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The God of the Woods de Liz Moore

de Liz Moore - Género: English
libro gratis The God of the Woods

Sinopsis

The God of the Woods should be your next summer mystery.The Washington Post
“Extraordinary . . . Reminds me of Donna Tartt’s 1992 debut, The Secret History . . . I was so thoroughly submerged in a rich fictional world, that for hours I barely came up for air.” Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air, NPR
Riveting from page one to the last breathless word. —Rebecca Makkai, New York Times bestselling author of I Have Some Questions For You
When a teenager vanishes from her Adirondack summer camp, two worlds collide

Early morning, August 1975: a camp counselor discovers an empty bunk. Its occupant, Barbara Van Laar, has gone missing. Barbara isn’t just any thirteen-year-old: she’s the daughter of the family that owns the summer camp and employs most of the region’s residents. And this isn’t the first...


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Tragic

The God of the Woods is a quiet mystery/drama about the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl at a summer camp in 1975.

Barbara Van Laar, the daughter of the prominent Van Laar family of Albany, New York, disappeared from her cabin one morning in a summer camp founded by her family. In connection with her disappearance, her counselor, Louise, her bunkmate, Tracy, her mother, Alice, and a young female detective, Judyta, share their stories. All are flawed, honest, and complex characters; each of their stories is impactful.

The plot slowly unfolds. Piece by piece, bits of the lives of the main characters intersect, coming together in profound ways. The timeline is non-linear, alternating between the past in the 1950s and the present in the 1970s; the non-linearity adds to the drama and trauma of searching for a missing child.

This is a rich, multilayered novel with multidimensional characters. Through exceptional characterization, especially the women, themes of motherhood, gender roles, sexuality, identity, and class are explored.

The setting is lush and vibrant, especially in the scenes in the woods surrounding Camp Emerson.

I could visualize the characters, the setting, the house named Self-Reliance, the camp, nature, and the fine details. Moore didn't just write a novel that takes place in the 1970s, she transports her reader to this time and place. There are a few flaws, but this novel is exquisitely written and emotionally impactful. My heart shattered as the events culminated in a tragically sad and painful revelation.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Penguin Group Riverhead in exchange for an honest review.netgalley223 s77 comments Lottie from book club241 614

I think I would be a great detective and then I read something this and realise that I would be immediately demoted to trafficadvance-reading-copy read-in-2024164 s2 comments Maxwell1,268 10.2k

This is THE book of the summer. Easy 5 stars. Will write a full review later but definitely check this out when it releases next week!! A perfect literary mystery thriller. arc115 s6 comments Ceecee2,355 1,961

4.5 rounded up

This is the greatly anticipated follow up to the bestseller “Long Bright River”, a novel I also thoroughly enjoy. In this one, Liz Moore transports us to the Adirondacks, specifically the Van Laar Preserve, within which is Camp Emerson. In August 1975, camp counsellor Louise discovers that Barbara Van Laar, the thirteen year old daughter of the owners, is missing from the cabin she shares with other girls, including Tracy, with whom Barbara has formed a friendship. As if it isn’t bad enough that she’s missing, this isn't the first Van Laar child to disappear. Sixteen years ago, Barbara’s older brother Bear vanishes and is never seen again although a deceased local man is presumed to be his killer. This ambitious novel is told in two timelines, the first is 1950’s-1961 which centres on Bears story and from 1975 which focuses on both siblings and the Van Laar family. It’s fair to say that many lives are affected and changed by their story.

There is no question in my mind that the author has pulled off her intentions with this novel and as it progresses the multiple layers are peeled back allowing us to witness the dark heart at the centre of this. The story gives us not one intriguing mystery to unravel but two and along the route to the surprising conclusion it includes family dynamics, social hierarchy and commentary such as the status of women, abuse and misogyny that takes your breath away. There’s deeply rooted toxicity and prejudice but to counterbalance this there’s also a strong element of friendship which shines a beacon amongst the less savoury elements.

