Sunday, 9 August 2015

Book Review : The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

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. 

I love reading books and watching movies that scare the bejesus out of me. I cannot explain why but I love it and my imagination just punishes me later when I start seeing the bogeyman everywhere. Having read this description I was expecting this book to be really creepy if not very scary. I mean there's this mansion out in the wilderness, isolated, with an old eccentric living in it who in turn was a very famous horror novelist. I mean it just cannot be not scary right? But it just wasn't. There were parts which would send chills down my spine but those moments were few and far between. 

There might be spoilers from here on out

Let's get to the parts that bothered me. I mean here is a woman that has been scorned by all the people she knows and the rest of the public because her husband betrayed not only his clients but also her. And when a complete stranger comes to her and asks her to come take care of his mother - who he claims is a writer that the world thinks to be dead - she takes less than half a day to decide to leave with him. Leaving everything behind. I can probably see her doing this to a certain extent. I mean maybe she was so scorned by her husband that she just wants to disappear and start a new life. 

But once she gets to Havenwood, she starts seeing things which she attributes to withdrawal from her medication. OK, I'll buy that. But the next moment she is talking to Amaris Sinclair about old houses having their own ghosts (the  real kind, not the metaphoric ones) and agreeing with her about their existence in that house. I just couldn't reconcile these 2 thoughts of hers. There were multiple instances in the book where it was alluded that the Sinclairs had an ulterior motive to get Julia to Havenwood, and Julia asks them about it, only to chicken out at the end. 

Even with all of this happening, the book did manage to creep me out a bit. But the story was built up so much for most of the book and only the last 10 pages or so were used to kinda resolve the issues addressed, which just left me in the lurch. All in all this was OK read. I would rate it between a 2.5 and a 3.

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