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review 2017-07-11 00:00
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde - Eve Chase 4.5 Stars
A compelling and atmospheric page turner, a rich gothic tale for lovers of books like the [b:The Thirteenth Tale|40440|The Thirteenth Tale|Diane Setterfield|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1346267826s/40440.jpg|849453] Set in large period Manor deep in the English countryside a once imposing home but now slightly dilapidated overgrown estate. A house with a sense of intrigue about it and an unsettling history where strange rumours surround the Estate and the family that lived there in the past.

Present Day
Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds a perfect escape for her troubled family, far away from London and its madness and a new beginning in a home that she can at last make her own. But the house has a hidden history and strange rumours surround the estate, rumours which the locals are not about to divulge too easily.
The Fifties
When the four wilde sisters come to stay with their Aunt and Uncle at Applecote Manor, they find that the vanishing of their young cousin Audrey 5 years earlier still remains a mystery and the hot summer of 1959 becomes one they will remember for some time.

Beautifull descriptive writing by Eve Chase and a terrific air of suspense with a tightly woven and mysterious plot, I was captivated from beginning to end, for me this is the sort of novel that only comes around once in awhile and not only has the author a remarkable literate style she has a terrific imagination and I have no hesitation in recommending this novel for loves of gothic intrigue and haunting tales where family secrets and period houses come to life.

My thanks to NetGalley for an opportunity to read this one in return for an honest review.
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review 2017-07-05 23:48
Is Audrey still alive?
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde - Eve Chase

I'm glad to say I enjoyed this even more than Eve Chase's first book, Black Rabbit Hall. While both books were beautifully written, I thought The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde was a more involving story. I also noticed that both books revolved around an old building which appears as an old wreck in the present day but a vibrant home in a previous era, and both include families of four children.

In current time, Applecoat Manor is purchased by Jessie and Will, who need to leave London to get away from negative influences in Will's teenage daughter's life. Will is recently married to Jessie after the death of his first wife, Mandy. Jessie had moved into Mandy's house and she is hoping the move into the countryside will also clear some of the memories of Mandy's presence. Her own child, Romy is still young and adores her step-sister, Bella, but Jessie isn't sure she can trust Bella to be alone with Romy. Circumstances necessitate that Will is in London for most of the week so Jessie has to juggle this new life alone, with a young child and a resentful step-daughter.

The house they buy had been the home of Sybil, Percy and their daughter, Audrey, until Audrey's disappearance in 1954. Sybil refuses to accept the possibility that Audrey might be dead and has kept her bedroom as it was when she last slept there.
Sybil's sister is an unconventional single mother to four vivacious daughters, Flora, Pam, Margot and Dot, and when the opportunity comes up for her to work a few months in Morocco, she asks if her girls can spend the summer at Applecoat Manor. The girls have not been back to the old house since Audrey's disappearance, although prior to that they had spent every summer there. Now, five years later, they return with trepidation. Their Aunt and Uncle welcome them but appear very different to the carefree parents they had once been.

What had happened to Audrey, and who is the young man being dragged across the grass in the dramatic opening pages of the book? What exactly went on during that long hot summer of 1954?
There is a wonderful collision between past and present, though I won't say any more about that.

As with Black Rabbit Hall, Eve Chase writes beautifully and with humour:
'At each corner of the pool stands a goddess statue, fragile, beautiful, broken, like survivors of some terrible natural disaster.' (Loc 625)
Romy: 'Where does the sky end and space begin?' 'If God is everywhere, is He in the bristles of my hairbrush?' (Loc 268)

I loved this book, wonderfully atmospheric, with totally convincing characters. The interactions between the four sisters were fascinating and the story held my attention. I did have a bit of a problem adjusting time frames but I'm sure that just reflects how involved I had become in the narrative.
Loved the cover too.

Also read:
Black Rabbit Hall (3.5 stars)

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review 2017-04-16 08:59
The Art of Vanishing (Lila Maclean Academic Mystery, #2)
The Art of Vanishing - Cynthia Kuhn

Good, but not great; I thought the first book showed a lot of potential because I liked the setting, I liked the characters and I liked that the author wasn't trying to make everything cute.  It exceeded my expectations, which have, admittedly, been lowered dramatically by the dreck published en masse the last few years.


