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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Laurie R. King knows how to ratchet up the tension, and in Folly she takes psychological suspense to an all-time high, as a 52-year-old woman with a history of paranoia and mental problems secludes herself on an island to single-handedly rebuild her great-uncle's house and confront the demons that have plagued her.
Master woodcarver Rae Newborn had always felt close to her great-uncle, Desmond Newborn, even though she never met him. Perhaps it was the result of their shared battle with mental problems, for it's been rumored that Desmond was never quite right once he returned from the front in World War I. Rae has never been quite right either, plagued by bouts of melancholia and paranoia that have disrupted her life and alienated her from her eldest daughter. Her mental state wasn't helped any by the loss of her second husband and their young daughter, both of whom died in a tragic car accident a year earlier. Now Rae's only meaningful relationship is with her teenage granddaughter, Petra. But before Rae can spend time with Petra, she must convince her daughter and son-in-law that she's mentally stable.
Hoping to get a grip on her paranoia, Rae makes the decision to isolate herself on a small family-owned island in the Pacific Northwest where there is no phone, electricity, or plumbing. There lie the charred remains of Desmond's Folly, the odd-looking house Rae's uncle built years ago, only to have it burn to the ground soon after. Rae decides to camp out while working on the house, hoping that the solitude and hard work will help her recover her equilibrium. But as time goes by and the house begins to take shape, Rae finds that she still can't escape the watchful eyes that have dogged her for years, especially when certain events lead her to wonder if they are real. With her life and her sanity on the line, Rae struggles to determine which of her fears are justified and which ones are born out of the paranoid imaginings of her diseased mind.
King depicts the frightening uncertainty of mental illness quite chillingly, blurring the boundaries between the real and the imagined. What's more, she helps her readers relate to Rae's paranoia and sense of imbalance by making significant events seem utterly mundane and then revealing the shocking truth in bits and pieces. Folly shows a skilled master of suspense at her sophisticated best. (Beth Amos)