It’s a well constructed slow burner plot which speeds up after a while and has short, sharp chapters which increases the tension. The two alternating timelines are seamlessly woven together, revealing a multitude of secrets, an accumulation of lies in order to cover them up, creating a suspenseful whole. There’s a range of complex characters who are well portrayed from the deeply unable to the damaged and betrayed and some who are very able especially Judyta Luptack the young investigator in the ‘75 timeline.

The novel twists and turns, taking you through a range of emotions, breaking your heart when the darker aspects are revealed. I certainly don’t see the end coming but it makes me cheer, loudly.

Overall, it’s a powerful and intense read which shines a spotlight on many things especially the attitudes of the time. The setting is fantastic and beautifully described so you can visualise it easily. I have little doubt this will be another bestseller for the talented Liz Moore.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HarperCollins, HarperFiction, The Borough Press for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.78 s37 comments Karen636 1,562

A really good page turner.. perfect for a summer read.
Set in 1975 at a sleep-away summer camp in the Adirondacks.
13 yr old Barbara Van Laar disappears from her cabin overnight .., the same camp that her brother Bear disappeared from many years before. Her wealthy parents own the camp as well as all the land surrounding and the huge waterfront house on the hill above the camp.
There are many characters and secondary mysteries.
I enjoyed it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Riverhead for the ARC!

On sale July 2, 202471 s26 comments switterbug (Betsey)886 1,085

Liz Moore is equally compassionate about all of her characters, even the worst behaved, in this slow burn of a book. As in all her novels, she creates a deft, complex plot that weaves its way around her vivid setting. Moore consistently explores traumatic childhoods, addiction, crime, and the class system. GOTW takes place at a nature preserve that is portioned to serve as the home of wealthy families and their caretakers in the Adirondacks, as well as a summer camp for youth. The action happens between 1951 and 1975; the chapters alternate back and forth non-linearly between a storied cast and two storylines.

In 1961, the beloved “Bear”— eight-year-old son of wealthy Peter and Alice Van Laar, goes missing on a hike. Fourteen years later, their teenage daughter, Barbara, disappears from the Preserve’s Camp Emerson. Moore combines a police procedural with a character study, amid a stark portrait of a community and the overlap of personal lives with work. Crime and character blend beautifully together.

Especially engaging is Judyta (Judy), recently promoted from State Trooper to Investigator. If you’re old enough to recall the seventies, you’ll recognize what it was for women trying to make it in a profession dominated by men. Judy was forced to balance her ambition and desire with her second-class status as female. T.J., the caretaker’s daughter, is an enigmatic woman who is now the camp Director. Friend or foe? Villain or hero---or anti-hero? Several layers there to unwrap. Most of the men in this novel are cretins, with a few exceptions.

Alice, the mother of Bear and Barbara, and the wife of Peter Van Laar, is an alcoholic. After the disappearance of Bear, her life collapsed. Husband Peter is either at work, or detached from her at home. It is not surprising, as she was raised by an aloof mother who criticized and nagged her relentlessly. Peter treated his children as commodities, while Bear was Alice’s whole reason for being. Alice remains distant to Barbara, who mostly fends for herself. The fearless teen couldn’t wait until the start of her first year at camp. She befriends Tracy, a usually sullen and reclusive girl who gradually flourishes once Barbara befriends her.

If you’re a Liz Moore fan, you already know that each of her novels are completely different stories, yet with ongoing themes of family and toxicity. The narrative abounds with loneliness, misogyny (especially in the 1970s!), detective work, and substances as a coping mechanism.

Moore attends to her story with empathy and nuance, and she knows her era. No anachronisms, either! Her time period is spot-on. And it isn’t pop-cultured or gimmicky. It’s a finely wrought plot that centers on nature, nurture, community and individuals searching for connection. The author’s rendering of the privileged v. blue-collar is done with attentive care. A dynamic must-read for Liz Moore fans and literary fiction lovers a.

