The Ghost Orchid
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The Ghost Orchid

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  2,229 ratings  ·  230 reviews
In her enthralling novels of literary suspense, Carol Goodman writes stories that resonate with emotion set in lush landscapes that entice the senses. Now, with The Ghost Orchid, a narrative that seamlessly weaves together the past and the present, Goodman creates her most lyrical and haunting work to date.

For more than one hundred years, creative souls have traveled to U...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by Ballantine (first published January 1st 2006)
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Felisa Rosa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ameerah
I read this book on the recommendation of a co-worker. I bought it used for one cent and I'm glad I didn't spend a penny more. This is not to say that the book is horrible- not by any means.It is simply that my expectation far exceeded the actual story itself. I am not a big fan of ghots mysteries which is essentially what this book is. There is not a lot of character development before you are launched into the "boo!" plotline. I didn't find myself caring about any of the characters at all. The...more
Brooke
This time around, Carol Goodman serves up a ghost story with her signature solving-mysteries-from-the-past plot. The chapters alternate between the past and the present, and I really like the way they're linked together. The setting, a mansion with a sprawling garden populated by statues and a maze, comes to life with Goodman's descriptions and the gardens almost become a character themselves.

I think The Lake of Dead Languages remains my favorite Goodman novel, but this one comes in at a close...more
Kristi
Sep 22, 2008 Kristi rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a summer read
This book is in no way a masterpiece, but its a fun summer read. It is a mix between a mystery, and some history in upstate NY. Its quick to finish and pretty entertaining.
Jamie Stanley
Loved. Loved. LOVED!!!!! This book. Could not put it down for a second. Old secret gardens, old house, old status, old wealthy families. OMG loved it!
Barb
There is something different about listening to a story versus reading it for yourself. Sometimes those differences can be the difference between enjoying a book and not. I often have a problem with tone of voice when I'm reading. If you get the wrong tone of voice in your mind it completely changes the meaning of the written word. One of the things I like about listening to an audio book is that you don't have to figure out the tone of voice for each character, the reader does it for you. I rea...more
Robin
I wanted to love this book and couldn't wait to read it. When none of my local bookstores had it in stock for me to buy, I went so far as to go to the library - which is kinda rare for me, but ultimately, it was just ok. I didn't hate it, I just didn't love it or think the story was particularly interesting - it sorta reminded me of TV movies that try to be scary or creepy, but aren't really. I wish there had been more focus on a real world mystery without so much supernatural ghost / haunted ga...more
JackieB
This was fantastic. It's about a mansion in the USA which has been turned into a retreat for creative people. However there was a mysterious scandal involving sceances and ghosts (or maybe trickery) in the house when it was still a private house. One of the writers is writing a novel based on the scandal and that's where our story starts. This is what I would class as a gothic novel. It's not scream out loud scary but the author builds up a nicely spooky sinister atmosphere. I don't mean that go...more
Cora Lockhart
If I had to choose a favorite Carol Goodman, it would be the Ghost Orchid. I'm not sure if this is because this was the first of her books that I'd ever been introduced to by my good friend, Carla, or if because the language and characters and setting were so magical that I couldn't help but be captivated. When a first-time novelist is invited to an upstate New York artists' colony, she becomes convinced that the real story lies within the gardens and underground tunnels of the Bosco estate, whe...more
Rebecca
A decent beach read from Carol Goodman. I've noticed she tends to repeat the same theme over and over again in her books. There's a mystery and the key always involves some kid being switched with another one at birth.

While I liked the idea of the artists colony and all the personality clashes, it seemed to drag on for a long time. Usually these gigs last weeks or at most a few months. This one appeared to go for a year. Plus there were 2 stories happening at different times and Goodman wasn't a...more
Anne




A light summer read shouldn't be this hard



I picked this book up in the bookstore because I was drawn to the cover design.I had never read any of Carol Goodman's books before. I wanted a quick enjoyable summer read! If I put this book down for a few days, I had to think too much to figure out where I was at in the story when I picked it back up. I found her writing technique a tad cumbersome. The book was OK, but it will not go on my great books list.
J
Beware: One man's bookflap summary is another man's spoiler.

What draws Carol Goodman to tales involving upstate New York locations, old hotels/mansions, artists, frustrated writers, lovelorn women, woodland water?

Why do her tales entrance me so?

Not sure why, but I certainly am drawn.

This is a lurid tale involving 19th-century spiritualists, dead children, a wealthy knave, a grieving mother and a put-upon maiden.

