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Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
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Summary

Summary

Suspenseful and compelling, Daniela Tully's Hotel on Shadow Lake is at once an intricate mystery, an epic romance, and a Gothic family saga.

When Maya was a girl in Germany, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then, shortly after Maya's sixteenth birthday, her grandmother disappeared without a trace, leaving Maya with only questions to fill the void.

Twenty-seven years later, her grandmother's body is found in a place she had no connection to: the Montgomery Resort in upstate New York. How did she get there? Why had she come? Desperate for answers, Maya leaves her life in Germany behind and travels to America, where she is drawn to the powerful family that owns the hotel and seemingly the rest of the town.

Soon Maya is unraveling secrets that go back decades, from 1910s New York to 1930s Germany and beyond. But when she begins to find herself spinning her own lies in order to uncover the circumstances surrounding her grandmother's death, she must decide whether her life and a chance at true love are worth risking for the truth.


Author Notes

DANIELA TULLY has worked in film and television for decades, including with famed film director Uli Edel. She has been involved in projects such as the critically acclaimed Fair Game , box-office hits Contagion and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel , as well as the Oscar-winning The Help . She splits her time between Dubai and New York. Inspired by a real family letter received forty-six years late, Hotel on Shadow Lake is Daniela Tully's first novel.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

At the age of 16, Maya left Germany to travel to America. Before boarding the plane, her grandmother whispered into her ear, Do what I could not do. Maya believes that her grandmother wants her to travel, as she never did. Shortly after her departure for the U.S., her grandmother disappeared and is never seen again. Now, 27 years later, her grandmother's body has been found at a resort in upstate New York. Maya leaves everything to travel to the resort and discover what her grandmother was doing there, and the mystery behind her death. The narrative travels back and forth in time, from Nazi Germany to the present day, though debut-author Tully doesn't always handle the transition very smoothly. The segments taking place in the past, during the rise of the Third Reich, may be troubling, but they are the most descriptive and interesting part of the story, while the second part of the narrative, which pertains to murder and the uncovering of secrets, seems to drag at times.--Milone Hill, Nanci Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Tully's first novel, an intricate read-it-in-one-sitting mystery-cum-family saga, spans a hundred years, two continents, and two world wars. In Munich on German Unity Day in 1990, septuagenarian Martha Wiesberg receives a letter that was trapped behind the Berlin Wall for more than four decades. The words of her long-dead twin brother triggers events that lead to her sudden disappearance. In 2017, Maya Wiesberg, a reclusive Munich independent bookstore owner, learns that the body of her beloved grandmother, Martha, has been unearthed in an upstate New York forest preserve. Maya drops everything to investigate the mysterious death. She reserves a room at a resort hotel that lies amid the splendor of that New York forest, where Martha undoubtedly spent her last days. Told from the point of view of three central characters-and including its own fairy tale-this is a story about murder, greed, love (won then lost), and, above all, intrigue. Readers will be eager to see what Tully, who has worked in film and TV for many years, comes up with next. Agent: Anna Soler Pontas, Pontas Literary Agency (Spain). (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