A huge thanks to Riverhead for sending me a copy to read and review.63 s12 comments Meagan (Meagansbookclub)528 3,412

Believe the hype! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️44 s Claire FullerAuthor 10 books2,299 Read

524 pages, but this zipped by, beguiling and relentless in its grip. Not my usual reading choice, but the premise of a boy who disappears in the Adirondack mountains, and fifteen years later the disappearance of his sister and the police's search for her has me intrigued. Fast-paced and satisfying. Thanks to Harper Collins for the proof. 1970s author-american country-usa ...more36 s2 comments Celine190 448

Reading 'The God of the Woods" made me feel a kid reading during the summer. Every time I picked it up, I wanted to do nothing else but read. When I finally finished, it felt the bubble I had been in for a few days burst and I had to re-enter the real world, again.

The story begins in 1975, with the disappearance of Barbara Van Laar, at the camp her family owns. Her brother Bear disappeared in a similar way, years before she was born, never to be found again. We are woven throughout multiple timelines, with details of what happened to both Bear and Barbara being peeled back so slowly, that you don't realize you're about to be given answers until Moore's hand unfurls right in front of you.

New POVs are introduced in a way which never feels overwhelming or hard to follow. And, it should be said, that when I stumbled upon the "grand reveal", I was so blindsided by it that I audibly gasped and had to set the book down, for a moment.

I'm a very picky thriller reader. I guess the twists early on and skim through the rest of the book, quite often. This was not the case with The God of the Woods. I guessed nothing, so immersed in the story I was reading that I missed every single detail. Rarer still, the story of this is so well told that even after knowing what happened, I will still read this, again and again.

Thank you to the publisher for a gifted copy, in exchange for an honest review!37 s1 comment Jessica Woodbury1,754 2,567

Moore is very good at pulling you in, at slowly opening up a story for you piece by piece. What she is not so good at in this book is the second half, at taking all these pieces and bringing them together in a way that is satisfying. It is not entirely her fault, in a story with a mystery you inevitably move from many possibilities to just one. It is often an exercise in organization, in the removal of entropy, taking chaos and ending up with one simple answer. Sometimes that is satisfying and sometimes it isn't. And this book, for me, wasn't.

The hook is strong. A girl at a camp is missing. A girl whose brother disappeared in the same woods years earlier. It is the kind of story where our focus isn't on the center as much as the edges: the girl's new best friend at camp, the girl's camp counselor, the lone female investigator on the case. And this story, of missing Barbara, has lots of questions and good pacing and really comes to life. Unfortunately it all gets bogged down by this older story, of Barbara's brother who disappeared and is presumed dead and all of it happened before she was even born. Of the wealthy Van Laar family, of Barbara's mistreated and troubled mother, of the conflict between this rich family and the fading town nearby full of people whose ancestors sold their land to the Van Laar's generations before. The pieces are all there in this story, too, and somehow they never come together. In fact, Barbara's story is solved for all intents and purposes so quickly that we are left with this other one, which apparently is the more important one but is also the much less interesting one.

Moore does give a lot of life to Tracy, Louise, and Judyta, the non-Van-Laar protagonists, but their stories inevitably wind down as we lose focus on Barbara's story. It all ends in ways that are predictable and also kind of ridiculous. The book thinks the ending is happy but I found it to be rather fantastical, when the rest of the book had been so practical and straightforward. It felt there were clearer ways to reach this end point, but it's a quibble, really.arc-provided-by-publisher crime-mystery historical-fiction23 s Dennis888 1,812

3.5 stars

Liz Moore's previous novel, Long Bright River, was really engaging and unique for a mystery novel, so I was very excited to pick up her latest, THE GOD OF THE WOODS. The story is centered around the disappearance of Barbara Van Laar in 1975 at a sleepaway camp in upstate New York. Barbara isn't just a typical teenager, but the daughter of the family who owns the summer camp that is a big influence in the area's economy. Barbara's brother also disappeared years ago in a similar fashion. The entire locality begins to investigate and search for Barbara, however in doing so, Barbara's family becomes front and center, slowly unraveling the Van Laar family.

