Modern Midwestern Gothic

Arrowood by Laura McHugh
3 words: Midwestern Gothic, somberly suspenseful, uneasy
I’ve been hitting the “uneasy” books pretty hard lately.

Arrowood offered just the right amount of quiet suspense and creepiness to give the thing some good intensity and page-turner-ness, but not so much that I wanted to flee the book. (I’m a delicate flower when it comes to suspense novels. I was able to read this one before sleep, and that means it was suspenseful but not terrifying.)
Add to the mix that this sucker’s set in Iowa, and I was all super happy to be reading it.
The situation in the book is this: Arden, a twentysomething grad school dropout, returns to her childhood home when she inherits it. And it ain’t no ordinary childhood home. She grew up in a mansion along the Mississippi, and it’s haunted by the memory of her twin toddler sisters, who were kidnapped and never reappeared.
Not actually haunted, as in “ghosts,” but there are eerie reminders of the missing little girls. 
And the house makes scary sounds and seeps water in ways that are seriously frightening.
And there’s a caretaker who seems a little creepy, and a murder researcher who also seems a little creepy, and poor Arden is pretty much on her own in the world.
It felt lonely and disquieting, this book.
Darn good ambiance, guys!
And there were lots of ways it could have played out, but the way it went… The ending was satisfying and believable.
If you’re into Gillian Flynn, give this book a whirl.

Anyone else read a good neo-Gothic novel lately?

4 thoughts on “Modern Midwestern Gothic

  1. I love books that are about characters who inherit houses…why is that? Maybe because deep down I wish someone would leave me a house, haunted or not. 🙂 This one sounds good.

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