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The Lake of Dead Languages

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,354 Ratings  ·  784 Reviews
–The Boston Globe

Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson fled the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. The week before her graduation, in that sheltered wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden in the depths of Heart Lak
Paperback, Ballantine Reader's Circle, 402 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 13, 2014 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmm. One of those books you want to be done with but have to finish to see how it ends. Kind of a thriller, kind of a mystery. The narrator is a former student of all-girls' school Heart Lake who comes back to teach Latin as an adult. In her time there as a student, both of her roommates committed suicide, and now someone seems to be recreating this past aggressively and accusatorily (I may have made this word up; if not, I spelled it wrong). This novel was like an overstuffed sandwich with too ...more
Oh, wow...where to begin. There were elements of this book that I wanted to give 5 stars. The story, the plot, the intertwining of characters and their histories. A nice reveal at the end (although it was very predictable). The problem was the pacing. I felt like I was reading the book f...o...r...e...v...e...r. At one point I actually stared at the page number, 287, and could not believe there were STILL 100 more pages to go. Too much detail and description when it was way beyond the need for s ...more
A '9 out of 10' book - it won't be added to my list of ultimate favourites, but it was the best thing I've read for a long time. I love stories of this ilk, and The Lake of Dead Languages has everything; flashbacks to the narrator's intriguing past, buried (or rather drowned) secrets refusing to stay that way, a boarding school housed in an old mansion, parallels with classical mythology, pagan rites and ice storms. I found Jane likeable from the start, and it was easy to sympathise with her as ...more
May 10, 2011 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know why I picked up this book, but it must have been based on a bookseller’s recommendations. I had no idea what to expect, but the book quickly drew me in. The protagonist, Jane Hudson, has taken refuge from her failed marriage by returning to her former boarding school in upstate New York. Pieces of the journal she kept during her senior year start appearing, reminding her of the tragedies 20 years ago – her roommate’s suicide, and then the other roommate and her brother drowning in t ...more
This is the first Carol Goodman book that I read, and despite myself I read two of her others even after being so irritated with this one. And I felt the exact same way about all of them. They all have great symbolism, exciting twists, interesting layers of metaphor and intertwined stories. And they are all utterly ruined by Goodman not giving her reader any credit whatsoever. When you almost have that satisfied 'Ah, I have figured something out' or 'ah, that symbol has reappeared here' She slam ...more
This is the first book I have read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. This book, overall, is well written with a descriptive, atmospheric prose and a touch of gothic undertones to make it just dark enough for me to love. Composed of secrets, lies, suicide, murder and revenge; Goodman brilliantly weaves layers into the plot that kept me engaged until the end. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
Darren L.
Jul 09, 2011 Darren L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm only about 20% into this novel, but I'm already impressed by the seemingly effortless but genuinely elegant prose. This lady can write. Several of the characters (in both the past and in the present) reach their hands up from the page and become spooky real. I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't fall apart as I go farther.

***Okay, finished it. Interestingly enough, there were so many people who compared this to The Secret History that I read it too. Oddly enough, I liked Carol Goodman's Th
Dec 14, 2014 Dardenitaaa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
An all girls’ school. A Latin Class. A troubled magistra with a shady alumna past. Students writing Latin phrases on their arms and razor-slicing their wrists open. Stolen Diaries. Secret Pregnancies. Taboo Love. Suicide on ice, water and dorm rooms. Academic Pressures. Friendships gone wrong. Ghost lakes and tragic folklore. History Repeating itself.

