“An atmospheric thriller, but a smart one with a racing story line.”
—New York magazine
“GOTHIC MYSTERY . . . Seduction enchants with its fairy-tale motif and sensuous atmospherics.”
—People (Page-turner of the week)
“TRULY A SEDUCTIVE READING EXPERIENCE . . . Grabs the reader on the first page and holds on for the entire journey.”
—The Denver Post
“LIKE THE BEST MYSTERIES, The Seduction of Water offers puzzles and twists galore but still tells a human story.”
—The Boston Globe
“[A] TAUT THRILLER . . .ANOTHER HOME RUN FOR CAROL GOODMAN . . .
The Seduction of Water combines folk tales and gothic horror with a thoroughly modern story. . . . Though this is the kind of book you’ll stay up late reading, don’t go so fast you miss the beautiful lyrical writing.”
—Burlington Free Press
“The new novel more than redeems the promise of the first with a many-layered, subtle piece of fiction. . . . The reader steps into the story almost as one would step into a conversation with a good friend.”
—The Denver Post
“Goodman’s crisp, graceful writing keeps the reader engaged through the zigzagging plot. Lively and funny, Iris makes for a likable narrator. Throughout, the reader experiences pleasurable tension between wanting to find out what happens next and trying to savor the descriptions of place and people. . . . Fashioning one story from many, Goodman gives readers both an entertaining mystery and an intriguing glimpse into why we turn to stories in the first place.”
—The Boston Globe
“Gripping . . . Entrancing . . . A completely involving mystery cleverly tied in with several fairy tales.”
“VERY INTRIGUING AND SATISFYING.”
—Charleston Post & Courier
“Alluring . . . [An] atmospheric page-turner. . . Combining dark fairy tale themes with a modern tale of suspense, Goodman succeeds in crafting another captivating mystery.”
“With this exciting second book . . . Goodman establishes herself as a writer to watch in the field of literary thrillers.”
—Library Journal(starred review)
“Mystery, folklore, a thoroughly modern romance, a strong sense of place, and a winning combination of erudition and accessibility make this second novel a treat.”
“Goodman successfully plays along with the fairy-take formula but translates it so successfully that the world she creates—and the people who inhabit it—are entirely believable.”
—Book Street USA
An aspiring writer delves into the long-buried mystery of her novelist mother's death in this silky-smooth novel by the author of The Lake of Dead Languages. Water, from Iris Greenfeder's perspective, is the Hudson River. She has a view of it from her five-story walkup in New York City's westernmost Greenwich Village, and it shimmers in the distance from the Equinox, the Catskills hotel where Iris grew up. Her father, Ben, was the manager at the Equinox; her mother, Kay, a former maid, wrote two fantastical novels there. Driving the plot is the not-so-simple question: did Kay write a third novel, and is it hidden at the Equinox? Back at the hotel for the summer, Iris plans to write the story of her mother's life and search for the missing manuscript. As she attempts to solve the mystery, she is abetted and thwarted by a large cast of characters, including her mother's famous literary agent, the mega-millionaire owner of a hotel chain, the daughter of a famous suicidal poet, an all-knowing gardener and the delicious Aidan Barry, whom Iris meets while he's still in prison. The novel's first-person, present-tense narrative fosters intimacy, though it somewhat undercuts suspense. More effective is the use Goodman makes of the Irish myth of the selkie-half-seal, half-woman-as told by Iris's mother. Mystery, folklore, a thoroughly modern romance, a strong sense of place and a winning combination of erudition and accessibility make this second novel a treat. (Jan.) Forecast: This novel is tailor-made for book clubs, as Ballantine is well aware. It will later be issued as a Ballantine Reader's Circle trade paperback, and it should build handily on the success of The Lake of Dead Languages. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The Seduction of Water is the story of Iris Greenfeder, a teacher who would rather be a writer, and the secrets her mother kept and her search for the truth about her mother's death. Iris grew up at the Hotel Equinox in the Catskills, where her father, Ben, was manager for 50 years, and her mother, Katherine, was the chambermaid. While at the hotel, Katherine wrote two fantasy novels of a planned trilogy, and it was rumored that there was a manuscript for the third. When Iris was ten, her mother went to attend a conference in a hotel in Manhattan and never returned; she was found dead the following day. As Iris attempts to solve these mysteries, she is assisted and disillusioned by many multidimensional characters who weave in and out of the story. The novel's first-person, present-tense vehicle builds intimacy that grabs the listener immediately. The program is packed with tension, lively in atmosphere, and rich in plot. Read by Christine Marshall, it is a good romantic suspense-not highly literary but captivating and pleasing. Recommended for public libraries.-Carol Stern, Glen Cove Lib., NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
There's enough plot for two or three Robert Ludlum potboilers in this agreeably overstuffed second from Goodman (The Lake of Dead Languages, Jan. 2002).
Add to that a heroine who's both a savvy writer and teacher and the gothic-thriller type who keeps walking into situations guaranteed to compromise or endanger her. Actually, it's understandable that Iris Greenfeder heads for the moribund Hotel Equinox in the Catskills-where her late mother (pseudonymous fantasy author K.R. La Fleur) had worked-since the familiar Irish folktale, about a "seal woman" tricked into ill-fated marriage with a mortal, that Iris's mother had loved and written about seems to hold clues to why the reclusive author died in a fire at another hotel, accompanied by the man for whom she had left her husband. Sound complicated? That's only the beginning of the intrigue, which also involves Iris's adult ex-convict student (and eventual lover) Aidan Barry; powerful hotelier Harry Kron, whose reasons for resurrecting the Equinox may be even more sinister then they seem; a jewel theft many years ago, which echoes the fate of the "net of tears" woven by the aforementioned seal woman; and an elderly gardener, a secretive literary agent, a vengeful female editor, among other primary and secondary suspects. It's fun in the early going, as Goodman makes suggestive connections between the matter of classic fairy tales and her mother's story. Then the tale flattens out midway, as hitherto-concealed motives and interrelationships need clarifying. Goodman wins us back, though, with a Chinese-box climax and dénouement in which Iris risks her life, learns how her mother's novels had fictionalized her own family history and unsharedsecrets-and also how she herself isn't the woman she thinks she is.
Much too long, and tending to cliché, but a pretty good romantic suspenser nonetheless.