September 2008 Indie Next List
“Groff's engrossing first novel is wonderfully difficult to classify. Willie Upton returns to her ancestral home in Templeton (actually Cooperstown, NY) to recover from a personal crisis. She then decides to seek the identity of her father. This mystery unfolds through the tales of long-dead relatives and others from Willie's past, which is also Cooperstown's past. And then there's that dead sea-monster that's brought out of the lake....”
— Carol Dunn, Northwind Book & Fiber, Spooner, WI
April 2009 Indie Next List
“Disgraced grad student Wilhelmina Cooper returns to her upstate New York hometown to lick her wounds. Her mother gives her new purpose: a research project to track down the father she's never known -- or maybe has. Voices from the town's past slowly reveal their stories, and we see Templeton has had more monsters than just the one in the town lake.”
— Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in storybook Templeton, New York, looking to hide in the one place to which she swore she'd never come back. As soon as she arrives, though, a prehistoric monster surfaces in Lake Glimmerglass, changing the very fabric of the town. What's more, Willie's hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mother, Vi, tells her a secret she's been hiding for nearly thirty years: that Willie's father wasn't the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town. As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep when past and present blur, dark mysteries come to light, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed.
About the Author
Lauren Groff was born in Cooperstown, New York, which is the model for "Templeton," her novel's setting. Groff's short stories have appeared in publications including "The Atlantic Monthly," "Ploughshares" and "The Best American Short Stories" and "Pushcart Prize" anthologies. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.
"Groff's multilayered saga both thrills and delights with poignant, breathtaking prose. A"—Entertainment Weekly
"THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON, a fascinating first novel by Lauren Groff, is a book with joy in its marrow--fabulous."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Lauren Groff's debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is everything a reader might have expected from this gifted writer, and more. Willie is a funny, sexy, plucky heroine; her Mom--a once-upon-a-time hippie who's gone Baptist but not square--is a hoot; her family history is a funhouse through which Willie must wander in order to find her father. Best of all is Templeton, a town that will remind readers of Ray Bradbury at his most magical. There are monsters, murders, bastards, and ne'er-do-wells almost without number. I was sorry to see this rich and wonderful novel come to an end, and there is no higher success than that."—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
"Lauren Groff hits a home run in her first at-bat, with a novel that is intriguingly constructed and compulsively readable."—Denver Post