Lauren Groff is a writer to pay attention to as she has a grasp of language, dialogue and character that is so rare in a first-time novelist. In The Monster of Templeton (Hyperion, Feb. 5), Wilhelmina Cooper, a grad student in archeology returns to her home in upstate New York after attempting to kill the wife of the professor with whom she is having an affair. The town she returns to is a fictitious rendering of Cooperstown, N.Y., renamed Templeton after the famous writer Marmaduke Templeton, who is himself the “clone” of James Fenimore Cooper and her ancestor. I love the weaving of the ancestors or possible ancestors into the story, and the photographs throughout add a sense of historical realism to this lovely novel. Each new character adds depth and nuance. I had a few laugh-out-loud moments, many teary ones and loved the ending. I will be thrilled to sell this book. Book groups will love reading it.