Sunday, 23 March 2014

Review: The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb.

Book: The Fate of Mercy Alban

Author: Wendy Webb

Pages: 352

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2-3 was a quick read and I was gripped from the word go.

Plot Summary: 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.

General Thoughts: This book was a GoodReads recommendation. I was looking at the 2013 Top Ten Thriller/ Horror books and this book was one of the books. I loved the very sound of this book and family secrets is pretty much my favourite thing to read about! 

What I Liked: The writing was good. And the pace of the book was fast and at the end of each chapter I couldn't wait to keep turning the page and find out what happened next. 

I also liked the book within a book. A story, from an earlier time told between the pages. Normally, a book within a book can fail miserably. I've read a few books that have tried this format and most of those book have been strange. My main issue with those books were that one book was indistinguishable from the other. In this case, the tone and writing style of two stories was actually different and it really felt like they were two different stories. 

Another thing with book split across two different time periods, is that I tend to prefer one part of the story better than the other. In this book I was equally engrossed in both the present day story and the events of 1956. This almost never happens to me. I am usually invested in one time period. 

This book was genuinely creepy. I was reading this late at night and there was a point where I was seriously spooked. 

I just couldn't put this book down. I was massively gripped and I read it in one sitting. And sometimes, I think books that hold your attention are the best books in some sense. 

What I Didn't Like: The characters were so under-developed. I get it, this is a thriller and not exactly a character driven book but really some more information and character development never hurt anyone. I mean even the age of the daughter was unspecified. She is just called a teenage and left at that. 

I also didn't love the instant love connection in the book. Grace and the Reverend fall almost instantly in love and can put the Twilight insta-love to shame! 

There were many instance in the book where someone had some pertinent piece of the puzzle and was just about to say it, but instead, they'd say something like- "Oh I'll make breakfast instead!" Or- "I'll tell you later."  I get it, you need to build suspense but it was done a little too lamely at times. 

Rating: 4/5, purely because I could put it down and found this book very entertaining. 

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