The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood – extract

The House on the Lake, the latest book by Nuala Ellwood, is published by Viking on 20 February 2020.

Today I have an extract of the book.


That’s all I can think about as I sit here huddled in the
corner. I close my eyes but I can still see it, a dark crimson
stain on the new-fallen snow.
His blood.
I get to my feet and look out of the tiny window. The
snow is falling still. White flakes drift through the air,
obscuring my view of the crag and the woods beyond.
All is as it was and yet everything has changed. The landscape I once loved and treasured is now a warped one,
with no beginning and no end.
It is rotten. All of it.
I have nothing left, I think to myself, as I close the window. Nothing except the terrible images that swirl round
my head.
It’s been four days now with no word. Any hope I had
left in my heart is gone. I am alone, utterly alone.
I step back inside the room. My blankets are lying on
the floor where I left them earlier. I have tried to sleep but
it’s no use. Every time I close my eyes I see his face and
I’m reminded of what I’ve lost.
That was all I ever wanted. All I ever needed. I just
didn’t realize until it was too late.
I lift the blanket and give it a shake. Dust particles rise
up into the air and I cough as they hit the back of my
throat. Then I hear it. Knocking. It gets louder and louder
and it takes me a few moments to work out that it’s coming
from downstairs. It’s the front door. Someone is knocking
on the front door. My heart lifts.
He’s come back. I knew he would.
I run to the door, open it wide, and as I hurtle down
the stairs I make a silent promise that from now on things
will be better, I will be a better person. I won’t complain
or argue. I will be thankful for the family I have been
given, for the person I love most in this world.
But it is a woman’s voice that greets me as I reach the
front door.
‘Police. Open up.’
It’s a sharp, menacing sound that seems to slice
through the heavy wooden door as I stand trembling
behind it.
‘Stand back.’
There’s a pause followed by an almighty thud as the
door is broken down and two uniformed officers – one
male, one female – rush towards me and grab me by my
It happens so quickly I barely have time to catch my
breath, though as they lead me outside I manage to catch
a few of their words.
And then, in those final moments before they take me
away, it all makes sense. The silence. The blood. The
I realize what has happened.
It was me.
I killed him.

About the book

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secrets have Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?


2 Comments Add yours

  1. James McEwan says:

    Great start – will watch out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Hope you like it if you read it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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