THE GOD OF THE WOODS is very slow moving and character-driven. It's beautifully characterized and well written, but it takes a long time to get going. I felt at times that I was trying harder than I needed to when reading this book so I alternated between reading the physical book and listening to the audiobook. Both options are enthralling, yet slow moving. Barbara's disappearance is the catalyst for a much larger story, but the ending was a great way to tie things together. THE GOD OF THE WOODS really dives into the themes of wealth and power and family trauma. This isn't the mystery novel you may suspect if you enjoyed Long Bright River, but I appreciated the pivot that the author provided with this book. I am unsure if I'd read another book THE GOD OF THE WOODS, but I think that readers of slow burn mysteries will enjoy this book.2024-pub 2024-read character-driven ...more21 s Liz (lizisreading_) Hein341 148

4.5 stars, this book is everything you want a literary mystery to be. She’s done it again! 19 s Jeanie ~ MyFairytaleLibrary460 52

Well, well, well. I may have just listened to my book of the year and with the fabulous reads I’ve had this year, that is saying something. I was completely captivated while reading this tense, layered story. The plot was enthralling and the character development superb. If you loved Long Bright River, I think you will agree with me that this one is somehow even better!

Saskia Maarleveld is one of my favorite voice actors and she does an incredible performance here with such a large cast of characters. Her smoky voice perfectly captures the mood here and definitely added to my enjoyment of this brilliant novel. This book is not to be missed!

P.S. Donna Romano
Autor del comentario:
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I think I would be a great detective and then I read something this and realise that I would be immediately demoted to trafficadvance-reading-copy read-in-2024285 s11 comments Meredith (Trying to catch up!)868 13.7k

Tragic

The God of the Woods is a quiet mystery/drama about the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl at a summer camp in 1975.

Barbara Van Laar, the daughter of the prominent Van Laar family of Albany, New York, disappeared from her cabin one morning in a summer camp founded by her family. In connection with her disappearance, her counselor, Louise, her bunkmate, Tracy, her mother, Alice, and a young female detective, Judyta, share their stories. All are flawed, honest, and complex characters; each of their stories is impactful.

The plot slowly unfolds. Piece by piece, bits of the lives of the main characters intersect, coming together in profound ways. The timeline is non-linear, alternating between the past in the 1950s and the present in the 1970s; the non-linearity adds to the drama and trauma of searching for a missing child.

This is a rich, multilayered novel with multidimensional characters. Through exceptional characterization, especially the women, themes of motherhood, gender roles, sexuality, identity, and class are explored.

The setting is lush and vibrant, especially in the scenes in the woods surrounding Camp Emerson.

I could visualize the characters, the setting, the house named Self-Reliance, the camp, nature, and the fine details. Moore didn't just write a novel that takes place in the 1970s, she transports her reader to this time and place. There are a few flaws, but this novel is exquisitely written and emotionally impactful. My heart shattered as the events culminated in a tragically sad and painful revelation.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Penguin Group Riverhead in exchange for an honest review.netgalley244 s78 comments Maxwell1,270 10.2k

This is THE book of the summer. Easy 5 stars. Will write a full review later but definitely check this out when it releases next week!! A perfect literary mystery thriller. arc135 s6 comments Ceecee2,359 1,966

4.5 rounded up

This is the greatly anticipated follow up to the bestseller “Long Bright River”, a novel I also thoroughly enjoy. In this one, Liz Moore transports us to the Adirondacks, specifically the Van Laar Preserve, within which is Camp Emerson. In August 1975, camp counsellor Louise discovers that Barbara Van Laar, the thirteen year old daughter of the owners, is missing from the cabin she shares with other girls, including Tracy, with whom Barbara has formed a friendship. As if it isn’t bad enough that she’s missing, this isn't the first Van Laar child to disappear. Sixteen years ago, Barbara’s older brother Bear vanishes and is never seen again although a deceased local man is presumed to be his killer. This ambitious novel is told in two timelines, the first is 1950’s-1961 which centres on Bears story and from 1975 which focuses on both siblings and the Van Laar family. It’s fair to say that many lives are affected and changed by their story.

