Friday, February 15, 2013

Book Review: The Fate of Mercy Alban

The Fate of Mercy AlbanAuthor: Wendy Webb
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion

From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb comes a spine-tingling mystery about family secrets set in a big, old haunted house on Lake Superior.

Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teen-age daughter home, she finds more haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.

Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace's aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years, and Grace realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the secret passages of Alban House. Her mother was intending to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died - could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? With the help of the disarmingly kind--and attractive—Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims

“Visions of our annual summer parties crept into my mind – girls in cotton dresses, boys in seersucker suits, lemonade we’d secretly spike with vodka. A croquet tournament in the afternoon; a bonfire on the lakeshore at night. I could see the shadows of my brothers, the twins Jake and Jimmy, running their ridiculous victory lap around the croquet lawn, mallets held high over their heads. The sound of their laughter floated around me before diminishing little by little until it was gone, as if it were buoyed downstream on a river of memory that flowed through this place and through me.” – Paperback Copy pg. 11

“Growing up in Alban House, I felt I was a princess living in an enchanted castle, and indeed, the house was designed to look like one, patterned after the Jacobean estates European kings built for themselves in centuries past. But I soon learned people who lived in castles – the ones I read about in my storybook fairy tales – didn’t necessarily live enchanted lives. Not sweetly enchanted, anyway. Strange and otherworldly things swirled around them, threatening, no, wanting their happiness. At least that’s how the stories I read went. I held my breath as I realized I was walking right back into mine.” – Paperback Copy pg. 14

“Amid considerable buzz in the country’s literary circles that he was working on his first novel, David Coleville’s spectacular career ended when he shot himself to death at Alban House during a party in the summer of 1956, the same night my aunt Fate disappeared without a trace.” – Paperback Copy pg. 34

“I had to admit to myself – there was something about this house. I’d always felt it. It was as though Alban House had a presence of its own that wrapped itself around us, my mother most of all.” – Paperback Copy pg. 42  

This book would be perfect for a dark Halloween night. I usually try to stray from ghost stories, mainly because I am a big baby when it comes to that sort of thing, but this was not as bad as I thought it would be. I actually enjoyed the goosebumps rising up my arms and back because the author just draws you into the story that much. This story picks up when Grace Alban returns home after the sudden death of her mother, Adele. Grace is uneasy about returning to Alban House and readers find out why as the chapters unfold. Grace, along with her daughter Amity, begin to uncover the vast secrets within the walls of Alban House, and Grace unveils more secrets than she bargained for.

Being the English Literature nerd that I am, this book works perfectly with my gothic literature fix. We have the castle-like house, secret passageways, remote location, ghosts, and a curse. Everything supernatural is this book is written in such a way that it almost feels real. The blurb on the back says, “If Sarah Waters and Stephen King had a love child, it would be Wendy Webb.” This hit the nail directly on the head. I was pleased with the plot and how it incorporated a gothic theme and intertwined plenty of gothic elements into the story as well. Don’t be alone when you read this book or you will be racing to flip on all the lights in the house!

This is a first by Wendy Webb for me, but if anything else she writes is even remotely like this book then she has a devoted reader and fan in me. I was hooked from the very first page and I refused to let go. Honestly, by the time I reached the final page I did not want it to be over. I felt like I hadn’t explored every hidden passageway and secret tunnel that Alban House held, and I wanted to spend more time there. I honestly have not read a book that kept my attention like this in a long time. I wake up at 5:30 every morning to start getting ready for work, and I took this book to the bathtub with me this morning! Great suspense and such a rollercoaster ride filled with creepy characters and twisted plots.

***A HUGE thank you to the publishers at Hyperion for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***


No comments:

Post a Comment