Orange Prize

The Monsters of Templeton – Lauren Groff

The Monsters of Templeton was short listed for the Orange New Writers Prize in 2008. It tells the story of a young woman in New York State, as she finds out the secrets of her family tree, in order to discover the truth about her own life.


There were many things I loved about this book. The photos at the start of each chapter made the characters in the historical sections feel much more real, and the continual updating of the family tree throughout the book helped me to understand what was happening, as sometimes the large family became confusing. Unfortunately, some of the historical writing in the book did not seem true to it’s age, and so didn’t come across as very realistic. The letters weren’t as well written as the rest of the book, and I lost interest in a few of the characters further up the family tree.


The modern story in the book was excellent. The main character, Willie, was very well drawn. I loved her, despite her flaws, and really felt for her as she dealt with the problems she was faced with.


I loved the way the discovery of a monster in the lake was made to feel realistic. The scientific analysis of it at the end was particularly clever.


Overall, the way the story was well plotted, and the ending was very satisfying.




9 replies on “The Monsters of Templeton – Lauren Groff”

I listend to this book on CD and really liked it. I agree with you about the historical portions which were hard to follow sometimes on the audio version. I found Willie and her mother to be great characters.

I read “The Monsters of Templeton” earlier in the year and felt much the same as you. I did very much like it though, in spite of the flaws, and will look out for Lauren Groff’s future books

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