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.
Wendy Webb sets her story in a sanitarium which was a medical facility used to treat tuberculosis before technology gave us medicine. Back then people died at an alarming rate and were often kept quarantined in these ‘hospitals’ so it was easy to believe the tormented spirits of these people haunted those buildings as they fell out of fashion to be left abandoned to ruin. Webb obviously put some time into researching this stuff because her work is detailed and authentic which heightens that chilling sense of horror at what happened here.
Webb starts off strong so you become hooked early on, the excitement builds, her characters make it easy to follow their story, and the setting is everything a horror fan could want then it hits a small bump. It’s almost as if Webb lost some of her own excitement at writing such a cool and intriguing story. I definitely had a love/hate relationship going with around the middle or so because her writing is very descriptive so you can see her world unfolding before your eyes, you feel like you get to know her characters on a personal level. I think it was more my expectations because I wanted to know all about the spooky stuff, the sinister things that keep you up at night, the mysteries that keep you puzzling so life doesn’t get boring. It reminded me a bit of the second movie in a trilogy; the first sets up the story to get your interest hooked, the second is just there to provide the bigger picture then comes the third with all the action and payoff.
Even if it feels like the story drags a bit and you want to give up you must push through because the payoff will happen. The chilling plot will come and it gets good so the wait be awarded as the page turning supernatural mystery you were hoping for comes to pass.
Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to review this book.
Buy at Amazon: http://a.co/gT4PomQ
*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com