Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

Hired to teach at a secluded, artsy boarding school, a young widow discovers that mystery and murder roil below the bucolic surface.

I wanted to adore Arcadia Falls, but I only got about 80% there.

I loved the atmosphere that Carol Goodman created for Arcadia, the creepy boarding school in the middle of the woods in upstate New York. The backstory was most excellent, starting with a 1920s artists’ colony founded by two lesbians, one deeply conflicted and not entirely committed to Team Pink. For the most part, I was totally sucked into the story, eagerly turning the pages to get to the next scene.

However, the few missteps that I ignored at the beginning started to pile up so that by the end I had lost faith in the story’s ability to give me a transcendent experience. A few cardboard characters here, some overly expository dialogue there, added finally with an unfortunately predictable endgame led ultimately to disappointment for me.

Many thanks to Ballantine Books for the review copy.

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