William Morrow | March 2020 | 320 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Set at a prestigious boarding school on the Maine coast, Carol Goodman's latest release depicts a woman's carefully hidden past and how a death would unleash all the secrets and lies amid the peaceful community.
Tess is a teacher and the wife to a respected professor and both of them teach at the same boarding school -- Haywood. She has a 17-year-old son, Rudy, whom she worries a lot due to his erratic moods partly due to his complicated childhood. There's been some history about Tess and Rudy when they were younger so I'll leave it to the readers to find out themselves, considering they play a crucial part to the story.
Tess's constant worrying and her protectiveness about Rudy becomes a nightmare come true when she receives Rudy's text one early morning, asking for help. When Tess picks him up she finds him drenched and is in a dark mood. Thinking he had a fight with his girlfriend, Lila, Tess didn't ask but she does notice a dark stain on his sweatshirt. Hours later, Tess receives a call from the school that Lila has been found dead at the coast. It may be an accidental death, but speculations point to Rudy and even Tess's husband, since Tess isn't sure if he was in their house as he claims to be during those hours.
As suspense mounts, the story is also infused with an old folklore surrounding the drowning of the Abenaki sisters and how their stones could be seen lined from the peninsula to the island. The history of Haywood (formerly a school for wayward girls) and the mysteries of the death of a few school girls back then further add intrigue to the story. Tess was an interesting character, but she came across as a helicopter parent and one couldn't help but to wonder if her overly protectiveness meant more harm than love towards Rudy but that'll be another topic for discussion. Suspense-wise, it was a grabbing one as each turning point had me wondering about the suspect and where the direction would go. All in all, it was an enjoyable read.
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