Friday, January 17, 2014

Julie's Review: The Vanishing

Author: Wendy Webb
Series: No
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 304
Obtained: publisher
Genre: Horror
Rating: 5
Bottom Line: Spooky on so many levels.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? GRAB!
Summary: Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired . . . and who the world believes is dead. When she arrives at the Sinclairs' enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her "too-good-to-be-true" position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.

Review: I had read Wendy Webb's The Tale of Halcyon Crane a couple years ago and loved it. So when I read the summary for The Vanishing, I knew I couldn't pass it up. I'm so glad I got an early copy of this one. Ms. Webb has created a truly gothic atmosphere with Havenswood and the strange goings-ons in the mansion.

Of course Havenswood is a character in itself; it's eerie, dark, huge and old. Of course you are going to hear things and perhaps see things. It is really Amaris, Julia, Adrian and Drew that make the book for me. It is the intricaies of how they build their relationships that intrigue me. Amaris is perhaps the most intriguing of them all. A world-renowed, best-selling author who has been in hiding for 10 years. What happened in her life that made her want to vanish?

We quickly know why Julia would want to leave her current life. It's understandable that she would want that to go away. So I can't say I blamed her for jumping for the offer from Adrian Sinclair. Her motives aren't the ones I question. Throughout the book it is Adrian's motives that I constantly am evalutating. Also, as dreamy as Drew is, I wondered what his motives were as well. As for Amaris, I figured she was just lonely and needed companionship and maybe she was a little less lucid than previous years.

What Ms. Webb does an excellent job of is keeping you wondering throughout the novel. She writes in such a way that you get chills up your spine with regular frequency. She writes Havenwood so well that you feel like you are there walking the halls. You feel the cold of the snow storm, the chill of the ghosts and the warmth of the fires. I don't like to be scared but I do like to be spooked; and spooked I was. I felt what Julia was feeling. The depth of her unease towards the end of the book was my unease.

I still have The Fate of Mercy Alban to read and it will be read sooner rather than later. If you haven't read Wendy Webb before, The Vanishing is a fantastic place to start.

Thank you to Hyperion Books for my copy of the novel.



Unknown January 17, 2014 at 10:05 AM  

So happy you enjoyed this! Whenever I see you like a novel I'm immediately reassured that I likely will as well!

Unknown January 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM  

Can't wait to read this one!!

Beth Hoffman January 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM  

I rarely read horror (it gives me nightmares ... LOL), but the way you've described this book makes me want to add it to my list!

Julie January 17, 2014 at 4:41 PM  

It's not horror, Beth. It's just creepy and more gothic than anything. No blood and guts. :)

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