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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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  • Sharon P. (San Diego, CA)
    Compelling Literary mystery
    What fascinating characters!! I was expecting more vapid 16-year olds, but I found these young women—Louisa, Victoria (and even Helen)—to be complex and compelling. I was hooked at the premise of them all orbiting around their attractive and deep art teacher. While it's be many decades since I was 16, I could recall that kind of intensity and importance that comes with being a young woman. I loved how the book got weirder and weirder as the chapters went on pulling me deeper and deeper into the mystery and the deliciousness of the range of possibilities of conclusions. I would have loved to have a bit more insight into Mr. Lavelle's thinking, but the. Again, maybe that would have taken away from some of the mystery. Well done!
  • Kimberly C. (Ypsilanti, MI)
    Rachel Donohue's first novel draws you in from the beginning pages and grips tight throughout its moody twists and turns. Her story of love, friendship and betrayal at a girls' boarding school is haunting and compelling. The writing is gorgeous but sparse, with few wasted words. It's a powerful debut.
  • Bonne O. (Hartwell, GA)
    In the opening prologue, I was intrigued by the way the reader is immediately drawn into the 25-year old mystery of the vanishing student and male teacher. Temple House has its share of prejudice, cliquish girls, petty jealousies' and ultimately lies and betrayal. The methodical unfolding of the teenage love fantasy provides the perfect storm for a dramatic event. Once the mystery is revealed, the reader is promptly compelled to re-visit the prologue in order to get the full impact of the conclusion of the story. I particularly liked the way the author tied up all the loose ends.
    Because this story has several underlying themes I believe it would be ideal for a book club discussion.
  • Chris (CA)
    What a Debut!
    What an engrossing, suspenseful, intense novel. The writing is terrific with beautiful descriptions. It was as if I could feel what the characters were feeling. Teenage angst, female friendships. how easily feelings are hurt, "mean girls," rule breaking, confusion, attraction, and differences in social class were written about realistically I felt as though I had been dropped into this school and was experiencing what they were experiencing. I disappeared into that boarding school. I learned about life in a boarding school run by nuns. The author also makes you think about the life-long consequences of keeping secrets. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. There are many complex topics for discussion for book clubs, therapists, peer groups.
  • Marguerite K. (Vernon, CT)
    The Temple House Vanishing
    I thought 'The Temple House Vanishing' was really engrossing from the first page. The story is told in first-person narrations alternatively by Louisa, a scholarship student, and by the journalist trying to unravel the mystery (or is it mysteries) of two disappearances many years later. Both Louisa and charismatic art teacher, Mr. Lavelle, are gone without trace. While the journalist tries to solve the mystery, very different stories are revealed. These stories revolve around Mr. Lavelle and the relationships he has with two students and whether either story has any truth to it. I will certainly be looking forward to any further books by Rachel Donohue.
  • 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.
  • 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!
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