Monday, May 2, 2011

Favorite Reads Giveaway: The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

I cannot believe it's already been six weeks since I started the Favorite Reads Giveaway series, but this week will mark the sixth book I've given away. The winner of last week's giveaway for Joyce Carol Oates' novel We Were the Mulvaneys is Kristin Staley. Congratulations! The book will be mailed to you this week.

The Favorite Read Giveaway for this week is Carol Goodman's The Lake of Dead Languages. This is Goodman's first novel, and also the first novel of hers that I read (although by the time I read it, others had been published). Goodman is one of my favorite writers because her fiction emcompasses so many things that I love. She writes suspenseful thrillers/ mysteries for one thing. Mysteries are among my favorite books. But rather than writing your everyday, rote mystery, Goodman takes it a step further. Her novels are usually placed in academic settings (private boarding schools, universities), and the plot always involves some type of fine art.

Goodman often includes art in her novels, but she also sometimes focuses on a main character who is a writer or a professor. In The Lake of Dead Languages, she sets the novel at an all-girls private school in upstate New York. Teacher Jane Hudson attempts to solve a mystery that is decades old, dating back to her own student days at the school where she now works. A synopsis from the author's website:
"Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson fled the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. The week before her graduation, in that sheltered wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden in the depths of Heart Lake for more than two decades. Now Jane has returned to the school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories. And young, troubled girls are beginning to die again--as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface..."
Sounds spooky, doesn't it? And it is. Goodman is a master at haunted suspense, mixed with a healthy dose of academia. While I have enjoyed almost all of her novels (most recently I reviewed Arcadia Falls), I think The Lake of Dead Languages is probably my favorite.

Want to read more? Win a copy by entering the giveaway contest this week:

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