Rachel Madison has it all. With a successful art gallery, comfortable lifestyle, scads of friends clamoring for invitation to her parties, Rachel thinks little on serious matters. But when a tragic accident steals her one true friend, Rachel rents a cabin at the secluded Misty Lake for a season of solitude and a healthy dose of soul searching. During her stay, Rachel meets the eccentric and tortured owner, John, and fun loving, successful, and handsome Daniel. The three slowly forge a bond as they discover that Misty Lake holds more than mere secrets in its murky depths.
Haunted Lake is the first book I've read by author Lauralynn Elliot, and I'll gladly buy another by this author. Haunted Lake hints at eerie mystery from the first chapter, leading readers along with Rachel through the story to the unexpected conclusion. Elliot's descriptions were vivid yet concise, capturing the scenery wonderfully, and I have my own mental pictures of Misty Lake, the cabins, and the surrounding walks, nooks, and forests. Also worth mentioning is Elliot's masterful use of suspense and tension within the paranormal facet of the story. Well Done!
Each character had a defined personality with strengths and weaknesses, lending a realistic and believable quality to the unfolding relationships. Haunted Lake, in addition to being an eerie ghost tale, houses a romance. I wasn't certain who the love interest, the villain, or the fall guy would be for a good piece of the story which kept my interest high as I wavered in my speculations. The author nicely built and maintained tension between Rachel, Daniel, and John; however, there were a few instances where I got an odd and unwelcome three-some vibe, which is NOT a theme within the storyline. Elliot actually writes a fairly chaste romance, but does so well.
My only criticism involves the ending - I have mixed feelings. An unexpected twist adds interest and surprise, (Spoiler alert) yet the entity and the reason for its ultimate defeat is never fleshed out. That being said, I greatly enjoyed the intense tension and emotions which continued to the very last pages while still affording my happy ending.