Of Secrets and Latin (The Lake of Dead Languages – A Book Review)

The Lake of Dead Languages

Author: Carol Goodman

Published: 2005

On Goodreads

My Rating: 

Rated L for Latin and twisted love on a cursed lake.

Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson fled Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondack after a terrible tragedy. Now, she’s back and history isn’t only following her down every hall, it may just be repeating itself.

Latin. A dead language and to some a pagan voice for ritual. Still, Jane excelled in it and went on to teach it. Now separated from her husband and struggling with her young daughter, she focuses on trying to move forward with her life. A group of girls in her class seem to get wrapped up in something unnatural and possibly tied to paganism. As she begins to investigate, things take a deadly turn. Determined to protect them, she will figure out the dark secrets that lie within the depths of the school and the lake where she lost two friends and so much more. As she grows closer to figuring this monster out, she discovers so much she never knew and so much she never wanted to share.

This was a gift from a co-worker. She was tweaking my supernatural bone and gave it to me after she finished. I’m very excited I finally got around to it. The pages are rich in detail and imagery. The writing itself is beautiful and could wash me away. Goodman really set the stage for drama. This definitely needs to be made into a Lifetime movie with Jenna Dewan starring as Jane. I’ll accept nothing less.


Still, I found myself losing interest. The backstory had me snagged but I struggled from time to time because the story of rehashing a dark past and watching it come back in the present felt longwinded and stagnate. It left me bored here and there. Not proud of that feeling. More so, the repetitiveness left me sighing so many times. If Goodman didn’t feel the need to remind me so often, I’d have gathered that Latin was a central theme on my own. LOL. I know it was the class Jane taught but the way it was brought so much outside of that, it was too much. Overdone.

The characters both main and secondary really didn’t stick out with anything particularly striking. I wish I didn’t have to say that, but it’s true. The story itself was more intriguing, but would’ve been more so if the characters stood out more. The dramatic bits from suicides to unexpected secrets weren’t as shocking or surprising as they should’ve been because of this. You had your group of mean girls, the typical shy teacher with a horrifying past at said school that desperately wanted to be like by them but her own child as well. It was all just too cliché and predictable for me.

There are times when you have to gush about cover art. This is one of those times. Just beautiful. The glimmer-shimmer-gloss across it gave it such a magical touch and is enough to make anyone pick up this book.


This book is one of those, read on a rainy evening, get lost amid its depth and curiosity. I wasn’t one of those people, but I know there are many out there. Mysterious tagged with a horrifying past. Still, not a keeper for me. However, if you love delving into the kind of books that resemble Lifetime movies, read this one.


“Well, Latin is an economical language, especially when it comes to destruction.” (Jane, p. 37)

“A person who has been shut out from love her whole life may form unhealthy close attachments. When someone (a teacher or an older girl) seems to care about her she may become obsessed with that person. If that person fails her, betrayal may be shattering. There’s no telling what the betrayed one might do.” (p. 337)

More to come soon…                                                                                                


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