TITLE/AUTHOR: The Temple House Vanishing; Rachel Donohue
PUBLISHER: Algonquin Books
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2021
GENRE: Fiction / Thriller
FORMAT: eGalley / LENGTH: 320 pp
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: An atmospheric story about the disappearance of a sixteen year old student and her handsome young teacher some twenty-five years earlier.
BRIEF REVIEW: In 1990 Louisa, a scholarship student, enters an elite Roman Catholic boarding school perched high on a seaside cliff in Ireland. She comes from a troubled family and is uncomfortable and lonely in her in her new environment. She doesn't dress like the wealthier girls and she doesn't like the strict rules either. Things get better when she meet Victoria, another girl who dislikes conformity under the watchful eyes of all the nuns. Then there is Mr. Lavelle (Edward), a handsome young teacher that is just the type of man that many teenaged girls will easily fall for. He's encouraging and full of compliments and Louisa and Victoria quickly become rather obsessed by him and each girl feels that Mr. Lavelle is attracted to them as well. As the end of school approaches and Louisa and Mr. Lavelle disappear on the same day, lots of unanswered questions remain.
Twenty-five years later, a journalist, who knew Louisa as a child, becomes intrigued by the unsolved disappearances. She is determined to dig deep and believes that Victoria, Louisa's old friend from school, may be the only one who can fill in some pieces of the puzzle, providing much needed insight into her time at Temple House.
This is a debut novel that was quite suspenseful and had a Gothic vibe as well. I loved the former mansion turned into into a boarding school, the cold winter setting and the sense of foreboding as I read. There are lots of themes running through this story: wealth, jealousy, lust, secrets, lies and revenge. Readers who enjoy stories that take place on a campus or in a cloistered environment might want to add this one to their list. The epilogue, which sometimes can be a hit or miss for me worked well in this story IMO.
RATING: 4/5 stars
Release Date - July 6, 2021 - Algonquin Books