Single, knocked up and possibly wanted for attempted murder, Willie Upton finds herself back in her hometown of Templeton, directionless and with her tail between her legs. So begins Lauren Groff’s novel, The Monsters of Templeton.

Displaying wit and intelligence, Groff’s first foray proves both engaging and original. Told from different viewpoints, past and present, in the town’s fabled (including a prehistoric lake creature) history, The Monsters of Templeton also includes various photos and family trees and letters, which provide a pleasant twist on the novel-reading experience.

As Willie, a (possibly ex) archeology student, tries to uncover secrets from her own recent past, she ends up digging up the long buried detritus that the village has managed to conceal over the centuries. As is often the case, airing out the dirty laundry of generations ends up being cathartic, confusing and healing for all of those involved and affected.

Groff adds plenty of interesting details and compelling asides that give The Monsters of Templeton a flavor all its own.

Grade: B+

The Monsters of Templeton is currently available.