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Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: The Arsonist

Frankie Rowley describes herself as "temporizing."  Though she has steadily held a job as an aid worker in Africa, she never felt it was her true home.  In search of something more permanent, she visits her family in New Hampshire, unsure if she will leave.

The town of Pomeroy, New Hampshire is a sleepy town with a major divide between the locals and the "summer people" who live there for the season only.  Frankie and her family were one of those summer families until her parents decided this season to retire in the town.  Just as they do, an arsonist begins setting fire to empty homes of those summer people, putting the whole town on edge.

I enjoyed watching the characters settle into the roles they define for themselves.  Frankie at first seems upset to be little more than a wanderer, but by the end of the novel is satisfied not to have planted any deep roots, just as Sylvia is content to not be swept off her feet.  I did, however, think the book was seriously lacking tension.  There is a string of fires, yet I never felt thrilled or tortured like I should.  In the end, nothing much seemed to happen and the pace of the novel seemed much like that of a sleepy New Hampshire town.

2 out of 5 stars.

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