Enchantment Lake (A Northwoods Mystery)
University of Minnesota Press
Published March 11, 2015
About Enchantment Lake
A disturbing call from her great aunts Astrid and Jeannette sends seventeen-year-old Francie far from her new home in New York into a tangle of mysteries. Ditching an audition in a Manhattan theater, Francie travels to a remote lake in the northwoods where her aunts’ neighbors are “dropping like flies” from strange accidents. But are they accidents?
On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hotdish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure that is said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? At the center of everything is a suddenly booming business in cabin sales and a road not everyone wants built.
To a somewhat reluctant northwoods Nancy Drew, the intrigue proves irresistible, especially when it draws her closer to the mysteries at the heart of her own life: What happened to her father? Who and where is her mother? Who is she, and where does her heart lie—in the bustle of New York City or the deep woods of Minnesota? With its gripping story, romantic spirit, and a sly dash of modern-day trouble (evil realtors and other invasive species), Enchantment Lake will fascinate readers, providing precisely the charm that Margi Preus’s readers have come to expect.
I loved all the descriptions of the small town of Walpurgis and its quirky inhabitants, including Francie’s great aunts. Aunt Astrid and Aunt Jeannette have told everyone that Francie is a detective when in reality she simply played one on TV. They don’t seem troubled by the misinformation, and they have every confidence that Francie can solve the case.
Right away I loved Francie, too. She’s smart and vulnerable and definitely a reluctant heroine. There are a couple of times when she ends up in some tense situations and I definitely felt myself on edge reading them, in a good way!
On the whole, this isn’t as dark or intense as something like ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen McManus or THE WHITE RABBIT by Caleb Roehrig. It’s a fun, sweet mystery perfect for upper elementary or middle school readers, or anyone looking for a small town mystery you could read in a couple hours.
Francie’s story continues in A CLUE IN THE TREES and THE SILVER BOX, which I’ll be reviewing over the next couple weeks.
Recommended for Ages 10 up.
Major characters are white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some obvious attraction between Francie and a boy.
A suspicious number of “accidental” deaths have occurred around the lake. (All take place off-screen.) Francie hears a gunshot which she’s later told was a man committing suicide. Some situations of peril. Francie is trapped with someone she thinks is the murderer more than once.
Adults drink alcohol at a dinner party. A girl maybe a little older than Francie is drunk at night.
Note: I received a free copy of ENCHANTMENT LAKE in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.