Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman is a gothic novel about a young widow, Meg Rosenthal, who has been left without much money after leading a well-to-do married life. She accepts a job at a remote high school for the fine arts where she has been able to enroll her teenaged daughter. The school was founded by two artists and authors of fairy tales, Vera Beecher and Lily Eberhardt. Lily died under mysterious circumstances by falling into a ravine during a snowstorm. The first night Meg and her daughter are installed in their new home in a secluded cottage on the grounds, one of the students also falls into the ravine.
As Meg’s thesis concerns the school, she begins digging into the death of Lily, especially trying to figure out why the current headmistress, Ivy St. Clare, disliked her so. She is aided by her accidental discovery of Lily’s diary in a hiding place in the cottage.
This book is interesting and engaging, but the solution to all the campus goings-on has a major fault that makes it difficult to accept. It hinges on the identities of three different women. I don’t want to say more, but this problem makes the ending completely unlikely.