That's one story layer, from history, on which a more contemporary story has been...more
Greta
Entertaining enough, this book kept me occupied during a day during which I wanted no more and no less than a compelling story. While it fell short of my hopes after reading "The Lake of Dead Languages" [which I loved!:], " The Ghost Orchid" was a page turner. A bit like "The Haunting" in its sensational style and definitely melodramatic and a little predictable, still a fine ghost story.
Meika
This is a great Gothic style romance. The romance is part of the subplot, really, with the gothic taking center stage. The setting is brilliant... the statues in the statuary practically come to life.
This isn't a pseudo-ghost story, where the ghosts are psychological. The ghosts are tangible...the main character is a medium.
Britni
It's an okay book if you want a little scare with some mystery thrown in. I don't recommend it, however, if you are looking for something to invoke any level of critical thinking or problem solving. It's on the same level as the horror movie with the girl running through the woods in stilettos.
Amy
didn't care for this book at all. Thought there were too many characters and they didn't all come together well. Also it was a pretty lame ghost story that just didn't make much sense. I have read other books by her and I liked them but this one I pretty much hated.
Addie
The pacing in the first half of the book was far too slow for me. I expected to really enjoy the book and I nearly abandoned it. Once I crossed the half way point it picked up quite a bit and I found it much more enjoyable but I'm on the fence as to whether to give Carol Goodman another shot. Reading the descriptions of many of her books I expected to be a quick fan but I am a bit reluctant to plod through another if it starts out at a similar pace.
Below is the reader advisory I wrote for this b...more
Debra
I really liked this book and will read more by this author. I picked up at a library sale because the fly-leaf appealed to me, and am glad I did. Good pacing between the past and present plots. Very well-written.
Aleitch
The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman is is narrated partially by Ellis Brooks, an aspiring writer at an artist’s retreat named Bosco in upstate New York. She, along with the other three writers, the garden conservationist, and the owner of the estate, each have powerful connections, not only with Bosco, but with a tragic event that happened there nearly a century before-one whose unresolved ghosts will do anything to have their story told, and their spirits released by the woman who keeps them buri...more
Laurie
Summed up:

Wild, albeit at times claustrophobic gardens, an alternating past and present, perfection of pacing and seductively creepy. Excellent read.
Sylvia Walker
A good ghost story is hard to find, but "The Ghost Orchid" is one! The writing just shines, and the sense of place is so strong that the ruined gardens and the mansion are major characters. Likeable characters; I especially liked the poet, Zalman Bronsky, and his sonnets were actually written by the author's husband. Some truly horrific revelations. Unlike the first book I read by this author, "The Lake of Dead Languages", I was kept guessing right up until the ending, about who did what to whom...more
Alayne Bushey
Carol Goodman always has an unparalleled way of transforming a location in a book into a beautifully haunted atmosphere. Her descriptions jump from the page, and every time she sets her novel in a new location I know it’s going to be lush, decrepit, and wonderful.

Her location in The Ghost Orchid is no different. Set at the upstate New York sprawling aged and crumbling Bosco Estate, Goodman unites an intriguing cast of characters amid the ivy-covered statues and dry fountains. Novelist Ellis Broo...more
Michelle
Carol Goodman revisits her underlying theme of water in this novel about an artist's retreat at a former mansion in upstate New York. The main character, Ellis has come to write a novel surrounding the history of the mansion and a seance that ends in a mysterious abduction. The story goes between the historical and the present day. Ellis has some interesting interactions with the other artisans, including one who is trying to restore the former glory of the intricate fountains that no longer fun...more
Kurt
I love Carol Goodman's peculiar style of snooty but accessible fiction. I started with the Drowning Tree, where there's a murder at a pretentious women's college and the protagonist's knowledge of Greek mythology and 19th century stained glass techniques are the only way to save the day. In this, Goodman's next book, the characteristics I loved are still there. The setting is a fever dream of a liberal arts major, as chapters alternate between 1893 and the present day at a luxurious mansion with...more
Midnyte Reader
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Lindsay Heller
I've read several books by this author, and I have always notated the others in my reviewers because I have noticed that, while it's a winning combination for this reader, a lot of her books are basically the same with names and situations swirled around a little. I've never had a problem with that, but I found while reading this I was actually glad for the change. A lot of the same elements apply here, but the format really was something else.

Ellis Brooks is a first time novelist writing a nov...more
K
For more than one hundred years, creative souls have traveled to upstate New York to work under the captivating spell of the Bosco estate. Cradled in silence, inspired by the rough beauty of overgrown gardens and crumbling statuary, these chosen few fashion masterworks - and have cemented Bosco's reputation as a premier artists' colony. This season, five talented artists-in-residence find themselves drawn to the history of Bosco, from the extensive network of fountains that were once its centerp...more
Nancy Oakes
Up until now I have absolutely LOVED Carol Goodman's books -- The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water were absolutely fine mysteries. She takes a different turn here and I'm not so sure I liked it -- the ending had a somewhat contrived feel to it, as if she wasn't sure where to go with it or how to finish the story. Not only that, but I figured out 2 parts of the storyline early on because it was somewhat transparent if you read carefully. However, to be fair, on the flip side, I d...more
Wendi
Ah yes, I love a ghost story. I love a mystery. This book is similar to "The 13th Tale" but not as thick. It's more light reading, but I really enjoyed it. It was a good follow up to the sweetness of "Standing in the Rainbow".

The story centers around a first time author, Ellis, and the book that she is writing at an artists' retreat. The book she's writing is about the events that took place in the late 1800s at the retreat which is a former home and gardens of a local rich family who had a hor...more
Carolyn Hill
I have enjoyed Carol Goodman's other novels but I really did not like The Ghost Orchid. Why three stars? Because of her literate style - the historical, philological, and mythological allusions and her beautiful lyrical descriptions. It's not hard to recognize that Carol Goodman was a classics major [yay for classics majors!] at an Ivy League school and that she has an MFA; her main characters always seem to have highly academic backgrounds and they talk like it. This book veered way more to the...more
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18130
Carol Goodman is the author of The Lake of Dead Languages, The Fairwick Chronicles, Watchtower Trilogy (with husband Lee Slonimsky), and the forthcoming young adult Blythewood series. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, Literal Latt, The Midwest Quarterly, and Other Voices. After graduation from Vassar College, where she majored in Latin, she taught Latin for several y...more
More about Carol Goodman...
The Lake of Dead Languages The Seduction of Water Arcadia Falls The Drowning Tree The Night Villa

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