Groff's tale of a young woman searching for her true identity through old letters, journals and articles is a vivid portrait of the past and present, but Nicole Roberts's delivery is far too stolid and contrived to bring the material to life. As if reading a teleprompter, Roberts sounds more like a news anchor, slightly disconnected from the material and doing her best to make it sound important. At times she races through the story at breakneck pace, at others she reads painfully slow as if reading to a group of uninterested first graders. While her pitch is clear, her tone is almost plastic and fake, making the story so dreary and unimaginative that most listeners will be immediately turned off. Simultaneous release with the Hyperion hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 26, 2007). (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Monsters of Templetonby Lauren Groff
"The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass." So begins The Monsters of Templeton, a novel spanning two centuries: part a contemporary story of a girl's search for her father, part historical novel, and part ghost story, this spellbinding novel is at its core a tale of how/em>… See more details below
"The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass." So begins The Monsters of Templeton, a novel spanning two centuries: part a contemporary story of a girl's search for her father, part historical novel, and part ghost story, this spellbinding novel is at its core a tale of how one town holds the secrets of a family. In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in Templeton, New York, where her hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mom, Vi, still lives. Willie expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for generations, but the monster's death changes the fabric of the quiet, picture-perfect town her ancestors founded. Even further, Willie learns that the story her mother had always told her about her father has all been a lie: he wasn't the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town. As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep. Through letters, editorials, and journal entries, the dead rise up to tell their sides of the story as dark mysteries come to light, past and present blur, old stories are finally put to rest, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed.
Twenty-eight-year-old Willie Upton has just detonated a promising academic career by her scandalous affair with a married professor. Now pregnant, she slinks home to Templeton, NY, just as an enormous dead monster is pulled from nearby Lake Glimmerglass. There, Willie's mother, a former hippie, admits she has always lied about Willie's paternity and discloses this one clue about her biological father's actual identity: he is a descendant of Judge Marmaduke Temple and currently a prominent member of Templeton. Sound familiar? Pay attention: James Fenimore Cooper is from Cooperstown, NY (as is Groff) and used it as the model for Templeton, NY, setting of The Pioneers. Yes, Groff has daringly used Cooper's Templeton and its inhabitants as the launching pad for Willie's search for her father. Willie takes her mother's clue and pulls on it, following endless strands to get her answer, all the while tormented with indecision about her own pregnancy. Liberally peppered with old photographs, diary entries, letters, and a family tree constantly in need of revision as Willie eliminates one possibility after another spanning more than two centuries of shocking Templeton history, this is an irresistible adventure. Highly recommended.
Beth E. Andersen
THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON, a fascinating first novel by Lauren Groff, is a book with joy in its marrowfabulous."San Francisco Chronicle"
Lauren Groff's debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is everything a reader might have expected from this gifted writer, and more. Willie is a funny, sexy, plucky heroine; her Moma once-upon-a-time hippie who's gone Baptist but not squareis a hoot; her family history is a funhouse through which Willie must wander in order to find her father. Best of all is Templeton, a town that will remind readers of Ray Bradbury at his most magical. There are monsters, murders, bastards, and ne'er-do-wells almost without number. I was sorry to see this rich and wonderful novel come to an end, and there is no higher success than that."Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly"
Lauren Groff hits a home run in her first at-bat, with a novel that is intriguingly constructed and compulsively readable."Denver Post
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