Life isn’t always a fairy tale: Just ask Meg Rosenthal, a wife and mother who's one dissertation shy of a Masters degree when she finds out the hard way that not every woman gets the happy ending that childhood stories promise. Newly widowed, she leaves a wealthy suburb of Long island to be a professor at a private boarding school in upstate New York with her teenage daughter Sally in tow. While author Carol Goodman connects Meg’s story with that of the school’s mysterious past, narrator Jen Taylor shifts back and forth effortlessly between Meg’s first-person take on modern-day life at the school including the baffling death of a student, the secretive headmistress, and Meg’s efforts to connect with Sally and her reading of a diary written 50 years earlier. in a novel where almost every character is female, Taylor gives each her own distinct personality and voice, from the creaky rasp of an aging faculty member to the breathy tone of a young woman in love.
The new teaching position is more than just a job for Meg. The school’s founders, Vera Beecher and Lily Eberhardt, were two progressive female artists whose children's fairy tale, The Changeling, has been the subject of Meg's professional studies for more than a decade and who, upon their deaths, left behind a generation of unanswered questions. When Meg stumbles onto Lily’s long-lost journal, she begins to slowly untangle the lives and loves of both women, delving into the rumors and conflicts that have plagued the school and the surrounding town of Arcadia Falls for decades. While the characters in both eras deal with similar issues (children, parents, careers, lovers, societal pressures), Taylor’s smooth tone enhances both the eeriest moments and the calmest and though the narration is a little overeager during some of the more emotional moments, that doesn’t take away from the revelations that fill the second half of the book or from a final-hour twist that could give Meg the happily-ever-after she never expected. Blythe Copeland
In debt after her husband's unexpected death, Meg Rosenthal secures a job as a teacher at an upstate New York boarding school. Leaving suburban Long Island, Meg and her teenage daughter, Sally, embark on a new life in Arcadia Falls, a beautiful but isolated small town and the inspiration for a number of magically eerie fairy tales.
With a hurtful rift growing between her and her daughter, Meg is hopeful that the change of scene will provide them with a fresh start. But it soon becomes clear to Meg that this isolated community hides deeply rooted and deadly secrets. And after a mysterious death, Arcadia Falls begins to reveal a disturbing dark side.
©2010 Carol Goodman (P)2010 BBC Audio
I did not read the print version, however the audio book was very well done.
I loved all the characters, they were all so vivid and well written.
She did a great job with all
I found the entire book mesmerizing! Loved every moment start to finish the character development was incredible, but ever more so the setting was so well written I just want to love in this book.
Enjoyable But Predictable
I love the story within a story. Made me want a copy of "The Changeling" for my own personal collection.
Willy Wonka of it
First off, some reviewers have noted the annoying teenager and the voices used. I'll have to concur here. The book could have existed without the daughter, and it's possible it could have been better without her. The voice used for her (and most other characters) was definitely annoying.
That said, it doesn't get in the way of the tale which grips you almost from the beginning. A few chapters in, and it got easy to ignore the nasal and irritating tones the narrator used for various characters. I deducted a star for this.
On to the story: A widow and her daughter move to an art boarding school in upstate NY to restart their lives. The school and town have a rich history which is slowly revealed through characters, stories and a long-lost diary.
The "mystery" was great in my opinion and kept you guessing. The story had an eerie supernatural feel to it that only added to the charm for me.
They say a story is about the journey and not the destination. Often, that's true, and I can live with it. I didn't have to this time around. Not only was the journey thoroughly enjoyable, but the destination was as well.
The story wraps in such a way to not only bring closure to the adventure, but to leave you replaying major plot points in your head to see how it all "fit". It DOES "fit" too, bringing everything full circle and leaving you wholly content.
Absolutely recommend it.
Arcadia Falls contains a everything from confused teen and troubled adults to mental patients and homicidal tendencies. Death and abandonment cast a consistent shadow throughout the story. The theme of fairy tales that is introduced at the beginning is surprisingly well developed throughout the book as well. I found myself surprised at how many characters there were and how much details was given for each. There were a few times when the story got long in the explanation of things but no more than is normal. Taylor did a reasonably good job separating characters through voice changes as well. I would not claim the book to be a master piece by any means, but I would say it makes an interesting listen on a long lonely day.
Loved the characters at the school I am very familiar with the area so I had an easy time picturing the scene.
The beginning was the best the drive to the school and the finding of the journal.
I thought the readers voice was very good and emphasizes at the right place.
The reading of the journal and the trip to the school for unwed mothers and the time spent there was moving.
The entire time I read this book I was picturing myself and my daughter facing the world. Sometimes when you loose everything and run away, you are following fates plan to bring you TO a place you need to be.
This book was predictable, yes, but in a warm way. The story was written well, and the characters are real feeling. But that could be me, because as I said it has an air of similarity to my own life with my daughter.
I really enjoyed this story about moms, daughters and careers and family. I really got into the characters and enjoyed all the twists and turns. Great read.
I thought she did a very good job with the voices and good emotional tone.
I've read and enjoyed previous books by Carol Goodman, and I will try her again. This one just wasn't for me. Fairy tales and goblins in the night just aren't my thing. I was bored a third of the way through the story.
I loved the intricate story Goodman weaves within the pages of Arcadia Falls. Goodman skillfully combines tales of old with present day characters and stories. The vivid description of Arcadia Falls makes you feel as though you are there with the characters the author has conjured.
Lake of Dead Languages
She read at a good pace and with clear diction.
Yes, it was a thoughtful story with great characters and an interesting plot.
How it went back in time and wove the current lives with the past.
She was very believable and did a great job changing character.
The plight of the mother trying to keep her teenage daughter happy and safe and free of the mistakes she made when she was young.
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