A writer haunted by the secrets of her boarding school days determines to find out the truth behind a suspicious accident in Goodman’s (Harmony, 2007, etc.) suspenseful novel.
As a teenager, Kersti attended a swanky Swiss boarding school where she made close friends with a group of wealthy girls. Her closest confidante, her glamorous roommate, Cressida, had a terrible accident a few months before graduation, and Kersti left, hoping to put everything behind her and move on with her life. Eighteen years later, she has become a successful novelist but is unable to have a child, and her marriage is under terrific strain. When she receives an invitation from the Lycée to return for the school’s hundred-year celebration and speak as a distinguished alumna, she begins to sift through stories of the past, realizing, with the help of a mysterious letter from an old friend, that there are still too many unanswered questions surrounding Cressida’s accident. Goodman intercuts the story of Kersti’s years at the Lycée with her investigations and decisions of the present day, allowing the main characters to deepen and take on more form as the novel progresses. Secondary characters are granted little development, but Kersti herself, daughter of Estonian immigrants and profoundly lonely within her family, is a fetching heroine despite her one-note, obsessive desire for a baby. Some of the plot twists are too convenient, and some too expected, but there is enough subterfuge to drive the story to the final answers and confrontation—and to achieve surprise.
If your guilty-pleasure reads include elite boarding schools, secret societies, murder, and scandal, this one’s for you.