What I liked about this, the second one:

*  It's a mystery, but not a murder mystery.  This isn't uncommon in the mystery genre, but it's not mainstream either so it feels fresh.


*  The continuation of a narrative that doesn't feel overly melodramatic: Lila is just trying to get through her days.


*  No TSTL stuff.  Lila isn't running around trying to act like Nancy Drew and interrogate everyone; she just pays attention and thinks.


* I liked the plot twist; when I read it I started to think "same old, same old" but she did something a tiny bit different that really didn't matter much in the scheme of things, but again, gave it that tiny bit of freshness.



What wasn't so great about The Art of Vanishing

*  What's up with this trend of needing to have an over-the-top nasty nemesis?  How is it that in the current age of anti-bullying authors seem so hot to include cartoonish bullies in every book?  And Lila gets two of them - two nemesis (nemesii?) is surely two too many.


*  Love triangle setup.  'nuff said.


These are short and I think, better written than most of what's out there currently.  I hate the cliche of the love triangle but I'll give it one more book to see if - hopefully - the author is just dangling it there as a red herring.



Page count: 216
Dollars banked: $3.00

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review 2017-03-19 00:00
The Vanishing Tower (Elric Series)
The Vanishing Tower (Elric Series) - Michael Moorcock Elric, accompanied by Moonglum, heads off on a mission of revenge against Thelb K'aarna.
Along the way he fights denizens of Chaos, a god and beings from another plane of existence that are immune to his magic.

There's an appearance by other aspects of the Eternal Champion and the usual questioning of fate preventing Elric from living as he chooses.

Good, old school swords and sorcery featuring everyone's favourite albino champion of Chaos and his soul stealing sword Stormbringer.
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review 2016-12-02 12:44
The Vanishing - Sophia Tobin

Annaleigh Calvert has to leave behind all she has ever known in London and travel to Yorkshire. There, at White Windows, nestled on the Moors, she is to be the housekeeper to the Twentymans, Marcus, the lonesome master and his widow sister Hester. But Annaleigh soon realises that the inhabitants of White Windows are not as they first seem and White Windows may not be her escape after all.


Sophia Tobin has created a wonderfully compelling story, one that wraps itself around you much like a moorland mist. All the characters are well drawn, each adding a layer to the story. Annaleigh is the focus, a mix of a woman willing to work hard, to be subservient but with a will that is at odds with her place in society, who’s anger and strength lies barely dormant just under the surface. She finds herself faced with challenges, conflicted between her opinions of the Twentymans. By failing to take heed of her misconceptions she changes the course of her life for ever. Marcus Twentyman is a contradictory figure. Often fleeting, his presence felt rather than seen, he is outwardly charming but has a malevolent air, one that runs throughout the novel. Then there is Thomas. He was a wonderful character, a seemingly a minor character but one who is pivotal to the story who perfectly juxtaposes Marcus.


As for the moors, they are as central to the story as any character. Sophia Tobin vividly portrays the landscape, so easy was it to imagine White Windows, the village of Becket Bridge and the surrounding wilds of the moorland, with it’s beauty and danger being the perfect metaphor for the story of Annaleigh.


Sometimes a book works it’s magic on you in the first few pages. It’s voice resonates and appeals to the reader in a way that the story envelopes you, pulling you along until the last page. This is one of those books. I often say that stories have atmospheres, a world that the reader in drawn into, that is unique to the author. The atmosphere of The Vanishing is encompassing and compelling, drawing you in and meaning the reader is soon invested in Annaleigh’s story.


The book is described as perfect for fans of Jane Eyre and The Miniaturist. However in The Vanishing there are no friendly staff to befriend the new servant and the madness is not contained in the attic but walks freely amongst the moors. If you aren’t a fan of either of the previously mentioned novels don’t let that put you off. The Vanishing is a highly original tale, one which takes a surprising and dark turn.


This is an engrossing and wonderfully gothic tale, that soon works its magic on the reader, transporting them to another time and to a gripping story. This is the first novel by Sophia Tobin I have read. I will have to read her other novels soon.


A tale of madness, love and revenge, this is a perfect book for a long winter evening.
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