Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Hotel on Shadow Lake" by Daniela Tully, Served with Trout with Almonds and Butter-Parsley Fingerling Potatoes

It's Tuesday and I'm happy to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for a new historical mystery novel, Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully. Accompanying my review are recipes for  tasty Trout with Almonds and Butter-Parsley Fingerling Potatoes inspired by my reading.

Publisher's Blurb:

Suspenseful and compelling, Daniela Tully’s Hotel on Shadow Lake is at once an intricate mystery, an epic romance, and a Gothic family saga.
When Maya was a girl in Germany, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then, shortly after Maya’s sixteenth birthday, her grandmother disappeared without a trace, leaving Maya with only questions to fill the void.
Twenty-seven years later, her grandmother’s body is found in a place she had no connection to: the Montgomery Resort in upstate New York. How did she get there? Why had she come? Desperate for answers, Maya leaves her life in Germany behind and travels to America, where she is drawn to the powerful family that owns the hotel and seemingly the rest of the town.
Soon Maya is unraveling secrets that go back decades, from 1910s New York to 1930s Germany and beyond. But when she begins to find herself spinning her own lies in order to uncover the circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s death, she must decide whether her life and a chance at true love are worth risking for the truth.

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (April 10, 2018)

My Review: 

Although she has worked in the film industry for years, Hotel on Shadow Lake is Daniela Tully's first book, but hopefully not her last. She packed an amazing amount of history, story, stories within the story, mysteries, and well-drawn characters into just over 250 pages. There are skillful twists and layers to uncover and the book travels from Germany in 1938 to the 1990s and beyond, then to America and upstate New York in past and present day. Tully's writing is evocative and descriptive enough to have me feeling like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book (in a good way) and I think it would be fabulous adapted as a film. I am a big fan of WWII historical fiction, especially when it gives me a different look or perspective--in this case that of a young book and story-loving, free-thinking young woman in Germany during the rise of Nazi power, and her granddaughter--who is stronger than she thinks and trying to find out what happened to her grandmother decades ago. Along with the mystery there is romance and dark family drama that Tully balances well. I did have some of the secrets figured out, but other bits surprised me and I turned the pages, anxious to learn if I was correct. My only real complaint is that I would have liked more of it, I was sorry to see the book end. 

Author Notes: Daniela Tully has worked in film and television for decades, including with famed film director Uli Edel. She has been involved in projects such as the critically acclaimed Fair Game, box-office hits Contagion and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as the Oscar-winning The Help. She splits her time between Dubai and New York. Inspired by a real family letter received forty-six years late, Hotel on Shadow Lake is Daniela Tully’s first novel.

Connect with Daniela on her website, Facebook and Instagram.


Food Inspiration:

There wasn't a lot of food in Hotel on Shadow Lake, but it's not surprising that there wasn't room for more with the amount of story packed into the page count. There were some mentions including decaf coffee, marmalade, beer, ice cream, pad thai, pretzels, Obatzda (a beer garden cheese delicacy), red wine, a few restaurants--Italian, a bagel place (with regular, pumpernickel, and blueberry bagels) and an Asian restaurant, Malbec, hamburger, martinis, oysters, foie gras, caviar, Hendl (roasted chicken), Schweinsbraten (Bavarian pork roast) with dumplings and Apfelstrudel, Kaffe and Kuchen (coffee and cake), and trout with potatoes and butter sauce.

Since the trout and potatoes were part of a dinner and the last time two of the characters were truly happy, I chose to make them for my book-inspired dish. I looked up some German recipes online and then put them together into a dish that sounded good to me.

Trout with Sliced Almonds
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serve 2

2 large trout fillets
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp almond meal or flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
extra lemon wedges for serving

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the almond meal with salt and black pepper. Drizzle the trout fillets with lemon juice and then dredge them in the almond meal, shaking off the excess. 

Cook the trout for 5 to 6 minutes on one side, then turn and cook the other side for another 4 to 5 minutes or until the fish flakes and is cooked through. Remove the fillets from the pan, add the almonds, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook he almonds for about 2 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Plate the fish and top with the toasted almonds, Serve with lemon slices and fingerling potatoes.

Butter-Parsley Fingerling Potatoes
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2 to 4)

1 lb or so fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Steam or boil potatoes about 15 minutes or so, until they are just tender enough to pierce easily with a fork. 

Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium until it bubbles. Add the potatoes, cut side down in a single layer if possible (or cook in batches) and cook potatoes for 6-8 minutes, until the cut sides are nicely browned and crisp.  

Add parsley, sea salt and black pepper to the pan and toss until well combined. Serve and enjoy.

Notes/Results: The trout was tasty--basically it's a trout almondine which I always enjoy, but give me fingerlings, rich with butter and parsley and I could be perfectly happy just eating a bowl of them. Potatoes make me happy. ;-) You could do the preparation with other fish, trout is just a popular German fish and what the characters ate. When not cooking for the book, I might use a nice local monchong (a type of promfret), when it is fresh and available. With all of the butter and richness of this dish, it would be great served with a green salad. In fact, the leftovers are accompanied me to work cold in a salad form, along with currant tomatoes, capers, and a creamy dressing. I would happily make both recipes again.  

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "Hotel on Shadow Lake" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


  1. Sounds like a good book and I will check it out on Amazon. Intriguing title for sure. Your dinner looks delicious! Thanks!

  2. That trout looks delicious. I’m with you on the subject of potatoes, too — I can’t get too many of them. I think I have in fact eaten those foods in a restaurant in Germany.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  3. Oh wow that meal looks AMAZING. I don't think I've ever attempted cooking trout at home, but there's always time for something new. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yum! Cheers from Carole's chatter

  5. I've heard of fingerling potatoes but I'm not sure I've ever seen them. They look delicious as does your trout. I love potatoes but keep away from them because of the carbs.

  6. Always a good sign when you're sorry the book ended. The meal, however, is the star here! I may have to ask Mr. BFR to keep some trout next time he goes fishing.

  7. I also like WW II historical fiction so I am eager to read this one. the trout looks good and I like that it's not a deep fried fish. Making me hungry here!


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