There is no question in my mind that the author has pulled off her intentions with this novel and as it progresses the multiple layers are peeled back allowing us to witness the dark heart at the centre of this. The story gives us not one intriguing mystery to unravel but two and along the route to the surprising conclusion it includes family dynamics, social hierarchy and commentary such as the status of women, abuse and misogyny that takes your breath away. There’s deeply rooted toxicity and prejudice but to counterbalance this there’s also a strong element of friendship which shines a beacon amongst the less savoury elements.

It’s a well constructed slow burner plot which speeds up after a while and has short, sharp chapters which increases the tension. The two alternating timelines are seamlessly woven together, revealing a multitude of secrets, an accumulation of lies in order to cover them up, creating a suspenseful whole. There’s a range of complex characters who are well portrayed from the deeply unable to the damaged and betrayed and some who are very able especially Judyta Luptack the young investigator in the ‘75 timeline.

The novel twists and turns, taking you through a range of emotions, breaking your heart when the darker aspects are revealed. I certainly don’t see the end coming but it makes me cheer, loudly.

Overall, it’s a powerful and intense read which shines a spotlight on many things especially the attitudes of the time. The setting is fantastic and beautifully described so you can visualise it easily. I have little doubt this will be another bestseller for the talented Liz Moore.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HarperCollins, HarperFiction, The Borough Press for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.97 s43 comments switterbug (Betsey)886 1,097

Liz Moore is equally compassionate about all of her characters, even the worst behaved, in this slow burn of a book. As in all her novels, she creates a deft, complex plot that weaves its way around her vivid setting. Moore consistently explores traumatic childhoods, addiction, crime, and the class system. GOTW takes place at a nature preserve that is portioned to serve as the home of wealthy families and their caretakers in the Adirondacks, as well as a summer camp for youth. The action happens between 1951 and 1975; the chapters alternate back and forth non-linearly between a storied cast and two storylines.

In 1961, the beloved “Bear”— eight-year-old son of wealthy Peter and Alice Van Laar, goes missing on a hike. Fourteen years later, their teenage daughter, Barbara, disappears from the Preserve’s Camp Emerson. Moore combines a police procedural with a character study, amid a stark portrait of a community and the overlap of personal lives with work. Crime and character blend beautifully together.

Especially engaging is Judyta (Judy), recently promoted from State Trooper to Investigator. If you’re old enough to recall the seventies, you’ll recognize what it was for women trying to make it in a profession dominated by men. Judy was forced to balance her ambition and desire with her second-class status as female. T.J., the caretaker’s daughter, is an enigmatic woman who is now the camp Director. Friend or foe? Villain or hero---or anti-hero? Several layers there to unwrap. Most of the men in this novel are cretins, with a few exceptions.

Alice, the mother of Bear and Barbara, and the wife of Peter Van Laar, is an alcoholic. After the disappearance of Bear, her life collapsed. Husband Peter is either at work, or detached from her at home. It is not surprising, as she was raised by an aloof mother who criticized and nagged her relentlessly. Peter treated his children as commodities, while Bear was Alice’s whole reason for being. Alice remains distant to Barbara, who mostly fends for herself. The fearless teen couldn’t wait until the start of her first year at camp. She befriends Tracy, a usually sullen and reclusive girl who gradually flourishes once Barbara befriends her.

If you’re a Liz Moore fan, you already know that each of her novels are completely different stories, yet with ongoing themes of family and toxicity. The narrative abounds with loneliness, misogyny (especially in the 1970s!), detective work, and substances as a coping mechanism.

