07 October 2010

Review: Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

After Meg Rosenthal's husband died leaving her deeply in debt, she knew she could not stay in their large Long Island house. When she was offered a job teaching English at a small private school in upstate New York, she saw it as an opportunity for her and her teenage daughter, Sally, to find a simpler life and to heal emotionally after their loss.

Within days after moving into the rustic cottage provided by the school, Meg realizes that the Arcadia Falls art academy would not be the safe haven she was hoping for. Besides infighting among the faculty and a headmistress who keeps her eye on all activities, a fall festival ends in tragedy. Of course, not everyone is convinced the death was an accident, and as the months go by, Meg discovers that the academy is guarding many dark secrets.

Carol Goodman's Arcadia Falls is a compound mystery story that weaves folk tales and feminist issues into what could have easily been a standard investigation into a suspicious death. Add to the mix the vivid descriptions of the Arcadia Falls campus, strange sightings in the woods, and a troubled mother-daughter relationship and you begin to see the interconnected layers that make up the story.

Although seasoned readers of the mystery genre will figure out or suspect where some of the plot lines end up, Goodman's characters and sense of place are strong enough to keep you fully engrossed. The switches in time period and point of view are comfortably bridged and well paced. A slightly spooky read, perfect for October.

I listened to the unabridged audio edition (BBC America) read by Jen Taylor, who was a new-to-me narrator. Her vocalizations and accents kept me on track and made for an excellent audiobook experience. Her inflections brought the characters alive but didn't become intrusively dramatic.

For more on Carol Goodman, visit her website.

Arcadia Falls at an Indie
Arcadia Falls at Powell's
Arcadia Falls at Book Depository
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Published by Ballantine Books, March 2010
ISBN-13: 9780345497536
YTD: 87
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Rating: B
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Sandy Nawrot 10/7/10, 6:23 AM  

I've seen a number of reviews for this book, but yours made a particular impression on me. I never came away with the idea that there was a murder involved! I'll have to see if this is available on audio at our library.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 10/7/10, 6:53 AM  

Still waiting to read this one. Happy to hear the audio was good. It seems to me our library system didn't have this one, but I should check again. Thanks for the great review.

Molly 10/7/10, 7:03 AM  

This book has been on my TBR list since it was first released. I am glad to hear the audio was an enjoyable experience.

Marg 10/7/10, 7:37 AM  

Have you read other Carol Goodman novels?

I do find her writing quite formulaic, and some of her books are a bit up and down, but this was one of the good ones for me.

Beth 10/7/10, 7:56 AM  

I really enjoyed this one when I read it earlier this year.

Eleanor 10/7/10, 9:22 AM  

I adored this book and have piled Carol Goodman's other writing into my TBR pile. I thought the sense of place was absolutely amazing.

Barbara 10/7/10, 9:27 AM  

This sounds good. Putting it on my list right away.

Nise' 10/7/10, 10:47 AM  

Hmmm.... maybe I should finish this book on audio. I totally lost interest 1/2 way through and put it down. Unless you would like to tell me "who did it" LOL!

bermudaonion 10/7/10, 10:56 AM  

This sounds like it has a little bit of a spooky feel to it which is perfect for this time of year.

Julie P. 10/7/10, 1:59 PM  

Another new one to me!

Dorte H 10/7/10, 3:14 PM  

This mix of academia, death and dark secrets sounds very tempting indeed.

Unknown 10/7/10, 4:04 PM  

This book sounds really good, in fact, based on your audio recommendation I just requested the audio book from my library.

caite 10/7/10, 5:20 PM  

I haven't heard of this one before, but yes, it does sound a bit spooky.

Alice 10/7/10, 7:29 PM  

I'm the mood for spook so this is great!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 10/7/10, 9:02 PM  

Just the name of the town, Arcadia Falls, sounds a bit ominous to me!

Glad you enjoyed this spooky/timely audiobook.

Carrie K. 10/7/10, 11:01 PM  

I have the audio of this stored on my computer to listen to very soon- glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Stacy at The Novel Life 10/8/10, 9:42 AM  

wasn't this a fantastic book?!? I really like carol goodman! I've read 3 of her books now and want to read all of them...just have other book commitments to get to first. Glad you enjoyed the audio version! I'm really becoming addicted to audio books too! awesome for those dog walks/runs!

Mystica 10/8/10, 11:52 AM  

A new one for me too.

Heather 10/8/10, 8:08 PM  

this sounds so good. Will check fort the audio. Thanks.

Veens 10/9/10, 9:36 AM  

I am one of those who have no issues if I guess who the bad person is earlier. If the ride is awesome, I will love the book. So, this sounds just up my alley :)

Booksnyc 10/10/10, 12:44 PM  

I have read other Carol Goodman books and although I am not usually a mystery fan, I find I really enjoy her books. Will add this one to the TBR.

S. Krishna 10/13/10, 9:18 AM  

I absolutely love Carol Goodman, so I'm really glad you enjoyed this one!!

christina 10/21/10, 5:29 PM  

This was my first Goodman read and I LOVED it. (And I"m generally not a mystery person).

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