Arrowood: A Novel - Laura McHugh

They vanished when Arden was 8. They were playing outside, when she quickly went around the corner of the house to retrieve something and when she came back, her twin 21-month old sisters were gone. She remembers seeing a gold car, it was moving down the street with her sisters inside, that was the last memory she had of her sisters.


The police investigated the man who owned that gold car but he was clean. His name was Singer and an accusation like that, can be devastating for a person living in a small town in Iowa. Singer is a bitter man, there has been no hard evidence to accuse him of this unsolved crime and now, his life has been destroyed. Josh is a writer who is trying to write a novel about cold cases and wants to include the kidnapping of Violet and Tabitha in it. With a personal connection to unsolved cases, Josh contacts Arden when she arrives back at the family home in Iowa. Arden has recently received the family home as part of her inheritance but didn’t realize what shape the home was in. It’s been 15 years since the abduction, Arrowood, the family home looks almost the same since she walked out the door to go to college. Although Heaney has been taking care of the house, tending to the maintenance while it stood empty, problems still occur.


Not much has changed inside the house while Arden was gone, it is as if time stood still. Josh wants to move forward with his book so he needs to talk to Arden about the abduction, but he has questions that need answers. Arden wants to talk to Singer, she wants her questions answered. Singer wants to ask Arden a few questions. Lots of questions to be answers which leads to reexamining the past. Did something happen in the past that was ignored that should have been addressed?


I thought this novel had a great underlying story but I found the novel to be slow in parts until the end and then I felt everything came rushing out, all the pieces were laid out on the table and they fit perfectly together. I thought the ending was fantastic and I enjoyed how it all came together. I had no inkling on how things would turn out and when the big reveal came, I don’t think there was any hints in the novel for this outcome either. It was such a surprise. I really enjoyed the authors novel, The Weight of Blood as I had a hard time putting that novel down and I was hoping this novel would be the same. I liked that this novel took place in my home state Iowa and that the author referenced many of the stores/restaurants that are in this region. I liked the nostalgia of the novel, how Arden comes back to her childhood home and everything has remained the same. Her childhood room, the furnishings, and the Christmas decorations that were there for her so she can relive her past. I really loved the history of the house, I feel that brought warmth to the novel and put it all together. This wasn’t as good as her first novel but I will continue to look for books by Laura McHugh.