Moore attends to her story with empathy and nuance, and she knows her era. No anachronisms, either! Her time period is spot-on. And it isn’t pop-cultured or gimmicky. It’s a finely wrought plot that centers on nature, nurture, community and individuals searching for connection. The author’s rendering of the privileged v. blue-collar is done with attentive care. A dynamic must-read for Liz Moore fans and literary fiction lovers a.

A huge thanks to Riverhead for sending me a copy to read and review.71 s14 comments Karen637 1,570

A really good page turner.. perfect for a summer read.
Set in 1975 at a sleep-away summer camp in the Adirondacks.
13 yr old Barbara Van Laar disappears from her cabin overnight .., the same camp that her brother Bear disappeared from many years before. Her wealthy parents own the camp as well as all the land surrounding and the huge waterfront house on the hill above the camp.
There are many characters and secondary mysteries.
I enjoyed it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Riverhead for the ARC!

On sale July 2, 202476 s26 comments NZLisaM462 481

The third rule of Camp Emerson is the most important, ‘When lost sit down and yell.’

Just the battle cry of Pan: The Greek God of the Woods.

Situated in the Adirondack Mountains is the Van Laar Preserve. Atop its ridge is the Van Laar’s colossal summer home, named Self-Reliance. Far below, is the camp they own, Camp Emerson, which is open to campers eight weeks of the year (June to August).

July 1961: 8-year-old, Peter “Bear” Van Laar the fourth (the only child of Peter the third and his wife Alice) vanishes without a trace while hiking with his grandfather (Peter II) in the Adirondacks near the family home Self-Reliance. Following an extensive search no trace of him is ever found.

August 1975: The girls in Balsam cabin, Camp Emerson, awaken to find 13-year-old Barbara’s bunk bed empty. Barbara’s surname is also Van Laar – she’s Bear’s younger sister, born after his disappearance, to replace the void he left.

Is the Van Laar line cursed?

Surely it can’t be a coincidence that they’re two children from the same privileged family!

Or are they simply two separate unrelated tragedies?

What happened to Bear, and then Barbara?

If I could rate The God of the Woods 14 stars (for the 14 cabins of Camp Emerson) then I absolutely positivity would, but I guess 5 stars is enough to convey just how immersive, momentous, and affecting it was. A flawlessly written epic masterpiece of literary suspense fiction, and deep dive character study. There were twists that left me reeling over how shockingly clever they were, and Liz Moore’s use of misdirection and carefully concealed clues were meticulously placed. Every once and a while there is a book that comes along that is so special that I find myself taking much longer than normal to read it, inhaling every word, and taking frequent breaks to reflect on the plot, and characters, to prolong the experience, and The God of the Woods was one such example.

The story contained many gothic elements which increased my sense of unease and claustrophobia tenfold. A prickling sensation at the back of my neck permeated the novel from the very first page. First up, was the secluded setting, far enough away from the nearest town of Shattuck to be isolating, surrounded by endless wilderness and the looming Hunt Mountain, with Lake Joan cutting them off even further. Then there were the dilapidated log cabins, once used for hunting parties, complete with unused fireplaces, whose chimneys were occasionally inhabited by bats. Not to mention the origins of Self-Reliance – there was something off-putting and out-of-place about it previously being a Chalet in Switzerland, transported by ship to New York piece-by-piece and then reassembled on the Van Laar Preserve. As expected, there were numerous campfire style legends circulating – whispered stories warning of Slitter, of Scary Mary, and Old John. And last but not least, the plot was built around not one, but two disturbing enthralling mysteries.

Those who know me are aware that I love a summer camp setting and this novel contained everything I wanted in one – new friendships, secretive and untrustworthy behaviour, counsellors and campers sneaking around after dark, campfires, sing-a-longs, swimming, hiking, a camper survival trip in the woods, and an end of summer dance. The vivid and intricate descriptions of the campgrounds really brought Camp Emerson to life. There was also a handy map included at the front of the book, showing the layout of the grounds and buildings.

