Review: The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin @Hoz_Books 

Release date: August 10, 2017

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Genre: Thriller


When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.

Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.

It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever… 


I’ve had a long fascination with cults, it’s always so interesting to see why an average person would ever join one. Was it just because they were at a vulnerable time in their life? Were they targeted and stalked like a hunter circling their prey? And how were they roped in to a place where they have to cut off contact with the outside world? 

Caitlin was definitely in a tough time in her life and I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her. She was fragile and very easily manipulated and cult leaders are generally very adept at spotting this and using it to their advantage. Don is the leader of the group Caitlin joins and she is instantly mesmerized and intrigued by him, he has a charisma that speaks to her. The cast of characters here were well drawn and complex with histories and backgrounds that made it easy to see why they were drawn to “The Group”.

This was a slow burn with a lot of psychological insight as group members all participate in both individual and group therapy sessions. The bulk of this novel focuses on Caitlin and her sessions and as human psych interests me, I liked it. Things do get intense the further you read, there is a sense of discomfort and uneasiness because you know sinister things are lurking just beneath the surface. If you like books that explore cults and the behavior of their members, this is a solid read.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

13 thoughts on “Review: The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin @Hoz_Books 

  1. tripfiction says:

    This is the third “cult” novel I have read this year (The Girls by Emma Cline and See You in September by Charity Norman). This read felt as though it got a bit lost along the way, muddled as the author got more into her story….

    Liked by 1 person

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