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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical journey into a 'messy' family, 11 April 2012
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This review is from: The Monsters of Templeton (Paperback)
As the corpse of a prehistoric monster rises to the surface of Templeton's Lake Glimmerglass - Willie returns in disgrace from college to a confession by from her 'born-again' mother that her father is not one of 3 nameless hippys as her mother had claimed, but a Templeton man. The story evolves as she delves into the "messy centuries of my messy messy family" to discover the identity of her father.

The historical characters in particular are very well-drawn and rich. We meet monsters and murderers, madams and ghosts. Most memorable are the amoral Quaker Marmaduke Temple who founded Templeton, by simply arriving and claiming all he saw as his own, and the middle-class 'sisters' Cinnamon and Charlotte whose formal letters turn quickly vitriolic and shockingly revengeful once they've confessed their secrets.

Lauren Groff, in her debut novel, has interspersed this tale with regularly amended family trees,letters, photograghs of the prominent characters and vivid descriptions, giving the book a feel of a work of non-fiction sometimes, yet it was also quirky and humourous.
On ending this book I really felt like I'd been on a journey with Willie, through the archives of her family and the history of the town.

I really missed the bizarre characters in it including the 'monster' lurking beneath the lake and I wish I came from Templeton, because I too would return.
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Location: London

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