The Other Side of Forestlands Lake, by Carolyn Elizabeth

malini's review

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emotional hopeful lighthearted sad medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


lezreviewbooks's review

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To be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to read this novel. Lesfic paranormal books aren’t my cup of tea and they have to come highly recommended for me to read them. However, this author is one of my favourites so I decided to read it anyway. And I’m glad I did.

Teenagers Willa Dunn and Lee Chandler used to spend every summer together in Forestlands Lake in upstate NY, until one day a tragic event for Willa’s family separated them. Twenty-five years later, Willa returns to Forestlands Lake as a famous YA author of ghost stories in search of a writing retreat and a chance of a reconnection with her sister Nicole. There she meets Lee again and together they will have to deal with ghosts – metaphorical and literal – from their past and present…

I was fearing that this book would creep me out with the story about ghosts but, luckily for me, this is not a horror book. As a matter of fact, it’s quite light on the paranormal side and as it favours more suspense/intrigue/mystery which will keep you turning pages and trying to guess the direction it’s going.

Forestlands Lake is a small town but a few of its inhabitants are important to the story and part of the mystery to be solved. I loved the way the author weaves the web of relationships among them and how she slowly brings connections between past and present. The mystery and intrigue parts were very well done and the great reveal unexpected.

Even though this isn’t a romance book, there are two types of love stories, YA and adult. Ms. Elizabeth writes both of them very well. I was especially surprised by the YA romance as it sounded authentic by highlighting the characters’ insecurities and innocence. The adult romance is also well written with lots of chemistry between the mains. However, as I said before, this is not a romance book so don’t expect much in that department because the mystery / intrigue steals the show.

The setting of this novel, exclusively in the small town of Forestlands Lake, creates a perfect background for the story. The small town with its history of old conflicts and feuds between their inhabitants bring the perfect opportunity to highlight the intrigue part of the plot. The woods surrounding it, and the lake dividing it from ‘the other side’ provides the story with a mysterious and even claustrophobic landscape in which the truth can be hidden in plain sight or in the deep dark of the night.

Overall, a superb paranormal / mystery book that won’t disappoint the fans of the genre. 5 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

corrie's review

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With The Other Side of Forestlands Lake author Carolyn Elizabeth takes us away from the putrefied corpses and the morgue and gives us a solid paranormal mystery/romance.

I like the genre in all its forms but it’s a real treat when the author throws in some ghosties.

Carolyn Elizabeth certainly did not disappoint. What I liked about her main characters was that they kept a healthy dose of skepticism, even when the real weirdness set in. Willa Dunn and Lee Chandler are very likeable protagonists and as a reader you really are invested in them to get a second chance. The author makes us care because we start off with a solid piece of back story on what happened 26 years ago, as teenage Willa and Lee spend their summer at Forestlands Lake in Upstate New York and the tragedy that rips them apart.

The story is well paced and plotted, you will not find it easy to put the book down. We are introduced to a big cast of interesting secondary characters with a bigger (and important) role for Willa’s surly half-sister Nicole and Lee’s daughter Maggie. We get a sweet romance between two adult women in their 40s and some nice young adult chemistry as well. Don’t miss this book because you really want to find out what happened at the lake all those years ago and if Willa, Nicole and Maggie are able to put some of those ghosts to rest.


Themes: Camp Prism, Forrestland Lake, the disappearance of young Sasha Mathers, fooling around with the Ouija board, ghostly footsteps in the water, a family tragedy.

4.5 Stars