I love to know where books take place. To me, reading the description of the setting sets the mood. Sometimes, there are places that are unusual to me and sometimes there are places that make me comfortable. I really like it when a setting is described very thoroughly, and in this book it was.
There were some places in this book that were unfamiliar to me. For example, I have never been to a large estate house. Kate, the narrator, describes the house as she comes into it. There are iron gates around the estate that lead into a small wooded area. There are massive vines and dripping black branches that crowd very close to the road. The woods then lead to an open, well taken care of, lawn. (251) I have never been to a house where they have a private road through woods, just leading up to a house. Later on, Kate describes the rest of the estate. There are formal gardens, an orchard, a pond, and a barn. Also, there is a row of employee cottages near the horse barn. (284,285) This is very unfamiliar setting to me because there are not many places around here that have this type of extravagance.
On the other hand, there are some places in this setting that I am comfortable in. When Kate goes to the riverfront, I can picture what she is talking about exactly. Since we live near a river and I have been to many other rivers in my life, I was immediately comfortable here. “A large wooden platform with pilings for temporary docking” is how Kate described the public dock on the riverfront. (354) When Kate described this, it really helped me visualize the book better because I am comfortable in the setting. Another comfortable place in the setting for me is when Kate, Sam and Patrick are playing in the snow. They spend the afternoon throwing snowballs and making a snowman. (434-436) When I was younger, I played in the snow all the time. I had so much fun and I believe that’s why I felt comfortable here.
The setting in this book is very important to the plot. You really need the big estate and the small town to go with the plot. I mean, you don’t see a large estate like this in New York City! Also, if a death occurred in a public body of water, there would have been people around that may have seen things. The mysterious death of a child worked well with a private pond. (575) If that hadn’t been possible, there would not have been a story.
I really liked how the narrator described the setting in this book. From those descriptions, I could find which places in the setting that I was unfamiliar with. I also could find where I was comfortable. The setting helped set the mood and helped me to visualize the book more than I would have without it.
Chandler, Elizabeth. Dark Secrets 2- The Deep End of Fear. New York. Simon Pulse 2003 print