Relax, I’m not spoiling the entire book yet. If you’re a fan of mysteries with gothic touches, and thought the themes I just listed above sounded e
Jul 18, 2010 Renee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Goodman's writing, but I had to remove stars because I figured out all of the plot twists before they happened, which made for a bit of an anticlimactic ending. I spent the second half of the book wanting to shake Jane and say "REALLY?! This is painfully obvious!!!" I really can't say if this predictability is due to Goodman's inadequacies or my teenage tendency to read V.C. Andrews books. Things that Goodman seems to consider shocking were really pretty tame compared to what An ...more
Aug 28, 2011 Blake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first of this author's that I had read- and I loved it. It had all the elements of what makes a good eerie mystery novel- for women. I can't really see myself recommending this to a man. That's not being sexist but it's easy to explain. Lead female character flees with 4 year old child to former boarding school set in brooding frozen upper New York isolated country to teach LATIN (of all things) in hot house atmosphere of teenage girls performing fake Goddess rituals that involve cu ...more
Lada Moskalets
Jan 20, 2016 Lada Moskalets rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Не могла відірватися, проковтнула за три дні.
тут є все, що миле серцю любителям похмурих головоломок і готичної атмосфери - школа-пансіон на березі озера, розлогі цитати з латини, похмурі сімейні таємниці, незайманки-самогубці і ненезайманки-самогубці, містичні легенди і роздуми про нещасну долю гуманітарія. можливо аж забагато, бо під кінець я відчувала себе, наче переїла десертів.
Сюжетна лінія хитро закручена, але десь із середини книжки я вже вгадувала ходи, і під кінець вгадала головну стр
одного прекрасного дня джейн, головна героїня "озера мертвих мов", розуміє, що їй нікуди йти ("кому, думаєш, ти потрібна з твоєю магістеркою з латини?"), і повертається у свою стару школу – тепер уже як викладачка. це, звісно, не те місце, куди дуже хотілось би повернутися, бо там занадто багато страшних спогадів, але коли поведінка твого чоловіка все більше нагадує хрестоматійні приклади психологічного насильства, особливо вибирати не доводиться.
проте вже наприкінці першого розділу джейн почина
Oct 02, 2011 Eileen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, mystery, read-2011
This is one of those books I wanted to be done with, but I also wanted to find out the truth behind the events. It's an eerie and cold mystery novel that deals with memories, death, loss and guilt. Not a book I would have chosen for myself to read, but I always like a challenge.I want to thank my Goodreads friend Jen for trying to broaden my horizons by giving me this book and sharing a book with me that she obviously enjoyed reading.

During our senior year Lucy Toller was sent to the infirmary
Sep 27, 2008 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A modern Gothic mystery - reminds me of The Secret History.
(well, technically, I read this one first, so I should say The Secret History reminded me of this book. But same difference.) Bottom line: both are incredibly creepy and really good reads.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanna Tempesta
Mar 19, 2013 Suzanna Tempesta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A book that starts off really good, and ends up...just bad.
Voice and Overall
I really liked the hook of the Latin classes, and I thought the beginning was good also. But after the introduction of all the characters, there was a big, and I mean big, downturn in the quality of the book.
At some point I felt like I was reading a chick-flick; with all that nonsense about hiding her diary and being worried about what Myra Todd (I think that's what her name was) would say. Another big thing I didn't li
Oct 31, 2015 Annabelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. What really works for me is an author who doesn’t have hubris about how good he or she is, and uses old formulas. Author Carol Goodman has respect for the reader and takes care in the detail of her settings, carefulness with her plot and substantive character development. The plot is a mirror of a triad of girls at an isolated girls’ in the woods of Northern New York State, one 20 years ago, and one contemporary. Jane is the central character, and she was part of the triad twe ...more
I have always loved books with a "gothic" feel to it. Carol Goodman is an amazing writer.There were many parts where I kept getting these creepy foreboding feelings. While I read this book , I did nothing else. I hardly slept even. From the start to finish, this was a very engrossing book.The novel is atmospheric with beautiful writing and suspenseful plot.
Jennifer Boyce
Mar 08, 2015 Jennifer Boyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmmm. I enjoyed this book, although I can't say it's one of my favorites. I picked this book up at a used book store for $0.99 and I have to say that it was definitely worth the money. While it took me awhile to get into the story, once I was about 3/4 of the way through I couldn't put it down.

The characters are interesting, as is the plot, and there is a rather intense plot twist at the end of the book. I would recommend this book for those that are interested in gothic novels or somewhat cree
Jun 05, 2013 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a suspenseful, easy to read, novel that will keep you turning pages. Carol Goodman is an excellent writer that uses visual imagery paticularly well. The reader is easily able to conjure up the Adirondack setting of Heart Lake Academy for Girls with bone chilling detail especially the descriptions of the lake freezing and the sounds the ice makes. Kudo's to Goodman who explains in the back of my edition her studies and inquiries into the process a lake goes through in the freezing process ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Doreen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, this book deserves 3.5 stars, and if I weren't such a hardcore mystery aficionado, it would have earned 4. Carol Goodman writes with elegance, working in her plot twists with exquisite timing, lacing her narrative with just enough misdirection to make you second-guess your assumptions. Her plotting is Gothic and literate, and were I newer to mysteries or crime, I am sure I would have loved this book as opposed to merely liking it. Alas, and as is always detrimental to my appreciation of ...more
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
I really enjoyed this gothic page-turner. Goodman is a fantastic, atmospheric writer, even if she does over-rely on a few techniques: characters are constantly paling or blushing; shadows are constantly splitting off from rocks.

