Folly Hardcover – Feb 27 2001
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"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
From Publishers Weekly
Beautiful prose and intriguing characters can't quite save the confusing, and at times needlessly complicated, plot of this challenging psychological thriller, set on a fictional addition to the San Juan Island chain in Washington state, from Edgar-winner King. Talented, 52-year-old wood artist Rae Newborn suffers from severe depression, having survived several suicide attempts, as well as the death of her beloved second husband and their young daughter in a car crash. After being mugged by two strangers near her mainland home, Rae decides to wwork for healing by rebuilding the house called Folly that her great uncle, Desmond Newborn, constructed in the '20s as a way of mending his own war-wounded psyche. She capriciously dumps all her medications into Puget Sound, then lives in a tent while she digs and saws and chisels her way to bringing Folly and herself back to life. In uncovering and solving one murder, she works toward regaining sanity and--perhaps--love. While King skillfully portrays psychological illness, the book's sheer complexity of detail is overwhelming. There's more mass than the average mind can keep straight, and the passages about rebuilding Folly, especially, have a tendency to bog down. The denouement is a bit hokey, though definitely more attention-grabbing than all the rest put together. (Feb. 27)Forecast: Fans of King's Mary Russell and Kate Martinelli series will ensure strong initial sales, as will some serious ad/promo and a preview in each paperback copy of Night Work, currently on sale. This is far from King's best work, though, and may turn off some of her fans, leading to poor word of mouth and a weakening of sales down the road.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
During construction of the house we learn all about Rae's past, the reasons behind her depression and her fears. We also learn about her great uncle Desmond and the mystery surrounding his life and death.
But while everything appears to be progressing well, we get a sense that something is not quite right. Someone appears to be trying to find her and she continues to get the feeling she is being watched, but is never sure whether that's part of her mental problems or that it's actually happening.
Suspense builds steadily with some remarkable discoveries taking place. I found the last 100 pages or so were filled with unexpected twists and revelations. This is a very enjoyable book containing a terrific story of discovery and renewal coupled with a very interesting mystery and tense finale.
Rae, an internationally known expert in wordworking, plans to recreate Uncle Desmond's house using only a picture taken 70 years ago. Subject to depression her whole life, and recovering from a complete breakdown after a drunken driver killed her husband and 9 year old daughter, Rae comes to Folly Island after a year in a mental institution. Rae's journey to Folly has come to mirror Desmond's--an effort to rebuild his house in an attempt to rebuild her life.
Desmond, considered a misfit after physical and psychological injuries sustained in World War I, escapes from the Newborn's oppressive Boston household to the freedom of the beautiful Sanctuary Islan, which was renamed Folly Island after Desmond's building attempt. Desmond's history comes out during Rae's stay on the island and she is particularly troubled with what seems to be a family history of madness.
She struggles to overcome her own panic and fears on the island, all the while feeling someone is watching her. Her lawyer gets a message to her that someone paid thugs to attack her two years ago--the final event that triggered her breakdown. She also is told the her greedy son-in-law is trying to declare her mentally incompetent, so he can get control of her sizable fortune. Then things begin to disappear around her camp, disrupting the stability her almost finished house has given her. Her past and present family mystery deepens when she finds the 70 year old skeleton of Desmond in a cave near the house.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Authentic and compelling characters moving back and forth in time to a suspenseful and ultimately satisfying conclusion. Ms. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Alison
I have read the first two of the Mary Russel series before I read this one. I like this one much better. The Mary Russel series is good. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by Happy Yeah
WOW! I love the way the story slowly unfolds, increasing in depth and mystery. I've visited the San Juans twice and envied Rae's sojurn there, although not during winter or... Read morePublished on March 5 2004
Rae Newborn, an internationally famous woodworker, moves to a remote island to rebuild her great-uncle's house. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2003 by Debra Hamel
This is one of the best books I've read in recent months. I was absorbed about the story of a woman recovering from a breakdown who goes to live on an island and rebuild the house... Read morePublished on May 13 2003 by Kay L. Robart
Having read and loved both the Mary Russell and Kate Martinelli series' by King, I expected a similar read with Folly, but I was surprised and pleased to see her go in an entirely... Read morePublished on June 18 2002 by Cathy Wright
I enjoyed this book so much, and I was so sad when it ended. I found myself putting the book down, because I was coming to the end, and I wasn't ready to let go of the characters... Read morePublished on June 17 2002 by N. Gargano
Laurie King continues to deliver quality in her most recent Folly. Rae Newborn escapes to the San Juan Islands in the Pacific northwest after a family tragedy that culminates in... Read morePublished on March 2 2002 by V. B. Earle