Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of A Field of Darkness
comes another compelling novel featuring the acerbic and memorable voice of ex-debutante Madeline Dare.
Madeline Dare has finally escaped rust-belt Syracuse, New York, for the lush Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. After her husband's job offer falls through, Maddie signs on as a teacher at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. Behind the academy's ornate gates, she discovers a disturbing realm where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen. From day one, Maddie feels uneasy about smooth-talking Dr. Santangelo but when she questions his methods, she's appalled to find that her fellow teachers would rather turn on each other than stand up for themselves, much less protect the students in their care. A chilling event confirms Maddie's worst suspicions, then hints at an even darker secret history, one that twines through the academy's very heart. Cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school's most violently rebellious students kids whose troubled grip on reality may well prove to be her only chance of salvation.
"At the start of Edgar-finalist Read's gutsy second Madeline Dare novel (after 2006's A Field of Darkness), Dare, a 26-year-old former debutante, takes a job in the fall of 1989 as a history teacher at Santangelo Academy, an unorthodox 'therapeutic boarding school' in western Massachusetts dominated by its authoritarian cape-wearing headmaster, David Santangelo. When a student, Mooney LeChance, reveals that his girlfriend, Fay Perry, is pregnant, Dare keeps Mooney's secret while the couple is confined to 'the Farm,' a punishment dorm in the woods. The book's first half focuses on character the woefully misguided souls who teach at Santangelo, the students in all their dysfunctional glory but the action picks up when Mooney and Fay die from drinking poisoned punch after a birthday party at the Farm, and Dare is arrested for her role in preparing the fatal beverage. While some characters, like the social-climbing parents who drop in between vacations, verge on stereotype, Read graphically depicts the depressing underside of a supposedly elite private school." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"There's madness in western Massachusetts in Read's smart second offering starring witheringly witty ex-debutante Madeline Dare....This series belongs on the must-read list of anyone who enjoys mystery mixed with comedy." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[A] strange, compelling narrative, one that frequently approaches but never quite descends to the excesses of melodrama. Madeline's deadpan voice, acid wit and psychological depth are the perfect counterpoint to the novel's positively Gothic plot." Kirkus Reviews
"While hardly taxing, the whodunit plot is funny and twisted, and it gives Madeline plenty of opportunities to air her caustic views on the evolutionary decline of her social class." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Read's novel is fast-paced; once the action starts, don't even think about putting it down. The motives behind the murders are complex, and the ultimate heroes and bad guys are a total surprise. Strongly recommended." Library Journal
"Cornelia Read has turned out another sparkling performance here, more than worthy of your time and attention..." BookReporter.com
From the acclaimed author of A Field of Darkness comes another compelling novel featuring the acerbic and memorable voice of ex-debutante Madeline Dare.
"Madeline Dare is like that wild smart-mouthed friend who blows into town, sweeps you off into a knife-edge adventure you never saw coming, and makes you laugh out loud even at the darkest, most intense moments. I can't wait to meet her again."
--Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of In the Woods
Recently settled in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, Madeline Dare now teaches at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. But behind its ornate gates, she discovers a disorienting world where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen. A chilling event confirms Maddie's worst suspicions, leading her to an even darker secret that lies at the academy's very heart. Now cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school's most violently rebellious students--kids who, despite their troubled grip on reality, may well prove to be her only chance of survival.
About the Author
Cornelia Read grew up in New York, California, and Hawaii. She is a reformed debutante who currently lives in Berkeley with her husband and twin daughters. To learn more about the author, you can visit her website at www.corneliaread.com and www.nakedauthors.com, her group blog with authors Jim Born, Paul Levine, Patty Smiley, and Jacqueline Winspear.