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4.2 out of 5 stars20
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 27 March 2010
This one reeled me in, I must say, by the promise of a mustery and a lake monster... And allthough the lake monster part was alittle dissapointing, the story is not...

A great tale about discovering your past, your ancestors and all their dirty little secrets...

Everyone that grew up in a small town knows how extremely important is is to get away, to get out... yet many return in adult life remembering as a bliss to live there. This is what our heroine does, returning home to her funny, strange mother when she is in need of some quiet time away from life, away from it all. Finding a town she remembers well from childhood, alittle changed over the years, but not entirely.
Willie has messed up! A disasterious affair with her much older professor leaves her alone, pregnant and utterly heartbroken. She returns home in shame, to get some comfort by her strange hippie mother, only to find her mother has seen Jesus in her older days and not at all in any way feeling sorry for her daughter or the mess she has made. She kicks her back into gear by adding another giant disturbance to Willies allready messed up life...

a disturbance that might just be the saviour after all...

A lovely story that goes back and forth in the history of a strange and wonderful family...

Loved it!!! Really did... and I loved the descrpition of the town itself, which REALLY plays the main character!
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on 18 August 2009
This is the story of Willie Upton (not Cooper, as the blurb confusingly says) and her return to her home town of Templeton, a town based on the real-life town of Cooperstown - home of the writer James Fenimore Cooper. Without giving it all away Willie returns home from San Francisco after an affair with her professor ends abruptly. Her hippy mother Vi, now a christian convert, drops a bombshell about Willie's real parentage that sparks a trek through Templeton's history all the way back to its founder Marmaduke Temple (via his writer son Jacob Franklin Temple). This is a fantastic web of storytelling from a greatly diverse cast of characters all bound by Templeton, Glimmerglass Lake and Glimmey the monster in the lake. All the characters have real substance and the story kept me gripped until the very end. The monster and the ghost are perfectly woven into the narrative so as to be believeable and not kooky. The ending is very satisfying and I was genuinely sad to have finished reading it so quickly. I will definately keep an eye out for more by this author.
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on 14 January 2010
First Line:

"The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass."

These curious words are spoken by the narrator, Willie Upton, upon returning to her home town, having had a disastrous affair with her married professor and now finding herself pregnant.

She slowly starts to get her life together by discovering the lives of her ancestors who founded the town of Templeton in the 1700's and through their words we learn of past secrets, lies and rumours.

Many of the chapters alternated between Willie's voice and some of her ancestors which helped to build up a fascinating picture of her weird family, some of whom I did find a little unbelievable, together with the growth of Templeton.

I thought the slow build up of the family tree diagrams throughout the story was a nice touch and the family pictures also added to the overall feel, making it all seem real.

The story of the prehistoric monster found in the Lake was a little unusual and the author kept referring to this throughout the book as some of the characters may have seen it over the years. I'm not sure if I liked this idea or not, I just found the whole concept a little strange.

Overall though I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it if you like something a little different from the normal historical/contemporary fiction.
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on 29 March 2014
I took advantage of being able to listen to music etc. at work, and so decided to go for another audio book. My thinking behind this was that I might not be able to actually read something whilst garnering some pennies to spend, but I could at least indulge my appetite for literature.

I happened across this one, which was borrowed from the local library, and what serendipity it was.

The world of Willie Upton was perfectly shown to me ... note, the "shown" not told. It's an endlessly perfect piece of literature that weaves a magic around the story of both Willie and her ancestors.

Having listened to it, I now want to get an actual copy of the book, so that I don't loose any of the nuances that Lauren Groff puts into her work. This is all really impressive, as apparently this is Lauren's debut novel.

Highly recommended, and 5 stars from me, for this, in places, laugh out loud, piece of finely-meshed writing with such depth of texture and structure. Truly magical writing.

