aunts Astrid and Jeannette sends seventeen-year-old Francie far from her new home in New York into a tangle of mysteries. Ditching an audition in a Manhattan theater, Francie travels to a remote lake in the northwoods where her aunts' neighbors are "dropping like flies" from strange accidents. But are they accidents? On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hot dish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure that is said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? At the center of everything is a suddenly booming business in cabin sales and a road not everyone wants built. To a somewhat reluctant northwoods Nancy Drew, the intrigue proves irresistible, especially when it draws her closer to the mysteries at the heart of her own life: What happened to her father? Who and where is her mother? Who is she, and where does her heart lie—in the bustle of New York City or the deep woods of Minnesota?
Enchantment Lake is mysterious and fast-paced, where danger lurks and no one is sure about what's going on or who might die next.
Francie isn't a detective, but she did once play one on TV. She's keen on being an actor. It's what she wants to do. But that doesn't stop her from asking questions and getting to the bottom of things around Enchantment Lake. She's rather practical, everything needs to have an answer or a solution, and I think that's why she sticks around and 'pretends' at being a detective.
The mystery is intriguing, anchored by a mysterious lake, a clever heroine, and a town full of eccentric residents. The small town and the people make the mystery. Their oddities, their personalities, their laissez-faire attitude about certain things like murder.
The book moves along rather quickly. I think this comes from it being more plot driven than character driven. There were times when I expected a bit of Francie's internal monologue to pop up, to see the directions she was thinking in, but instead the story continued. It feels like it's so much more about the mystery than Francie. But the secrets in her past, I wanted to know more about those. If her father's death really was an accident. Where her mother is. What caused the rift between her and her brother, someone mentioned for only a few pages. It seems to read like a young YA, so it could work for readers transitioning from middle grade. There are deaths, but nothing so serious or graphic that it would frighten younger readers.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from the University of Minnesota Press through NetGalley.)