Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Summary: In the wake of a disastrous affair with her older, married archeology professor at Stanford, brilliant Wilhelmina Cooper arrives back at the doorstep of her hippie mother-turned born-again-Christian's house in Templeton, NY, a storybook town her ancestors founded that sits on the shores of Lake Glimmerglass. Upon her arrival, a prehistoric monster surfaces in the lake bringing a feeding frenzy to the quiet town, and Willie learns she has a mystery father her mother kept secret Willie's entire life. The beautiful, broody Willie is told that the key to her biological father's identity lies somewhere in her family's history, so she buries herself in the research of her twisted family tree and finds more than she bargained for as a chorus of voices from the town's past- some sinister, all fascinating- rise up around her to tell their side of the story. In the end, dark secrets come to light, past and present day are blurred, and old mysteries are finally put to rest. A fresh, virtuoso performance that will surely place Groff among the best young writers of today.

My take: 3 stars
I think it would be fair to say that this book is as busy as its cover. It was an easy book to read, with a nice writing style, fully developed characters and a nice, tight ending.

However, it was busy. I fully relied on drawings of the family tree interspersed throughout the chapters to remember who-was-who. I thought some of the solutions to problems were a bit too tidy. On the other hand, I loved the characters, their development, relationships, surprises, complexities...almost enough for me to give this 4 stars. I am giving it 3.5 stars, and will add more by this author to my reading list.

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