Review | The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Willie Cooper is a very ambitious archeology student with a bright future. Until she has an affair with her professor and becomes pregnant. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she has an…uhm…episode and tries to run his wife over. 
She returns to her hometown of Templeton on the same day that a gigantic, dead monster surfaces in the town’s lake and causes a media-circus unlike anything Templeton has ever seen.

It’s not very easy for a 28 year old woman to move back in with her mother. Especially not when that mother is Vi, an ex-hippie and a born-again christian. It becomes harder still when Vi confesses that Willie isn’t, in fact, the fatherless product of free love in the 60s. Her father is a upstanding citizen right there in Templeton – but Vi won’t divulge a name, only that the man is related to the famous poet, Marmaduke Temple, through a liason at some point in the past.

From the book description: As Willie puts her archeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, a chorus of voices from the town’s past – both sinister and disturbing – rise up around her to tell their sides of the story. Willie discovers that the curse of the Temple family runs deep. In the end, dark secrets come to light, past and present blur, old mysteries are finally put to rest, and the surprising news about more than one monster is revealed.

I loved this book! I would eat this book if I could. Or at the very least, lick it tenderly. But I borrowed it at the library and I’m not sure where it’s been, so I won’t. I thought Willie and Vi were wonderful all the complexity of a typical mother-daughter relationship was very nicely described, through two characters that aren’t exactly typical. I really enjoyed all the little family secrets that came out as Willie searched for her father, and the way they all came together in the end. The story moved along at a perfect pace and then ended just as it should have. I wasn’t left thinking “it was good, but it would have been slightly better if blah-blah-blah…” It was like eating a perfect piece of cake.