The House by the Lake is an epic, fact-filled, multivoiced saga told with pace, verve and warmth, and rich in fascinating revelations ... through rigorous research, sleuth work and a range of interviews with key players he shows how one house stayed standing throughout a world war and the Cold War. He regales us with murder, espionage, de-Nazification trials and simple family drama, and at the end of his masterful tale we understand more about Germany’s difficult past and appreciate what makes a house a home.
The House by the Lake meticulously chronicles two linked feats of reclamation: the author’s reconstruction of the house’s life and times and his quest to restore the building itself ... The principal achievement of The House by the Lake is Harding’s portrayal of the ordinary lives, loves, and foibles of the people who passed through the house. He manages to show, too, how historical currents carried them along.
...[a] treasure trove of detail, narrated with a calm dignity ... It is Harding’s great achievement that he has painted a large canvas of history, but done so with glinting individual stories. He has persevered in listening to those 'quiet voices.'