So this was going to be a simple book review of one of Carol Goodman’s books, but she is my absolute favourite author ever, and I simply could not decide which one of her books to review! I’ve read all that have been published so far, and although my favourite is probably Lake of Dead Languages, I’ve actually done a review on that before (although not a very good one!). I’ll give you a couple of reviews here, and recommend the others below with a short tag line.
Arcadia Falls could possibly be my second favourite however. It has a similar atmosphere to Lake of Dead Languages and is set in a similar environment of a secluded boarding school, although this one is for talented artists of all kinds (music, literature etc as well as art itself). It is another very hard to describe book without giving away too much, but it follows the path of Meg Rosenthal who arrives to teach at the school after her husband’s death with her teenage daughter Sally. She is researching the lives of the two school founders, Lily Beecher and Vera Eberhardt, and it is this research that throws up suspicion and mystery, of deaths, births and murders. It is another complicated mystery, but there are clues throughout that once you’ve finished it you want to read it again so you can spot them for yourself! It’s a very engaging story, with Carol Goodman’s usual twists and turns in the plot making it a satisfying read.
The Night Villa is another enthralling half-mystery by Carol Goodman, but I included this review because it has a different setting and feel to it than many of the other books. While Carol generally tends to set her stories over two different periods of time, for example, in Arcadia Falls, Meg is finding out about what happened around 50 years previously with the school’s founders, and their story is told alongside the present, they are usually a mystery to be solved in the near past. This is a little different, the mystery to be solved happened over a couple of thousand of years ago, in classical Roman times at the time of the eruption of Pompeii. Hence why it appeals to me, that’s my favourite era! Sophie travels to the site of a villa, hoping to uncover scrolls written by Phineas about a slave-girl Iusta and thought to be buried under the layers of hardened ash and lava. What she uncovers though is completely unexpected, and she ends up wondering who she can trust.
I would definitely recommend any of Carol Goodman’s books, I even loved my least favourite one which was The Drowning Tree. Another absolute favourite has got to be Seduction of the Water, set in a fairly secluded hotel, again uncovering a past mystery. Also The Ghost Orchid, set in an (again!) secluded artists’ retreat, is brilliant, also covering the supernatural with seances and possibly pretended magic. Finally The Sonnet Lover is similar to The Night Villa, with the underlying mystery set in the more distant past, and surrounding Shakespeare’s sonnets.
What I love most about Carol Goodman’s books are the allusions to so much classical literature, with poetry like Ovid’s Metamorphoses entwined in her stories, and even Shakespeare. The mysteries are enthralling and cleverly balanced with the past and present.
So basically I would recommend any books by her to you, most especially The Lake of Dead Languages. Let me know if you’ve read any of her books and what you think of them =)