The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

The Lake of Dead LanguagesThe Lake of Dead Languages
Carol Goodman
Ballantine Books, 2002
ISBN-13: 9780792728368
390 p.p.

Carol Goodman’s bestselling debut novel, The Lake of Dead Languages, is a page turner that will keep the mystery enthusiast on edge trying to guess what will happen next.

Filled with Latin phrases, Goodman’s love for Latin seeps through the pages of this novel. Goodman does an amazing job of building the setting and developing characters. Her characters are very realistic and truly portray the friendships developed in the boarding school. She also does a great job of going back and forth from the past to the present, building the story with good metaphors and interesting twists.

The story takes place in the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks.

Legend has it that all three of the school’s founders drowned in the lake. Since then, it has been believed that three rocks rose up out of the lake, one to represent each of the founders, and lure students to their deaths.

“Their bodies were never found, but the next morning three rocks appeared mysteriously in the lake and those rocks have from that day been known as the three sisters.’ They say that when the lake freezes over the faces of the girls can be seen peering out from under the ice. The ice makes a noise like moaning, and that sound, like the lapping of the water, draws girls out onto the lake’s frozen surface, where the sisters wait to drag the unsuspecting skater through the cracks in the ice. And they say that whenever one girl drowns in the lake, two more inevitably follow.”

The protagonist Jane Hudson, a Latin teacher recently separated from her husband returns to Heart Lake with her young daughter Olivia after twenty years. Jane has trouble living in the present due to her past.

The Latin phrase ‘cor te reducit’ which means ‘the heart leads you back’ echoes through this novel and traps Jane to Heart Lake.

Jane was a student at Heart Lake. She attended the school on a scholarship. Jane was incredibly close to her roommates Lucy and Deirdre causing them to do everything together. The girls were obsessed with studying the classics and wandering the banks of Heart Lake. The week before their graduation, three lives were taken, all victims of suicide. An apparent suicide pact gone wrong.

Jane fled the school after the terrible tragedy and did not look back until now.

She was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden in the depths of Heart Lake for more than two decades. Messages from the past surface as Jane’s journal from her adolescence turns up, keeping her from obtaining a fresh start. She has lived in remorse since her time at Heart Lake. The events causing young troubled girls to die again makes her relive the experiences she has tried hard to forget.

The legend of the lake continues as the truth haunting Jane floats to the surface and the question remains on whether or not the truth sets one free.


Carol GoodmanCarol Goodman is best known for her novels, The Lake of Dead Languages, The Seduction of Water, The Drowning Tree, and The Ghost Orchid. Growing up on Long Island, Goodman started writing at the age of nine and wrote a ninety-page, crayon-illustrated epic entitled “The Adventures of the Magical Herd.” She knew from that moment that she wanted to be a writer. Goodman lives in the Hudson Valley, with her husband, poet Lee Slonimsky, her stepdaughter, Nora, her daughter, Maggie, a poodle, Zoë, and a lilac point Siamese cat named Sassy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s