Sunday, June 11, 2017

#BookReview - The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb

Title: The End of Temperance Dare
Author:  Wendy Webb
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
Genre:  Gothic, Occult, Horror, Supernatural

From the Back Cover:

Haunting and atmospheric, The End of Temperance Dare is another thrilling page-turner from the author reviewers are calling the Queen of the Northern Gothic.
When Eleanor Harper becomes the director of a renowned artists’ retreat, she knows nothing of Cliffside Manor’s dark past as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a “waiting room for death.” After years of covering murder and violence as a crime reporter, Eleanor hopes that being around artists and writers in this new job will be a peaceful retreat for her as much as for them.
But from her first fog-filled moments on the manor’s grounds, Eleanor is seized by a sense of impending doom and realizes there’s more to the institution than its reputation of being a haven for creativity. After the arrival of the new fellows―including the intriguing, handsome photographer Richard Banks―she begins to suspect that her predecessor chose the group with a dangerous purpose in mind. As the chilling mysteries of Cliffside Manor unravel and the eerie sins of the past are exposed, Eleanor must fight to save the fellows—and herself—from sinister forces.



Read for Free on Kindle Unlimited: Amazon

My Review:

This book was hard to put down.  From the very beginning, I knew that Wendy Webb had me hooked.  What could be more intriguing?  This is about an upscale writing retreat, or rather, a retreat for artists, poets and authors.  The description sounds like the most peaceful, relaxing, beautiful place you can imagine... but it's anything but peaceful.  It turns out that Cliffside Manor is actually the former Cliffside Tuberculosis Sanatorium.

The story starts out in 1952 describing how a father had his little girl committed to this sanatorium and how she reacted. We then skip ahead to today where the Director of Cliffside Manor invites select authors and artists to spend a few weeks at a time living there.  As it turns out, the Director, Penelope Dare, daughter of the establishment's founder, has decided to retire, and surprisingly hands the reins over to Eleanor Harper who recently had lost her job as a crime reporter for a newspaper.  Eleanor is excited about her new position, but has a nagging fear that she can't quite explain.

Eleanor's new job starts off with a totally unexpected event.  Her predecessor is found dead, apparently from suicide.  Trying to keep her nerves together and continue on at Cliffside, she decides she must continue to save the jobs of the household staff.  She allows the expected group of artists and authors to come as planned.

Upon meeting the group and talking to them individually, Eleanor realizes a connection between them, and when more strange things start happening, her fear intensifies.

This may not have been the most frightening book I've ever read, but there were absolutely no lulls in the story.  And the reader will certainly get a solid sense of the creepiness!  There wasn't a single chapter when I wanted to put this book down.  Wendy Webb drew me in and made me feel like I was right there.  Each character had distinct personalities that were described so beautifully that I could easily imagine them in my head.  From the ramrod straight posture of Miss Penelope Drew to the easy casual nature of Richard, I had a movie playing through my mind that was so vivid I could have been sitting in an IMAX movie theater!

I actually read this on a stormy, rainy night.  I still have goosebumps.

Disclosure:  A complimentary ARC was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:



About the Author:

WENDY WEBB's novels are mysteries about long-buried family secrets, set in big, old haunted houses on the Great Lakes. 

She is the bestselling author of four novels of gothic suspense, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, The Fate of Mercy Alban, The Vanishing and The End of Temperance Dare. Since her stories are set in the Great Lakes region, reviewers are calling her the Queen of the Northern Gothic.


Wendy lives in Minneapolis with her dog Zeus, and she's at work on her next novel.
Author Links:
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