In the last few chapters, my attention attenuated a bit, since I'd solved all the mystery elements (thanks to her skilled deployment of dramatic irony) much, much sooner than the narrator, who's, shall we say, not the sharpest tool in the shed.

The ending was a little pat
Jun 02, 2012 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I would highly recommend The Lake of Dead Languages. It's tense, atmospheric, and an overall good read if you enjoy Gothic suspense; the author's descriptions of places and people leave just enough to the imagination to make reading the book absolutely enjoyable.

However, there are a few downsides to the book. I would have to say that if you are at all struggling with depression, self injury, or suicidal tendencies (or anything related to those three), then this is a book that you should
Apr 29, 2013 Alisea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il lago delle lingue morte

Nel nord-est degli Stati Uniti, fra i monti dell’Adirondack, vicino alla cittadina di Corinth, c’è un lago: Heart Lake. D'inverno la sua superficie si cristallizza completamente, tra gemiti e stridori delle molecole dell’acqua che diventano ghiaccio. Su una delle sue sponde sorge una villa. Un tempo era abitata dalla famiglia dei “signori” del luogo, i Cravecoeur, ma poi la loro figlia minore era morta in seguito ad una brutta influenza causata da una caduta in acqua, e
Apr 12, 2010 Cate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this over my spring break senior year of Kenyon, so perhaps I have fond memories of that time, all alone on campus except for a few other people who couldn't pull their comps together. When I'd made especially good progress researching and writing, I'd go to the bookstore (alas--best bookstore in the world done to death by new corportate college president who removed the kiddie tower, the used books, and the fairy tale character banners!) and read The Lake of Dead Languages.
Basically, I
Jul 21, 2014 Sabra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The main character was completely thick. I don't understand why everyone was so enamored of Lucy, she was basically a pretty girl, but a bit of a sociopath. And the dim, but well-intentioned main character just lumbers along, doing stupid things, believing stupid things, and basically being completely clueless about anything.

The author hits us over the head with a completely obvious "bad guy" but the main and supporting characters are all too thick to see it. And if all that wasn't bad enough, t
Jake Rideout
Jul 13, 2009 Jake Rideout rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Night Villa, Carol Goodman's most recent thriller, is one of my favorite books to recommend. I was expecting this one to be similar--and it was, in that I couldn't put it down. Otherwise, though Goodman's style is completely different (and just as good): this is a novel about a woman, Jane, who leaves her husband and takes a position at her old boarding school to teach Latin. A few weeks into the semester, she opens her homework folder and finds a page torn from the journal she kept during h ...more
Jan 10, 2014 Jaksen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Extremely convoluted. A lot of the 'scenes' or situations almost totally unbelievable. I can't imagine the plotting this author did to get everything figured out. She must have had notes upon notes and graphs and diagrams with arrows going all which-way. First, to have two separate stories to contend with, which sort of mirror one another was hard to follow, let alone figure out. The shifting from past to present tense was also confusing as it happened here and there, made no sense. Then we get ...more
Apr 10, 2010 Zoe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
This book made me think of what they say about only being able to read a limited number of books in your lifetime: I was fully aware that I was squandering time I could have spent reading a better written book, and yet I couldn't put it down. The need to find out the truth behind the events of Jane Hudson's past was so compelling that I had to race to the end of the book -- despite all the glaring holes in the plot, the thoroughly predictable identity of the villain (which I figured out about a ...more
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Carol Goodman is the author of The Lake of Dead Languages, The Fairwick Chronicles, Watchtower Trilogy (with husband Lee Slonimsky), and the forthcoming young adult Blythewood series. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, Literal Latt, The Midwest Quarterly, and Other Voices. After graduation from Vassar College, where she majored in Latin, she taught Latin for several y ...more
More about Carol Goodman...

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“There’s always that first step in skating, from dry ground to slick ice, when it just seems impossible. Impossible that two thin blades of metal will support you, impossible that because its molecules have begun to dance a little slower water will hold you up.” 12 likes
“yes, he had been preoccupied, but hadn't that been what I was looking for--someone who wouldn't pay too much attention, someone who wouldn't look at me to closely?” 0 likes
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