And I was thrilled that the author chose to set the camp story arc in the 70's – I adored the nostalgic trip, the slang, and pop culture references. The 1950’s/1960’s timelines were equally compelling. Instead of Camp Emerson, that plot focused on Self-Reliance and Peter and Alice's marriage within its walls, and of course, Bear's disappearance, and what lead up to it, and the fallout resulting from it.

The majority of the POV’s were pre-teen/teenage girls and twenty-something women (with the exception of Alice in 1975. She was 41 by this stage), and most of them were damaged or broken (and given what they'd been dealt in life I'm not surprised), beaten down and trapped by their circumstances. Back then women were considered inferior – utterly dependent on the men in their lives to make decisions for them regarding how to look, act, and behave. And a lot of the male characters in this book took advantage of this – were dismissive, controlling and abusive. Not only that when female characters were abused by men, they saw it as their failure, and thought it was them who needed to change, who needed to be more compliant. And those who did take a stand were belittled, mocked, and shunned, by both men and women, for not conforming to the norm.

Class, prejudice, injustice, and resentment was another prominent theme. With the Van Laar family and their rich, entitled friends on one side, and the locals from Shattuck (including camp staff, counsellors, household staff, and caretakers) on the other. Self-Reliance, sat high on the hill, on prominent display, lording it over everyone, literally and figuratively, looking down on people. Even its name, Self-Reliance, was an exclusion, a slap in the face for the townspeople, implying that the Van Laar’s had build it themselves with no assistance, when it had been the entire eligible male population of Shattuck who had done so, with no help from the Van Laar’s. And even the fact that the camp staff quarters were situated way down lake from Self-Reliance in the farthest south corner possible, placed in the half of the camp separated by a creek, spoke volumes.

The God of the Woods was in my opinion a smash-hit and I strongly urge everyone to read it and experience the magic for themselves. My top read for 2024 so far. Actually, a top read full stop.2024 contemporary crime ...more60 s41 comments Meagan (Meagansbookclub)531 3,456

Believe the hype! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️50 s Claire FullerAuthor 10 books2,298 Read

524 pages, but this zipped by, beguiling and relentless in its grip. Not my usual reading choice, but the premise of a boy who disappears in the Adirondack mountains, and fifteen years later the disappearance of his sister and the police's search for her has me intrigued. Fast-paced and satisfying. Thanks to Harper Collins for the proof. 1970s author-american country-usa ...more38 s2 comments Jessica Woodbury1,756 2,575

Moore is very good at pulling you in, at slowly opening up a story for you piece by piece. What she is not so good at in this book is the second half, at taking all these pieces and bringing them together in a way that is satisfying. It is not entirely her fault, in a story with a mystery you inevitably move from many possibilities to just one. It is often an exercise in organization, in the removal of entropy, taking chaos and ending up with one simple answer. Sometimes that is satisfying and sometimes it isn't. And this book, for me, wasn't.

The hook is strong. A girl at a camp is missing. A girl whose brother disappeared in the same woods years earlier. It is the kind of story where our focus isn't on the center as much as the edges: the girl's new best friend at camp, the girl's camp counselor, the lone female investigator on the case. And this story, of missing Barbara, has lots of questions and good pacing and really comes to life. Unfortunately it all gets bogged down by this older story, of Barbara's brother who disappeared and is presumed dead and all of it happened before she was even born. Of the wealthy Van Laar family, of Barbara's mistreated and troubled mother, of the conflict between this rich family and the fading town nearby full of people whose ancestors sold their land to the Van Laar's generations before. The pieces are all there in this story, too, and somehow they never come together. In fact, Barbara's story is solved for all intents and purposes so quickly that we are left with this other one, which apparently is the more important one but is also the much less interesting one.

