Monday, June 16, 2008

If you aren't reading Carol Goodman yet

you should be! Goodman's elegant writing coupled with settings so vivid they almost become characters themselves, make her books some of the best literary mysteries out there.

Like many authors, I of course came across Goodman's work in my years as a bookseller. Like many booksellers, I was perpetually broke and spending all of my paycheck on new books with still no way of reading everything. That's why I loved advanced readers so much - it was the perfect way for a voracious reader on a budget to be exposed to new authors. When our RH rep stopped by and handed me the ARC of The Ghost Orchid I was so excited! I'd wanted to try her for a while and just hadn't splurged on the purchase yet. She didn't let me down. Ghost Orchid is a wonderfully atmospheric story about an old home with a tragic past. Today, the home serves as an artists' retreat, but the guests soon find that they seem to be reliving events of the past. It was an eerie and amazing read that led to my buying every one of Goodman's previous books.

So, last year there was no question about whether I would buy Goodman's latest, The Sonnet Lover. It's another mystery with strong gothic undertones, and this time it's set in Italy. Here's my review from

The life and identity of William Shakespeare has been a popular topic of debate among academics for quite some time. One mystery involves the identities of the two people thought to have been the subject of Shakespeare’s sonnets - one, a young man, and the other, a woman known as the Dark Lady. In Carol Goodman’s latest literary mystery, she tackles the possible identity of this Dark Lady who captivated Shakespeare’s heart. During a reception in his honor, Robin Weiss, a film student at Hudson College, falls to his death from a school balcony. Authorities are convinced it was suicide, especially following the witness accounts. Dr. Rose Asher, one of Robin’s professors, was not close enough to see what happened, but she has her doubts as to the cause of Robin’s death. Only moments before his fall, Robin passed Rose an envelope containing a sonnet and a letter in which he requested that Rose accompany him to Italy. Robin claimed to have discovered a cache of poems hidden at La Civetta – a villa owned by one of the patrons of the college. Rose is well aware of the rumors regarding the villa. A sixteenth century poet named Ginevra de Laura was said to have been the mistress of La Civetta. According to the stories, Ginevra de Laura was cast out of the home upon the death of her lover. Although she was said to have been a great poet, none of her work has ever been discovered. Other rumors purport to link Ginevra to Shakespeare himself. Determined to discover the truth, Rose travels to Italy where she confronts her own past as well as the ghosts of La Civetta. Goodman’s work is truly amazing. Her lyrical prose and luscious settings make each novel a true delight for readers.

So, if you're looking for a fantastic and intriguing read this summer, run out and pick up any one of Goodman's books, you won't be disappointed! And, this fall look for her latest The Night Villa.


Cheryl said...

Ooh sounds good. I will have to check this author out

Icedream said...

I have never read a Carol Goodman book but your review has really gotten me excited to try. I love rich settings, especially those with historical themes so The Sonnet Lover sounds fantastic. I want to read The Ghost Orchid too, I will be searching my library soon!

Karen Harrington said...

Okay. There goes my book budget, too. Goodman sounds wonderful and I'd not heard of her. Thanks!