When Alina first appears in Three Oaks Bay it’s clear that her frail, luminous beauty is going to cause some ripples on the quiet surface of the peaceful resort town.
For Pete McCarthy, the local boat-repairer who first takes her in, it is more than striking looks and a strange affinity with his beloved lake that draws him to her; more, even, than the enigma of the Russian past she has barely escaped and cannot talk about. There is an anguished power behind those doll-like eyes that his previous experiences with women have not prepared him for, and which seems curiously out of place amongst the everyday dramas of small-town life.
That familiar world is shattered when two teenage lovers are found drowned in the lake, and soon the close-knit community is being wrenched apart by a bizarre outbreak of lakeside deaths – more than accident or coincidence can explain. Struggling against his own disbelief, Pete begins to suspect that the answer lies in Alina’s past, among the shadows of a Russian prison hospital and the echoes of an old folktale. But to confront that past is to embrace a nightmare.
A dark love story, a disturbing tale of a divided soul, The Boat House is a novel of astonishing and terrifying power.