Book Review – the Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences

Published 20th February 2020 by Atlantic Books

A dark and brooding building, deep obsessions and a chilling mystery – The Temple House Vanishing was ticking all my boxes from the moment I unwrapped it and took in that gorgeous cover. Settling down to read it on a wild and stormy night, I was swiftly consumed by this deeply atmospheric and intense story.

The book is told in dual time line of alternating chapters. In the present, an unnamed journalist is on a quest to detangle and solve the mysterious disappearance of sixteen year old Louisa, who vanished 25 years ago along with her young, handsome and charismatic teacher while the past is revealed tantalisingly slowly, burning with emotional intensity and nothing is quite how it seems.

The writing is just breathtaking, evoking the heightened emotions of the teenage girls living in a rural boarding school run by nuns. Jealousy, infatuation, secrets and insecurity crackle through the pages, while the brooding and wild setting is vividly atmospheric, cloaking the reader in heavy tension. The present is just as chilling, with the journalist narrator remaining almost as mysterious and obsessive as the case itself.

I loved this book. Haunting and chilling, it both unnerved and unsettled me and tore my heart apart just a little. It’s one of those books that become all-consuming when you read them, leaving you slightly dazed and needing a moment to adjust to reality when you put it down. Beautifully written, this is a story I’ll remember for a long time to come.

Thank you to the publishers for my beautiful gifted copy

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