Title: Arcadia Falls
Author: Carol Goodman
Release Date: March 9, 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Devastated after her husband’s death, Meg Rosenthal moves with her daughter to the small town of Arcadia Falls in upstate New York. Money is tight, and Meg is lucky enough to have found a position teaching at a boarding school there, with free tuition for her daughter Sally. What Meg doesn’t expect, though, is that a tragedy at the school will set off a search for the answer to a mystery that dates from the school’s founding, and Meg will find herself in the middle of it.
I absolutely adore Carol Goodman’s novels. I’ve read all of them (reviews of The Drowning Tree and The Night Villa) so I was literally breathless with anticipation when I heard about her new book Arcadia Falls. I was really excited that it returned to the locale of upstate New York, where Goodman’s first books were set. While her later books are still very good, she has a way of capturing the remote atmosphere in New York that make her books impossible to put down.
I thoroughly enjoyed Arcadia Falls. Goodman writing style is incredibly atmospheric and evokes an almost gothic sense when reading the book. While it’s less creepy than some of her other novels, the entire novel has an almost claustrophobic nature. Everything centers on the school, and it seems like everyone there is consumed by the mystery of what happened between Lily in Vera that resulted in Lily’s death.
The mystery itself is well-written and engaging. I admit that I did figure out some parts of it before they were revealed in the book, but the entire thing is so complicated that by the end the reader might need some sort of graphic representation of what really happened. That’s not to say it’s too difficult to figure out or anything like that – Goodman clearly has a mind for creating complex mysteries and it shows in Arcadia Falls.
If you’re a fan of atmospheric mysteries, I can’t recommend Carol Goodman’s novels highly enough. There’s a very good reason she’s one of my favorite authors. She has this ability to draw me into a story and keep me there until she chooses to let me go that is so appealing. I absolutely love getting lost in her novels, and Arcadia Falls is no exception to that steadfast rule