"Latin's a dead language,
As dead as dead can be.
It killed off all the Romans,
And now it's killing me."
The old rhyme seems to be coming true for Heart Lake School for Girls, and not for the first time.
Like every girl at Heart Lake, Jane Hudson had known the old legend of the three sisters, transformed into rocks in the lake, who lured the unsuspecting out to their death by drowning. In her senior year, her two roommates and the boy she secretly loves are drowned in the lake: suicide, or accident? The School blames their Latin teacher, the charismatic Helen Chambers; Jane thinks she knows the truth, which now lies at the bottom of the Lake.
After the birth of her daughter, and her separation from the father, Jane returns to Heart Lake to take up Helen's old post. When pages from her senior year journal, long thought lost, begin to appear amongst her students' assignments, and then one of her class is found having apparantly attempted suicide, it seems that events are repeating themselves, or at least, that someone wants to make it seem that way. Then her love's cousin, a man with his own strange link to Jane's past reappears. Is everything just adolescent hysteria, or is something more sinister happening?
I enjoyed this very much. Though there are obvious plot similarities with Donna Tartt's The Secret History, this is a much more emotional book, its insanity much closer to the surface. In particular, the change between schoolgirl Jane, weak, scared, insecure, and the more assured Jane who returns to Heart Lake is well done. The plotting is intricate if a little heavy-handed. I defy anyone not to see who the villain is by about half way through, though ultimately, this does not matter; the important transformation is Jane's discovery of the truth about her own past, and this is completely compelling.