I would place this book squarely in the realm of 'chick lit' - can't see my husband or a guy curling up with it. That being said, I loved it. Carol Goodman writes pretty formulaic plot lines ... an intelligent female professional on a quest to learn something about a topic that she is studying, writing about, researching for career, whatever becomes embroiled in a series of mysterious events that ultimately become dangerous. Her plots have elements of psychological drama within her characters, strong connections to art history, classic literature, mythology, and folklore, archaeology, and architecture. She writes a good descriptive scene that can be heavily atmospheric with mystery, foreshadowing and 'creepiness'. She moves the plot right along in her novels and that's my only criticism. Sometimes her characters have coincidental discoveries that are just too pat ... there is no dilly-dallying around or agonizing to find information that will help them solve mysterious puzzles or gain hidden clues.
Enough on style, though. Arcadia Falls is a good page-turner. Quick plot synopsis - young widow with bratty teen-aged daughter takes a job at a small arts-oriented private boarding school in southern New York state. Her PhD has been side-lined by the financial mess that her husband left when he dropped dead. She must settle the finances and begin working, hence her English degree affords her a job teaching English to young boarding school students. Her PhD thesis has gotten her the job, as the school was begun as an artist colony by the subjects of her thesis - two female artists of the Arts and Crafts era of American art.
Moving into their 'love nest' on the campus of the school, she begins to look closely at their relationship and the mysterious death of one of the women. Meanwhile, her daughter becomes involved with a circle of students that, on first impression, seem like fine upstanding kids ... but wait.
Like I said ... chick lit, but so satisfying. A nice break from weightier novels, memoirs, and young adult reads that have occupied me of late. Carol Goodman doesn't have to change her formula. I'll always buy her newest story and save it for when I need a fun, easy read. I've had this title on my bookshelf for several months ... this snowy weekend is just the perfect time to read it because it was in just such a snowstorm that one of the characters in this book .....