Title: The Vanishing
Author: Wendy Webb
Publication date: January 21st 2014
Page Count: 256 pages
Age Rating: Young Adult, New Adult, Adult (mild scares)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: The Vanishing
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.
Oh man, I’ve been craving a good old fashioned haunted house ghost story like The Vanishing for such a long time!
Julia, a woman who’s lost everything in the wake of the tragedy and scandal left by her deceased husband, is given the opportunity to leave it all behind and travel to a reclusive, sprawling mansion in the middle of nowhere, Havenwood, to be the caretaker for her favorite horror novelist – a woman believed to have died some ten years ago. Havenwood, as unsettling as it is beautiful, turns out to be a house with a dark history. The shadows seem to whisper and the paintings seem to move. The inhabitants of the estate are little more than strangers to Julia – strangers who act just a little too friendly and eager to welcome her into the fold.
From ominous beginnings, Julia’s stay at the mansion moves from foreboding to frightening to downright terrifying. It’s a slow building chill that moves along at the perfect pace to provide readers with a growing unease. The result is a spine-tingling spectacular tale with a twist ending that I loved (seriously, the epilogue is my favorite part of the book, and I pretty much enjoyed the whole thing). The mystery unfolding was so gripping as it unraveled that I never put the book down from the moment I picked it up. The author does such a fantastic job of setting the scene and drawing the reader into the world of Havenwood that the words on the page fell away and I felt like I was there.
I absolutely recommend The Vanishing to those looking for good ghost story involving a beautiful, haunted mansion and a cast of characters that leave you guessing until the very end. This is my first time reading a book by Wendy Webb, but from how much I enjoyed this one, I would love to read more by her.
There’s this scene in The Vanishing where Julia spends a snowy afternoon drinking hot chocolate laced with Bailey’s Irish Cream and reading in front of a cozy fireplace – I was so jealous (of course this is then followed by a power outage and something sinister lurking in the darkness – so, less jealous). Anyway, to get that cozy (pre-scared witless) feeling, I recommend World Market Irish Cream Coffee – it’s got a sweet, creamy taste combined with a bit of a boozy whisky flavor that’s sure to warm you up from the inside out.
- ARC Review: The Vanishing (bookgeeking.wordpress.com)
- The Vanishing by Wendy Webb (readfulthingsblog.com)
- Snowy, Remote Minnesota: The Vanishing, Wendy Webb (lasesana.com)