A wonderfully executed story of loss and separation – Black Lake by Johanna Lane

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The Campbell family built Dunlough on the Irish coast and have lived there for generations – but pressed by financial strain John decides to allow the government to run the house as an attraction, and to move wife Marianne and children Kate and Philip into a small cottage in the grounds. The sudden loss of home pulls the family apart, straining at bonds that were loose to start with. A tragic event on the day of the opening tips Marianne into madness, and the whole family into confusion.

This was a tale about many things. Though ostensibly about the loss of a country estate, a fascinating tale in itself, the real loss here is of the family unit, which somehow was defined and contained by the house it lived in. The tragedies are personal and private rather than social; we are invited into a world where no one can see each other clearly and where the smallest actions are hugely significant.