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The Temple House Vanishing

by Rachel Donohue

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue X
The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 24 member reviews
for The Temple House Vanishing
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  • Ilyse F (Freehold, NJ)
    Utterly Absorbing
    The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue is a beautiful and compelling book. It speaks of teenage love and jealousy and finding out who you really are. She talks about the hierarchy of teenage girls, and she gets it so right that you can actually feel the angst. It speaks of female friendship and the things that can bind it or tear it apart. The characters are extremely well written and fleshed out. You really get a full picture of the religious boarding school experience where this takes place. The beginning of the book was a little bit confusing as it was written from the point of view of different characters who we hadn't met yet, but it very quickly pulled me in and I couldn't stop reading it. The author is exceptionally good at creating atmosphere. She draws you in and there are times when I just felt such dread about what was going to happen. Excellent book about friendship, unrequited love, guilt, and what happens when you break the rules that are imposed upon you. I really enjoyed this book and I think it would be a great choice for a book club as so many issues come up that warrant discussion. It's hard to believe this is the author's first novel.
  • Jean L. (Rogers, AR)
    Temple House School
    "Perched high atop a cliff in Ireland, a lonely Victorian mansion is home to Temple House School."

    The house itself sets the tone for the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Louisa, a scholarship student at the school, and her art teacher, Mr. Lavelle. It had been assumed by many that they had disappeared together.

    The author, Rachel Donahue, paints a vivid picture of this mansion-school. It is a cold and dreary place. It is the perfect setting for a mystery. With the power of words this school is almost an actual character in this book.

    A young newspaper reporter has been assign to write a series of articles by her editor about the disappearance of the student and the teacher nearly twenty-five earlier. She is the detective, and she will find the answers to the mystery. In doing so, she will shatter the lives of others.

    Other themes in this story include coming of age, love, and unrequited love.

    This is not a happy book. There is no happily-ever-after for anyone. The author moves the reader to want to know what really happened to the student and the teacher.
  • Nancy D. (Raleigh, NC)
    A Mystery
    Through the usage of alternating sections, Rachel Donohue in her novel,The Temple House Vanishing, introduces the reader to Louisa, Victoria and their teacher, Mr. Lavelle. All three of these individuals are troubled and struggling to find their place in the world. The first part of the novel started off slow for me. Trying to understand the interaction between Louisa, Victoria and Mr. Lavelle took some rereading on my part. I started to wonder if I even wanted to finish the book. Since that is something, I rarely do, I continued. Once the section with the journalist began, the author caught me. Now I was into the mystery of the disappearance and as anxious to find out just exactly what happened and who was hiding what. The fact that the journalist lived across the street from Louisa only added to the mystery. Slowly through the alternating views of events, we learn more about these troubled people and how the mixture of them at an all-girls Catholic boarding school lead to tragedy. Regardless of my issue with the slow start, I would recommend this book.
  • Gail L. (Dallas, TX)
    A Great Escape
    This book tells a good story, and during most of the book I did not want to put it down. The ending is believable. However the book does drag at the end. Perhaps a bit more editing might have been useful.

    This is a coming-of-age story and the characters and relationships are well done. The setting is atmospheric, taking place in a Catholic girls' boarding school in Ireland in the 1990s. The story presents a mystery that needs to be solved. I was looking for escapist literature and this book delivers!
  • Sandra G. (Loveland, CO)
    Teenage angst leads to tragedy
    On page three Victoria commits suicide. The rest of the novel is a slow unraveling of the mystery that led to her action. In the prologue the author wrote, " There are no heroes in the story." How true. This novel is completely devoid of joy; no one is happy. For that reason, it was somewhat unsettling to read. I felt such sympathy for Louisa, whose depressing assessment of herself was, "I wasn't good enough. I hadn't been enough. There was something about me that made people not want me." This book would be a solid book club choice.
  • Marion C. (Peabody, MA)
    The Mystery Solved
    The Temple House Vanishing involves the disappearance of a student and teacher from an Old Catholic boarding school in Ireland. The mystery was unsolved for twenty-five years until a reporter investigates the events of that evening. She uses the point-of-view of the individuals involved to unlock the mystery. The novel is a fast read and brought back memories of my own teenage years. This is the author's first novel, and I believe she will have a long, successful career.
  • Mary C. (Plano, TX)
    Ephemeral Days
    I read a lot of mysteries, but this one had me hooked from the first paragraph. As I began reading, I wondered how this novel would compare to the many others I have read. The opening paragraph was edgy and succinct. The prologue had a unique quality about that made me want to read more! This is a chilling sort of story that starts at the end and then begins anew at the beginning. The author's phrasing contains interesting descriptions. When the journalist talks about getting to know the people she is investigating, she says that getting know them is "like cleaning an old painting, their faces start to emerge from the dust." I was immersed in the novel, wanting to know the characters better, what made them tick. The whole process of knowing them was foggy, like the Irish mist that sometimes permeated the setting. I saw it all through a veil of mist. The author has a description of the setting, the Temple House, that fairly drops the reader in that place, but there is not a great effort at foreshadowing. The reader must make up her own mind, as does the journalist, about the setting and the characters. I liked the technique.
    The sections of the book change narrators. Often it takes the reader a few paragraphs or pages before the narrator is named. This slowed me down, which I did not care for.

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