Carol Goodman's 7th novel, Arcadia Falls, brought hours of reading ambivalence mixed with pleasure last week as we waited for basements to dry out and flood-closed roads to reopen.
From Publishers Weekly
Goodman delivers the goods her fans expect in this atmospheric and fast-moving gothic story: buried secrets, supernatural elements, and a creepy setting. Following the death of her husband, Meg Rosenthal accepts a job teaching at an upstate New York boarding school and moves there with her teenage daughter, Sally. The school, Arcadia Falls, also happens to be central to her thesis, which focuses on the two female coauthors of fairy tales: Vera Beecher, who founded the school, and her friend Lily Eberhardt, who died mysteriously in 1947. While the campus is bucolic, school life proves anything but—Meg thinks she sees ghosts and Arcadia's brightest and most ambitious student, Isabel Cheney, is found dead in a ravine. Feeling Sally drifting further from her each day, Meg finds refuge in Lily's preserved diary and begins to unravel the secrets behind Isabel's death.
A favorite passage
My new home...seems to be engaged in a duet with the wind. Gusts whoosh out of the pine forest and fling themselves onto the house, which sighs and moans as if it were being carressed and then, as the wind sweeps back into the forest, keens like an abandoned lover.
At first, it was difficult to find the rhythm of the parallel stories of Meg Rosenthal's present and the past history of Vera Beecher and Lilly Eberhardt linked by the retelling of a changling fairy tale. Then the middle drew me fully back into the story. The ending? Well, you'll have to read Arcadia Falls and decide for yourself!
Rating: 3.5/5 (Fiction Scale)