I loved absolutely everything about The Vanishing! The only thing that would have enhanced the experience of reading The Vanishing was if I’d read this on the eve of Halloween, because the spooky premise screamed for the atmosphere of a dark and cold night. This was my first book by Wendy Webb, and I can’t get my hands on her other books quick enough! With the death of her husband, another Bernie Madoff, she was destitute and alone, abandoned by all her friends. That provided the perfect platform for Adrian to swoop into her life and convince her she needed to reinvent herself by disappearing at his family’s large and secluded estate to care for his mother, a famous horror writer. When the world thought she died in the fire that consumed her home, Julia realized playing dead may be more deadly than she thought and began to doubt Adrian’s intentions.
The estate doesn’t just boast grand architecture and odd characters, Julia soon began to have visions and believed the grounds were haunted. Julia was an excellent protagonist because she was trusting and naive, but wary and alert all at the same time. Drew, the groundskeeper who was related to the architect, was a great ally for Julia. I loved that their relationship slowly budded from friends to perhaps more. The dialogue between all the characters was outstanding and made the settings and plot vivid and realistic. I fell right into the story, and almost finished this in one night! I couldn’t wait to see the connection between Julie and the portrait of a woman identical to her hanging in one of the long abandoned rooms. An eerieness provided the perfect balance of information and mystery to keep me interested while maintaining an unparralled level of suspense. Webb beautifully captured the innocence people harbor which prompts them to trust others, even when the little voice inside them screams not to. Although the novel was set in the present, Webb’s storytelling evoked a bygone era and made this seem like a classic film noir tale.
I would love to watch this as a movie, and look forward to reading more of Webb’s books.