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A haunting novel from the author of The Weight of Blood about a young woman s return to her childhood home and her encounter with the memories and family secrets it holds
Arrowood is the most ornate and grand of the historical houses that line the Mississippi River in southern Iowa. But the house has a mystery it has never revealed: It s where Arden Arrowood s younger twin sisters vanished on her watch twenty years ago never to be seen again. After the twins disappearance, Arden s parents divorced and the Arrowoods left the big house that had been in their family for generations. And Arden s own life has fallen apart: She can t finish her master s thesis, and a misguided love affair has ended badly. She has held on to the hope that her sisters are still alive, and it seems she can t move forward until she finds them. When her father dies and she inherits Arrowood, Arden returns to her childhood home determined to discover what really happened to her sisters that traumatic summer.
Arden s return to the town of Keokuk and the now infamous house that bears her name is greeted with curiosity. But she is welcomed back by her old neighbor and first love, Ben Ferris, whose family, she slowly learns, knows more about the Arrowoods secrets and their small, closed community than she ever realized. With the help of a young amateur investigator, Arden tracks down the man who was the prime suspect in the kidnapping. But the house and the surrounding town hold their secrets close and the truth, when Arden finds it, is more devastating than she ever could have imagined.
Arrowood is a powerful and resonant novel that examines the ways in which our lives are shaped by memory. As with her award-winning debut novel, The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh has written a thrilling novel in which nothing is as it seems, and in which our longing for the past can take hold of the present in insidious and haunting ways.
Praise for Arrowood
Superb and subtle psychological suspense, and a compelling mystery, too . . . I thought I knew who did it, but I was wrong four times. Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novels
An eloquently eerie tale. Booklist
Poignant . . . lyrical. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A chilling, twisting tale of family, memory, and home . . . This engaging and thrilling tale about a young woman s homecoming, the vagaries of memory, and the impact of tragedy on both a town and a family is a terrific choice for Laura Lippman and Sue Grafton readers. Library Journal (starred review)
Part mystery, part drama, Arrowood offers a little of everything to readers in search of a satisfying story. St. Louis Dispatch
A pitch-perfect example of Southern Gothic The Times
I cannot praise this book enough. It draws you in to the point you felt like someone you loved had disappeared and you re haunted by it. Laura McHugh did a brilliant job of showing us that our lives can be shaped by our memories and that those are not always as accurate as we would believe. San Francisco Book Review"
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-04-11
- Reviewer: Staff
A failed graduate student’s return to the family mansion she inherited from her grandfather touches off a maelstrom of emotion, regret, and memories in McHugh’s poignant second novel, which features just a smidgeon of the supernatural. Arden Arrowood’s two-year-old twin sisters, Violet and Tabitha, were kidnapped from their front yard in the small town of Keokuk, Iowa, bordering the Mississippi River. Charged with watching the twins while their pill-addicted mother was sleeping, eight-year-old Arden stepped away for a minute before the toddlers went missing; all she remembers is chasing a gold car speeding away. The twins were never found and their disappearance fractured the family in ways Arden is just beginning to acknowledge. Settling into the mansion 20 years later, Arden deals with a floodgate of childhood memories as she inches toward the truth while pursued by Josh Kyle, who wants to write about the vanished twins on his website, Midwest Mysteries. Lyrical prose and in-depth character studies examine the reliability of memory, punctuated by believable suspense and aided by a careful look at a small town. (July)