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Lake of Sorrows: A Novel Hardcover – October 5, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (October 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743247965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743247962
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Can there be too much of a good thing? Hart's second literary thriller starring pathologist Nora Gavin, set in the misty midlands and myth-laden peat bogs of County Offaly, is an Irish breakfast of a book: a kidney here, a sausage there, undeniably rich and delicious but likely to provoke indigestion unless consumed slowly. Every character is fascinating, from the depressed yet fearless and tenderly passionate Dr. Gavin, to the coldly erotic and bullying archeologist Ursula Downes, whose murder Nora helps solve nearly at the cost of her own life. The downside of Hart's talent is that there are so many beautifully realized lives in this novel—police detectives, archeologists, beekeepers, scholars, farmers, mothers—that readers will sink into the book as if it were the Loughnabrone ("Lake of Sorrows") Bog itself. Yet it's an emotionally and intellectually gorgeous descent. The many readers who grew attached to Nora and her on-again, off-again amour and sometime investigative partner, archeologist Cormac Maguire, in Haunted Ground will relish this new adventure, and eagerly await the hinted-at next volume, in which Nora seems likely to return to her native Minnesota to confront Peter Hallett, husband of her dead sister, Triona, and, Nora believes, Triona's killer. Hart's language sings, and the gothic atmosphere lingers the way peat clings to the skin of bog workers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Hart's second novel, the follow-up to her superb debut, Haunted Ground (2003), again sends American forensic pathologist Nora Galvin deep into Ireland's west country to sort out the mystery of a body found in a peat bog--or, as it turns out, two bodies, one ancient and one contemporary, but both bearing the signs of ritual murder in keeping with Ireland's pagan past. That conundrum drives the action in another detail-rich, character-centered mix of local history and tangled human relationships. As Nora and her lover and colleague, archaeologist Cormac Maguire, attempt to reconstruct the lives of the two peat-preserved corpses, they must confront the strains in their own relationship and in those of several families living in the isolated region of Loughnabrone ("Lake of Sorrows") Bog. There is almost too much going on here--too many complex characters, each with the potential to hold up his or her own novel; too many tantalizing historical threads, each deserving a more thorough untangling. But to say that this novel is not quite as focused as its predecessor is not to say that it isn't full of riches for readers who savor the multidimensionality of literary fiction. Look not necessarily to other crime authors for comparisons to Hart's work but rather to such mainstream novelists as Canadian Donna Morrisey (Kit's Law, Downhill Chance), who also use local history as the lever with which to pry open the human heart. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

ERIN HART introduced pathologist Nora Gavin in one of the most lauded mystery debuts of 2003: HAUNTED GROUND was a Book Sense 76 Pick, a winner of the Friends of American Writers Award, a winner of the Romantic Times Best First Mystery Award, and a nominee for the Anthony Award and the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and Best First Mystery, respectively. Her second novel in the series, LAKE OF SORROWS, was shortlisted for a 2004 Minnesota Book Award. The third and fourth books in the series, FALSE MERMAID (March 2010)and THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN (March 2013), both received broad critical acclaim. A Minnesota theater critic, a former communications director of the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a founder of the Twin Cities Irish Music & Dance Association, Erin Hart received an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, Irish button accordion legend Paddy O'Brien, and makes frequent visits to Ireland. Visit her website at

Customer Reviews

Lots of plot twists and great characters.
It's always great to find an author who incorporates so much about the setting, its culture and people while telling an intriguing tale.
A. Steward
I found myself a bit annoyed at Nora at times, but not so much that it detracted from the story.
L. J. Roberts

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. J Thompson on February 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The bogs of the Irish midlands reveal their secrets in all due time, more often now that the landscape is being increasingly carved up by the local farmers. As the turf is cut and dried to be burnt as a fuel, there is occasionally a find that excites archaeologists and the scandal lovers alike. When two bodies turn up in the peat bogs in as many days, both showing signs that they were victims of ritualized killings, the community is given something delicious to talk about.

Visiting American pathologist Nora Gavin is called in because of her past experience. The opportunity to examine hands on another peat bog body is an opportunity not to be missed in the name of research. The second recent find is not however that ancient and is quickly identified as belonging to a family that still live and work in the area. In this myth soaked area of Ireland the paganistic rite of a "triple" death is not unusual, but to find a body slain in such a manner with an estimated date of death to be only twenty or so years ago, it takes the find from being considered historically curious, to threatening.

"Lake of Sorrows" is full of characters that really need their own novels to fully explore their murky pasts and how they got to be all together in one secluded little Irish town. Hart needs to either write longer saga length novels or tone down some of the melodrama to keep the focus on her two protagonists and the crime at hand. In providing a lead for the third novel in the series Hart has her character in Dr Gavin behaving like a teenager in her rejection of her Irish lover Cormac Macguire who we expected to become the love of her life at the end of "Haunted Ground.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By - Kasia S. VINE VOICE on July 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lake of Sorrows is Erin Hart's second book that features Nora Gavin, a pathologist that has knack for getting mixed up in murders and tangled scenarios that make for some great reading. I must admit that I had no idea there was a book written prior to reading this, yet it I didn't feel it kept me from enjoying this fully as the story was strong on its own. One of the best parts of this book is the rich and detailed description of Ireland, focusing on the Loughnabrone Bog as a place of mystery and gruesome hidden secrets that sank as fast as the muddy sand that swallowed up jewels and people with no one to hear the last screams. The foggy and misty feel of the country side with it's wet bogs, forests and magnificent pastures swept through my head as the writer described everything so eloquently with much passion. This tale of murder, lost treasure, love triangles and archaeological excavations that educated us about the Iron Age Celtic culture, as that history wasn't written, only recorded on jewels and weapons found in the sunken bog along with bodies of sacrificial origin, murmured to be called a Triple Death from Britain and the Continent, found from Gallagh, Galway and Lounghabrone.

Nora Gavin has suffered through an event from the previous story, and was out in Loughnabrone at an archaeological dig in the bog of a man believed to been sacrificed over a hundred years ago. She slowly discovers secrets and hidden relationships between teams of people from the University and other expedicitonal teams that end up adding bodies into the watery bogs. The story has many interesting characters, some good and some who hate and cheat and even murder.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's not often these days, since I discovered my affinity for historical fiction four years ago, that I'll read a novel set in modern times. To be honest, anything past 1900 is pushing it a little bit for me. But because of the historical connection in Erin Hart's first novel "Haunted Ground" I was dragged into her mystery series featuring pathologists Nora Gavin and archeologist Corwin Maguire, both of whom are obsessed with the rare treasures that occasionally turn up in Ireland's bogs-particularly the human remains, which are so well preserved from the chemical process of the bog that much can be learned from them about the era the person lived in.

So after enjoying the first novel so much I had no choice but to proceed to the second, "Lake of Sorrows" which features an iron age body that apparently underwent a triple death (three methods of murder when any one of them would have been sufficient to kill the victim) and a more recent murder victim found only 100 yards away. But it isn't just these two bodies that has captured our main characters interests, it's the many strange occurrences going on around the large bog which borders the lake of sorrows, rumors of gold found years ago that was never turned over to the authorities as it should have been, strange characters who no one in the community trusts and soon more murders, which leaves one of our favorite non-detective sleuths as an excellent suspect.

Though unlike its predecessor this novel does not explore events of the past through music it is still a strong current through the book, as is the environment itself.
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