23 March 2010

Weekly Book Review Wednesday.....

Arcadia FallsArcadia Falls
I received a copy of the book Arcadia Falls by the author Carol Goodman, just a few short days ago. I had read Ms. Goodman's first novel, The Sea of Dead Languages, and enjoyed that, so I was anxious to dive into this story.

Arcadia Falls takes place in a mountain refuge where a historic artist commune had been located. This commune had been a space for women, primarily, to nurture their talents. Later the commune became a girls' school that was shrouded in intrigue and tragedy.

The recently widowed Meg Rosenthal, and her teenage daughter Sally, move to the school so Meg can teach and Sally attend. The stage is set with the death of a student in their first days at the academy. This begins the unraveling of an intricately woven mystery.

The book immediately reeled me in, as I forsook sleep to read much of the first half. Goodman's prose flow quite freely, making the novel a relaxed and comfortable read. In the beginning (about the first 30 pages), I did struggle with the main character. Her very obvious weaknesses and the artificial dialogue between her and her daughter troubled me. However, as the book progresses, this ceases to be an issue.

Goodman has told a surprisingly complex tale, and though it bears similarity to her first novel, it is obvious that her writing has grown considerably. She completes the package with a nice, tidy ending. I would have been a bit happier if it reflected life more accurately by leaving a loose end or two. All in all, however, I truly recommend this book.