Book Review: The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue

Hello, my name is Judith! Welcome to my blog, ReadandReview.

The Temple House Vanishing is Rachel Donohue’s debut mystery novel set in a Catholic girls’ boarding-school, Temple House. Louisa, a new pupil to the school, becomes infatuated with her charismatic art teacher, much to the jealousy of her best friend Victoria. Then, both Louisa and her teacher vanish without a trace. Twenty-five years later, a journalist sets out to uncover the truth behind the disappearances.

The Temple House Vanishing was a puzzling book to read.

The genre(s) weren’t particularly clear; despite being categorised as a mystery novel on NetGalley, I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a horror novel, a mystery, or a thriller – or a mix of all three. Donohue may have borrowed elements from all of these genres but, unfortunately, I can’t say I found the final result especially horrifying, mystifying, or thrilling.

However, NetGalley also identifies The Temple House Vanishing as a piece of literary fiction and I can agree with this; The Temple House Vanishing is full of complex and lyrical narration, dialogue, and description that focuses on topics such as the importance of art and philosophy. Sadly, this style is not my personal preference, though I can see why others would appreciate its poetic and artistic form.

As a consequence, I think, of this writing style, I wasn’t deeply enthralled by the plot or the characters because I was “distracted” by the narration and descriptions.

To conclude, I don’t think The Temple House Vanishing is my cup of tea. I certainly don’t think it’s a “bad book” – I’ve read plenty of positive reviews from readers who really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me.

Star Rating: 3/5 Stars

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I acquired this book for free in exchange for a review via NetGalley, Atlantic Books, and Corvus.

Have you read this book? What did you think? 

– Judith

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