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
Why oh why oh why do female readers resort to high pitched, squeaky voices when recording dialogue? Ms. Taylor makes the female characters sound like chipmunks, each one higher and squeakier than the next.
The reader also sounds like she is trying deliberately to smile while reading, (maybe to attempt to force more energy into her reading?). The result is the whole book sounds like it is being read by a valley girl on helium.
I eventually stopped listening and got the book from the library to finish it. The story was predictable, but pretty well written. It was a pleasant read for a relaxing weekend once I got the squeaky voices out of my head.
I have enjoyed all of Carol Goodman's other audiobooks, so I was really looking forward to this last one. Unfortunately, this particular story was not as compelling as her others and ultimately fell flat for me. Within the first hour of listening I had pegged one of the big twists, and by the end- when there were twists on twists and so on- the story was just too convoluted. And the archetypes and themes of the Changeling Girl fairy tale are so heavy handed it's hard not to think Goodman thinks her readers stupid. I've always loved the dark, Grimm-esque storytelling of Goodman, but Arcadia Falls seemed more like a book written for the sake of selling books. Doesn't compare to the Seduction of Water!
Part of my dissatisfaction (a hefty part) is due to the narrator, Jen Taylor. Her voices for most of the characters were ridiculous and distracting, and her overall narrative flow was awkward and overdone. I actually disliked characters solely because of their voices, regardless of the role they played in the book. I cannot imagine how hard it is to narrate a book with more than a few characters, but I was disappointed they didn't choose someone with more versatility for this character-heavy book.
Hi, I am a voracious reader with a wide range of tastes.
I was thinking this book was more of a mystery book but turned out to be more romance. Great characters which keep you listening. The plot is not as transparent as you may think.
I have enjoyed Goodman's work, especially The Seduction of Water, but Arcadia Falls is a disappointment. It has a formulaic feel, as though Goodman has borrowed elements from her earlier works and patched them together for the sake of producing what is essentially a romance novel. The characters are one-dimensional and the plot contrived--predictable except for the insertion of outlandish plot twists. Goodman is capable of much better.
The narrator - I coupldn't enjoy the story.
Yes, as long as it's read by someone else.
She didn't sound real. Very much over-acted.
The story was alright but I couldn't finish it because the narrator was so obnoxious.
Just could not get into the story
Interesting using an old fairytale but I did not feel connected to the story.
First off, I have become hooked on Carol Goodman's prose. Her ability to share a combined feeling and sense of tangible words together is rare in an author. To feel as if you are THERE watching and hearing, seeing at the same time... Carol's books are like this. I liked this one for all its teenage themed angst and drama... but I have to say, her books like The Sonnet Lover are a must read. I did like this one, as most all of her fans would ... because we love her work. But, in my personal opinion, based on what I prefer to listen to, this was not her best. However, you'll miss her, and always wonder what you missed... so download it and listen anyway! Besides, Jen does SUCH a great job with her characters!!
In LOVE w/audiobooks. I find myself counting down the days untill my credits arrive. Married w/kids. Dental Hygienist
I was tired of reading the books full of action, suspense, killing. I seemed to be amped up when I was done listening. Yes this book does have mistery and killing but it is a toned down version. This book is just what the dr. ordered. Nice calm relaxing book to wind down to. I could finally relax but still be interested when listening.
I thought this went on too long. The only saving grace for me was that I thought it was narrated extremely well by Jen Taylor.
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