Full Blog Post #425 in March 2014
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I was given a copy by a friend and initially approached it with some scepticism - monsters in lakes don't usually add up to my kind of book. But it's a delight - witty, involving and surprising by turn - with strong likeable characters and a vividly evoked sense of place. All in all a most lovely book, one that will warm your cockles. As long as you can cope with a monster or two - oh yes, and a ghost.
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on 11 December 2012
The writing style and storyline is pitched somewhere between a standard lightweight woman's novel (I am resisting using the term 'chick lit') and a more considered tone and deeper content. Sometimes the plot in the present day continuum seemed a bit clunky and forced whereas the stories from the past were more gripping - perhaps because they were vignettes complete within themselves and did not require being woven together to form a continuous thread? The themes were involving enough and the characterisation was evolved enough so that I had a sense of different personalities and story arcs. The main 'character' is perhaps the town itself (Templeton). At times I felt there was a bit of smugness attached to the ideas of family history,duty and belonging and the contrast with friendships old and new. I would recommend it not as a "must read" but as a "could read and enjoy".
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on 12 February 2010
I had this book free with my Newbooks magazine; I probably wouldn't have bought it because it's not the sort of book I usually read. I started it last week and, to my surprise, I enjoyed it right from the start. As mentioned by other reviewers the story revolves around Willie Upton and her return to her home town which coincided with a monster found dead in the local lake. The story is set in Templeton which is based on the author's own hometown and next time we're in New York state, I'll make a point of visiting because it sounds delightful. Willie's life gradually sorts itself out once she has a quest and I was sad when it ended too. The characters are believable, especially if you spend time in small towns in the US every year, which I do.
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on 23 June 2014
'The Monsters of Templeton' is the story of Wilhelmina 'Willie' Upton (not Cooper as it says in the synopsis) who returns to her home town of Templeton, where her mother, Vivienne lives. Vivienne and Willie's family history is a big part of Templeton. Willie has returned home because she has found herself in trouble and needs to get away from her troubles. Willie is surprised when her Mother tells her truth about her father, Willie having been told by Viv that she was unsure who her father was is more surprised to find out that her father is a resident of Templeton and she has to find out by herself who he is.

Willie begins to explore her family history and as she does she finds out more and more about her ancestors and their secrets.

I started reading 'The Monsters of Templeton' at the start of the year and for some unknown reason I just could not get into the story, so I put it to one side. This time, however, when I started reading, I became quickly engrossed by the story and enjoyed it from beginning to end. The characters are very well written, they are realistic and flawed. Willie's history is interesting and I enjoyed finding out more about her family and the discovery of who her father is.
There is something mystical about Templeton and I loved that there was a monster in the lake and how he/she appears throughout the book.

A wonderful book.
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on 8 April 2009
Willie Upton is trying to discover the identity of her father, who she knows is a resident of Templeton and an ancestor of Marmaduke Temple, as is she. Sounds boring when you put it like that, but, Lauren Groff's Monster's of Templeton isn't just about Willie the illegitimate love child, this is a story of monsters and ghosts, as well as history. Sounds weird when you put it like that, but trust me it isn't, Groff makes it work!

I really enjoyed this book, it was a really quick, engaging read.I loved the little snippets from characters throughout Templeton's history. However, for me, this was also the books downfall, lots of characters = confusion. I found it difficult to know which part of the family tree I was following, and which member of the family I was reading about. The family tree appears in the book a few times, revised as Willie finds out more, but I'm not one to flick back and forth in a book. I'm lazy what can I say!

The bit that made this book special for me was Glimmey, I love him! And the ending for me was perfect! Cliche? Maybe. But I loved it! Long live Glimmey!!
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on 14 September 2013
This was an excellent novel, a glorious mixture of humour and drama, with engaging characters and just enough fantasy to prevent it being a typical story of a girl returning to a small town and discovering her roots. There's an ingenious use of characters from the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, some thought-provoking musings on the moral basis of early settler life as the identity and nature of the real monsters is revealed, and a delightfully heartwarming ending. Four stars rather than five because the writer's first-novelist status shows in the lack of differentiation in some of the voices in the sections of back history. But a book I am glad to have bought, and will happily reread.
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