Moore does give a lot of life to Tracy, Louise, and Judyta, the non-Van-Laar protagonists, but their stories inevitably wind down as we lose focus on Barbara's story. It all ends in ways that are predictable and also kind of ridiculous. The book thinks the ending is happy but I found it to be rather fantastical, when the rest of the book had been so practical and straightforward. It felt there were clearer ways to reach this end point, but it's a quibble, really.arc-provided-by-publisher crime-mystery historical-fiction32 s Celine192 474

Reading 'The God of the Woods" made me feel a kid reading during the summer. Every time I picked it up, I wanted to do nothing else but read. When I finally finished, it felt the bubble I had been in for a few days burst and I had to re-enter the real world, again.

The story begins in 1975, with the disappearance of Barbara Van Laar, at the camp her family owns. Her brother Bear disappeared in a similar way, years before she was born, never to be found again. We are woven throughout multiple timelines, with details of what happened to both Bear and Barbara being peeled back so slowly, that you don't realize you're about to be given answers until Moore's hand unfurls right in front of you.

New POVs are introduced in a way which never feels overwhelming or hard to follow. And, it should be said, that when I stumbled upon the "grand reveal", I was so blindsided by it that I audibly gasped and had to set the book down, for a moment.

I'm a very picky thriller reader. I guess the twists early on and skim through the rest of the book, quite often. This was not the case with The God of the Woods. I guessed nothing, so immersed in the story I was reading that I missed every single detail. Rarer still, the story of this is so well told that even after knowing what happened, I will still read this, again and again.

Thank you to the publisher for a gifted copy, in exchange for an honest review!40 s1 comment Dennis889 1,818

3.5 stars

Liz Moore's previous novel, Long Bright River, was really engaging and unique for a mystery novel, so I was very excited to pick up her latest, THE GOD OF THE WOODS. The story is centered around the disappearance of Barbara Van Laar in 1975 at a sleepaway camp in upstate New York. Barbara isn't just a typical teenager, but the daughter of the family who owns the summer camp that is a big influence in the area's economy. Barbara's brother also disappeared years ago in a similar fashion. The entire locality begins to investigate and search for Barbara, however in doing so, Barbara's family becomes front and center, slowly unraveling the Van Laar family.

THE GOD OF THE WOODS is very slow moving and character-driven. It's beautifully characterized and well written, but it takes a long time to get going. I felt at times that I was trying harder than I needed to when reading this book so I alternated between reading the physical book and listening to the audiobook. Both options are enthralling, yet slow moving. Barbara's disappearance is the catalyst for a much larger story, but the ending was a great way to tie things together. THE GOD OF THE WOODS really dives into the themes of wealth and power and family trauma. This isn't the mystery novel you may suspect if you enjoyed Long Bright River, but I appreciated the pivot that the author provided with this book. I am unsure if I'd read another book THE GOD OF THE WOODS, but I think that readers of slow burn mysteries will enjoy this book.2024-pub 2024-read character-driven ...more25 s Liz (lizisreading_) Hein342 149

4.5 stars, this book is everything you want a literary mystery to be. She’s done it again! 21 s Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)715 411

Brilliant mystery + meditation on class, wealth, women’s lives, and the of course, the woods. Exceptional on audio and impossible to put down. Perfectly plotted, expertly paced, and just gorgeously crafted. A true winner!15 s2 comments Jeanie ~ MyFairytaleLibrary461 53

Well, well, well. I may have just listened to my book of the year and with the fabulous reads I’ve had this year, that is saying something. I was completely captivated while reading this tense, layered story. The plot was enthralling and the character development superb. If you loved Long Bright River, I think you will agree with me that this one is somehow even better!

Saskia Maarleveld is one of my favorite voice actors and she does an incredible performance here with such a large cast of characters. Her smoky voice perfectly captures the mood here and definitely added to my enjoyment of this brilliant novel. This book is not to be missed!

P.S. Donna Romano
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