[DEBUT] Spanning two world wars and two continents, this first novel revolves around Maya Wiesberg and her grandmother Martha. The book opens in 1990, a year after the Berlin Wall has come down and the two Germanys reunited. Martha receives a letter dated December 27, 1944, that she is frightened to open and that leads to her disappearance. Flashback to 1938, when Martha's twin brother and mother have become avid followers of Adolf Hitler. Martha, however, is more like her deceased father, with whom she shared a love of forbidden books. In 2017, Maya, a Munich bookseller, learns that her grandmother's remains have been found in upstate New York; she travels to Shadow Lake to discover what she can about why Martha was in New York and what happened to her there. Verdict The book's promotional materials recommend it to fans of Kate Morton, but those readers, expecting a story that is psychologically suspenseful, even disturbing, will be disappointed. Tully's novel is a slow read, with too many side stories that are never fully developed. It tries to be too much-romance, suspense, and mystery-while never really succeeding at being any of those things.-Nanci Milone Hill, M.G. Parker Memorial Lib., Dracut, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Martha1990Martha Wiesberg was a woman of strict routine: Sunday, church; Monday, lunch with her neighbor; Tuesday, book club; Wednesday, laundry press; Thursday, aerobics--all at exactly the same time each week. Even a slight deviation was destructive to people like Martha. She needed routine like air to breathe. Only those who knew her very well--and they were far and few--knew why: it was her way of numbing her mind, of silencing the past and calming the voices that would remind her that life could have been so different, if only... It was four thirty in the afternoon. The sunlight was fading slowly, the way it does when the cold of early autumn starts to creep in. Martha had just fixed herself her daily afternoon cup of coffee (decaf), sat down with her daily crossword puzzle, and put on the television to watch her daily show. But her show wasn't on. Instead, a special program in honor of Germany's recently created Tag der Deutschen Einheit, "German Unity Day," was airing. Martha immediately switched off the TV. The silence in the room engulfed her like a dark blanket, allowing the voices in her head to become louder. This time it wasn't simply the interruption of routine that got to her; it was the most recent milestone in Germany's history: the reunification. Most of the population seemed happy about it, chatting about it in interviews on the TV, about what had caused the separation in the first place: the war, a dark chapter. For her part, Martha had moved on, or so she liked to think. But of course, there were the memories. Her mind was just about to dive deeper into that muddy lake of painful remembrances when the doorbell rang and jolted her from her thoughts. Martha opened the door and stared into the face of her postman, who had been delivering the mail to her for over ten years. The setting sun was breaking through the heavy clouds one last time, providing a backlight that gave him an almost ethereal appearance."Grüß Gott, Frau Wiesberg," he said with a nervous smile.Martha had never liked that salutation. Greet God? Okay! She sang to herself, I will when I see him! She had always felta bit out of place in Munich. She was a Zugereiste, after all, an "outsider" not born there."This is for you," the postman said with outstretched arms.Martha had never been too fond of him, partly because she suspected that he was reading her mail, as letters would oftenarrive torn open on the side. His curiosity, too, had become a staple in her diet of routine. Martha took the letter, wondering why the man had bothered to ring the doorbell rather than simply leave the letter in her mailbox. She was about to close the door when he gently tugged her back."Yes?""Well, in the name of the German Federal Postal Services, we would like to apologize very much for the delay."Confused, Martha studied the envelope, which had been-- or appeared to have been--ripped open by the transport, the letter sticking out one side. Adolf's face in the upper right corner looked out at her sternly. She brought the envelope closer to her eyes. The postmark read December 27, 1944."Are you joking?" she asked, and looked up at him."No, Frau Wiesberg, believe me, you are not the only one. There are a couple of others who have also been affected."She gazed down again at the envelope, chills running up her arms. "Affected by what?""The wall?" he said, surprised. "This letter was held up,and," he started to explain, "now that the wall has come down, it finally found its way to you."Martha was still staring at the letter when it slowly beganto dawn on her."The German Post will of course not charge you any delivery fee." He giggled, and Martha glared at him."I mean the German Post stopped charging so little postage a long time ago," he went on."I understood that the first time. I just don't find it at all funny," she told him.The grin on his face died suddenly, and he shuffled his feet nervously. "Is there anything else I can do for you?"Martha asked impatiently."No, no. Have a great day."He was about to turn around when Martha heard himmumble something else."What now?" she barked."Who is Wolfgang Wiesberg?" Martha slammed the door.Leaning against the inside of the door, she shut her eyes. She felt like a huge wave was breaking over her. Memorieswere flowing back into her mind, making her dizzy. She stared at the handwriting on the envelope. Wolfgang Wiesberg. Her twin brother. How she had suffered when she and Mother had been informed of his death, when the war had ended. Yet she and Wolfgang hadn't been close at the end. In fact, she had probably wished his death at some point. What was there to say, forty-six years later? Whatever was in that letter couldn't turn back time, couldn't bring back the love that life had held in store for her only to have cruelly snatched it away.I don't want to remember, I don't want to remember, I don't want to remember, she told herself over and over again, like a mantra. Martha started to tremble uncontrollably. She had always known that the secrets were only sleeping. Now they had finally woken up and come back to haunt her. Excerpted from Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.


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