Hello and welcome back to my blog where today I have the absolute pleasure of reviewing The Temple House Vanishing 💛
I loved everything about this book, the storyline, the setting, the characters but especially the exquisite writing. Even the cover is absolutely gorgeous with its shiny gold foil leaf cover. It is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. I think it’s actually going to be an all time favourite.
The blurb …
Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…
When Louisa arrives at Temple House, an elite catholic boarding school, she quickly finds herself drawn to sophisticated fellow pupil Victoria and their young bohemian art teacher, Mr Lavelle. The three of them form a bond that seems to offer an escape from the repressive regime of the nuns who run the cloistered school. Until Louisa and Mr Lavelle suddenly vanish.
Years later, a journalist with a childhood connection to Louisa determines to resolve the mystery. Her search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.
My review …
This captivating story is told from the two different perspectives of Louisa, telling us her story from the past and ‘The Journalist’, twenty five years later, telling us the story of her investigation into the disappearance of Louisa and her teacher. The Journalist, whose name we never learn, grew up on the same street as Louisa, and is troubled by the unsolved mystery and feels haunted by her disappearance.
Set in Temple House a sinister catholic boarding school for girls, new pupil, sixteen year old Louisa arrives after winning a scholarship. She feels unseen and outcast in this cold religious institution inhabited by the entitled daughters of the rich elite.
Louisa is immediately drawn to fellow pupil Victoria during her first art class with Mr Lavelle. Victoria is alluring yet elusive and Louisa notices a concerning familiarity between Victoria and the handsome young teacher, who seems to have an almost cultish following among his pupils. Louisa quickly becomes involved in their relationship as she yearns to secure Victoria’s friendship even though as Louisa says … ‘I knew deep down there was was something cruel about them. An unthinking playfulness that might lead to hurt’ …
The truth behind Louisa’s disappearance and the devastating effect on the lives of those around her, is slowly revealed in this haunting tale of unrequited love, jealousy and societal class.
Donohue’s fascinating characters really came to life for me in this book, particularly Louisa and Victoria. The relationship between the girls is both mesmerising and uncomfortable as there is a sense of foreboding written into their relationship from the start. They are so well drawn and the dialogue written so naturally that I could visualise the characters, their mannerisms and presence.
I was completely immersed in the atmosphere and suspense of this story which has a subtle gothic edge. Rachel Donohue’s writing is incredibly skilled, graceful and beautiful and this is one of those stories that will stay with me forever.
A must read for fans of The Secret History and The Truants. I’ll be recommending this to all of my bookish friends.
About the author …
Rachel Donohue is a UCD graduate and has a highly successful career in communications and media relations. She was the winner of the 2017 Hennessy Prize for New Irish Writing
For more information please contact: Kirsty Doole, Publicity Director, Atlantic Books
Published in paperback by Corvus on 3rd September 2020
Thank you so much to the author, Corvus and Kirsty Doole for my gifted copy of this wonderful book!
Thanks for reading! 💛