ABOUT THE BOOK:
A haunting novel from the author of The Weight of Blood about a young woman’s return to her childhood home—and her encounter with the memories and family secrets it holds
Arden’s return to the town of Keokuk—and the now infamous house that bears her name—is greeted with curiosity. But she is welcomed back by her old neighbor and first love, Ben Ferris, whose family, she slowly learns, knows more about the Arrowoods’ secrets and their small, closed community than she ever realized. With the help of a young amateur investigator, Arden tracks down the man who was the prime suspect in the kidnapping. But the house and the surrounding town hold their secrets close—and the truth, when Arden finds it, is more devastating than she ever could have imagined.
Arrowood is a powerful and resonant novel that examines the ways in which our lives are shaped by memory. As with her award-winning debut novel, The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh has written a thrilling novel in which nothing is as it seems, and in which our longing for the past can take hold of the present in insidious and haunting ways.
LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Arrowood lives up to the hype as a good old fashioned Gothic mystery!
After Arden’s ne’er
When Arden was a child, her twin sisters disappeared and were never found, dead or alive. Now, just as she is returning home, a mystery buff, with his own troubled history
As promised, this story has all the classic elements a good Gothic tale should possess. A big, creepy house, dark family secrets, sinister, untrustworthy characters, and layers of psychological terror and suspense. I love, love.
My only complaint is the brevity of the book, not only because I didn’t want it to end, but because it did feel rushed at times, which is a no-no in the Gothic genre, which normally employees a slower pace in order to add those delicious atmospheric layers.
So as not to dwell too much on the Gothic elements, this novel also explores the way the mind can play tricks on us, how we can be so sure our memories are right, when in truth we have selective memories, with our hearts sending signals to our brains to protect us from pain, from remembering more than we can digest or cope with. While Arden has very vivid, detailed memories of the day her sisters disappeared, her version of events is challenged, causing her to rethink the past, to dig deeper into her psyche and attempt to keep her mind open to other possibilities. What she finds buried deep in her subconscious mind may be the key to solving the mystery of her sister’s disappearance.
The past collides with the present, revealing the darkest parts of humanity, creating a thick, heavy atmosphere of suspense that had me held me spellbound with an ever increasing sense of foreboding, building the suspense to a fever pitch, whacking with an emotional wallop you will never see coming!
Yep, this is my kind of book. It’s possible the edge and atmosphere may be lost on those unfamiliar with the Gothic tones of the book, but for those who ‘get’ it, this one is a real gem!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura McHugh's debut novel, The Weight of Blood, won an International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel and a Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel: Literary Suspense. The Weight of Blood was named a best book of the year by BookPage, the Kansas City Star, and the Sunday Times (UK), and was a GoodReads Choice Awards nominee for Best Mystery and Best Debut. Her second novel, Arrowood, will be published in 2016.
McHugh lives in Missouri with her husband and children.