BOOK REVIEW | Arrowood by Laura McHugh


4/5 stars

From the publisher:
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.

My thoughts:
Arrowood is a classic mystery. We follow Arden as she works to discover the truth behind her sister’s disappearance many years ago. As the sole witness to the crime, and the person who turned her back on the little girls for a moment too long, she is seeking both peace and forgiveness for herself.

There is something soothing about Laura McHugh’s writing that really works for me. Her prose is simple, with no fancy tricks, but somehow so compelling. Much like the Weight of Blood, Arrowood is an engaging mystery that isn’t meant to shock you with extreme twists or acts of violence. Arrowood reads smoothly with consistently building tension, and the startling truth behind the crime is terrible, sad, and maddening.

I was almost nervous to read this book because I loved the Weight of Blood so much! McHugh delivered again, and I am eagerly awaiting her next release.

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