Published in 2003, The Lake of Dead Languages is a fascinating mystery in which author Carol Goodman grabs readers' interest and does not let go until the last page.
Protagonist Jane Hudson returns to her alma mater, the Heart Lake School for Girls, as a Latin teacher following a separation from her husband. Always present in her mind, however, is the legend that seems to haunt the school; all three of the school's founders drowned in the lake. Since then, it has been believed that three rocks rose up out of the lake—one to represent each of the founders—and lure students to their deaths.
Twenty years earlier, Jane had attended Heart Lake on a scholarship. She and her roommates, Lucy and Deirdre, were virtually inseparable. They were all students of Helen Chambers, a somewhat mysterious Classics teacher. The three girls often snuck out of their dorm late at night and met Lucy's brother, Matt, at the lake. The three girls' friendship ended during their fateful senior year, the victim of scandal and suicide. Jane is made to bear these and other secrets for two decades; that is, until she returns to Heart Lake and someone else finds out about what really happened to her friends.
Jane had kept a journal which she thought had been lost; however, soon after her return to the school, someone finds it and begins a frightening simulation of the circumstances surrounding the events of the past. When one of Jane's students turns up dead in the lake, she is suspected of influencing the already disturbed girl. Suddenly, Jane is reliving her past, which she thought was long ago put to rest. Soon, the reader is immersed in a world of secret pagan rituals, sexual trysts, and unexplained deaths.
Transitioning smoothly between past and present, The Lake of Dead Languages is a unique coming-of-age tale that explores a range of themes, including revenge, jealousy, and friendship.
Carol Goodman's novels have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Simon & Schuster/Mary Higgins Clark Award and the Nero Wolfe Award.