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Folly by Laurie R. King

Folly (2001)

by Laurie R. King

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I like Laurie R. King and her books, particularly the Mary Russell series. That said, [Folly] is my favorite by far and I read it, or listen to the audiobook, every couple of years. King paints a vivid, utterly believable story. I love the whole idea that the main character, Rae Newborn, has been to hell through grief and mental illness. She feels battered and tumbled and finally decides to make a stand. She sets off to rebuild a house on an island in the San Juan Straits. The novel is a story of reclamation on many levels. With King at the helm, the story takes interesting and suspenseful turns, and finally delivers a satisfying resolution to the plot line. ( )
  pmackey | Jun 5, 2013 |
very good! ( )
1 vote jenny.whitman | Apr 8, 2012 |
Excellent book! The only proviso I would include is that this is a thriller with long periods of quiet time, and the solution to the mystery connects to almost nothing in the book. That having been said, I highly recommend getting the audio version and spending time with the book, enjoying the narrative of the protagonist's rebuilding a vintage home and dealing with the real and perceived threats to her safety. ( )
1 vote cherilove | Jan 25, 2012 |
This should have been a boring book.

It is about one woman's fight to resume a normal life after several bouts of suicidal depression. Rae decides to rebuild the house which her great-uncle Desmond built on a small island off the north west coast of America.

The house had burnt down and Desmond had disappeared; now the island belonged to Rae.

Most of the book catalogues the slow clearing of the site and the rebuilding of the house, guided by a photograph taken 70 years before. But it also describes her relationship with others who come to the island; the sheriff and the wild-life warden, the prickly relationship with her daughter and her passionate desire to keep contact with her beloved grand-daughter, Petra.

Were the sounds which she heard and the feeling of being watched hallucinations or was someone really a danger to her? This is the story of a woman's determination to prove to herself and others that she is sane and able to fight her demons without the use of drugs; that she is not insane ...

It is not a boring book after all. King is able to balance the rather mundane description of the gradual growth of the house with the tension Rae feels as she comes to terms with the reality of what she finds on the island, not least her sanity. ( )
2 vote pinkozcat | Jan 11, 2011 |
As well as writing two outstanding series, Laurie R. King writes some amazing stand alones, and this is one of them. Rae Newborn is putting the pieces of her life back together, or trying to, by going to an island in the San Juans of the Northwest and rebuilding the house which belonged to her great uncle.

That is the framework for the novel, but in many ways it is a study in connection, loyalty, family and the healing powers of art and creativity.

I am strenuously avoiding giving away much of anything of the plot, because any new reader deserves to have every little twist show up for them. It is a great treat of a book.

The suspense is so well done that I had to commit The Reader's Sin: I peeked at the ending. I love, love, love this book. ( )
2 vote Meredith47 | Mar 26, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553381512, Paperback)

"The thing about madness was, it just took so damn much energy, and it was so thoroughly tedious in the meantime." Master woodworker Rae Newborn knows madness intimately, with every bone, every pore, every particle of her being. At 52, with three suicide attempts, extended hospitalizations, the death of her husband and daughter, and a vicious attack behind her, Rae has come to Folly Island, far out in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, to rebuild her life by building a house:
She would pull herself together, she would go and rebuild Desmond's house, she would lift his walls and dwell within them quietly all the rest of her days. Everything that House was lay there waiting for her to take it up: House as shelter, House as permanence, House as a continuation and a legacy, comfort and challenge, safety and beauty, symbol and reality joined as one.
Bequeathed to Rae by Desmond Newborn, a great-uncle she never met, Folly Island is lovely indeed. But when Rae discovers Desmond's journal in the 70-year-old ruins of his house, she learns that Desmond had his own internal horrors to confront on the island. As she labors in solitude, her prickly nature deterring all but the most determined of her would-be neighbors, it's not just her well-being that's at stake. Rae must prove herself sane if she is to have any contact with her beloved granddaughter Petra. So when the "skin-crawling feeling of being watched" doesn't fade, she does her best to ignore it. But does paranoia have its roots in reality? And is Rae doomed to repeat her ancestor's tragic end?

So effectively does King weave together past and present--the shrouded history of Desmond's life and death on Folly, and the tense, dusty, exhilaratingly panicky account of Rae's wrestling with old demons and new timber--that the future seems less important than the author might have wished. In other words, the eventual unmasking of Rae's watcher pales in comparison to the gradual revelation of Rae herself within King's haunted and haunting narrative. But with such a strong character and such moodily lovely prose, readers shouldn't miss the denouement-driven trappings of standard suspense. --Kelly Flynn

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:05 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Rae Newborn is a woman on the edge: on the edge of sanity, on the edge of tragedy, and now on the edge of the world. She has moved to an island at the far reaches of the continent to restore the house of an equally haunted figure, her mysterious great-uncle; but as her life begins to rebuild itself along with the house, his story starts to wrap around hers. Powerful forces are stirring, but Rae cannot see where her reality leaves off and his fate begins." "Fifty-two years old, Rae must battle the feelings that have long tormented her - panic, melancholy, and a skin-crawling sense of watchers behind the trees. Before she came here, she believed that most of the things she feared existed only in her mind. And who can say, as disturbing incidents multiply, if any of the watchers on Folly Island might be real? Is Rae paranoid, as her family and the police believe, or is the threat genuine? Is the island alive with promise - or with dangers?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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