Audiobook Review | The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

Spoiler Free

The truth finds its way into the light, no matter what you’ve done to contain it.

Published: January 21, 2014

Publisher: Hyperion

Length: 9 hours (eAudio)

Series: N/A – Standalone

3 Stars

Time and experience have a funny way of altering one’s recollections of the past.

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. 

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My second read of the year is officially in the books!

Which isn’t very promising considering that I’ve read one novella and listened to one audiobook in the span of about 25 days lol

The Vanishing was a really interesting mystery with those classic ghost story tropes that I always find very comforting. It starts with that almost essential “too good to be true” scenario where our main character, Julia, is given the chance of a lifetime to help get her out of a situation where her life is basically falling apart. Her husband ripped a lot of people off and then killed himself, all her friends and family had basically disowned her, and all the bill collectors had been calling constantly. A mysterious man shows up and offers to whisk her away to a fabulous estate, pay for everything, and take her away from her troubles just to keep his mother, Julia’s favorite author, company. Julia accepts, of course, and thus begins our tale.

I found this book to be really enjoyable and entertaining, if not a bit unoriginal. It actually reminded me a touch of Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key in the atmosphere and the way the book felt. I love a good ghost story and novels that encompass a touch of history, mystery, paranormal, and some sprinkle of romance and this had all that! The prologue really sets the stage for this novel with that creepy séance gone wrong and it just gets weirder, and creepier, from there. I thought the ghost elements of this book were really well done and it reminded me a lot of Simone St. James, who I love. I loved the way the author was able to weave history with the mystery and be able to craft an almost folklore type story out of it all.

The mystery is only heightened by the cast of characters that reside at this manor house. The Scottish hottie who tends the horses, the charmingly off-beat novelist who likes the world to pretend she died, and the kitchen staff who seem to flit from place to place in no time. Not to mention the women Julia sees in her rooms, the little girl she hears singing softly, the entity that seems to haunt the plush library. This novel left me guessing until the end and I think my only gripe is that I wasn’t a fan of the ending itself, I thought it didn’t make a lot of sense and didn’t keep the same momentum as the rest of the story.

Sure, this had a lot of clichés and the amount of times the old lady says “Julia, darling” made me want to die, but this was fun nevertheless and a nice little ghost story to curl up with or, in my case, to drive with when it’s raining and snowing and gross out!

Happy reading
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